This news just came in from Medianama. According to it, One-Laptop-per-child project (OLPC) will now target 3 million laptops in 365 days in India. No doubt, it’s quite ambitious but looking at the way things are shaping in the industry, for example, telecom ministers vying for 500 million Internet connection by 2012 (which personally I believe is a mamooth task), it will be a pleasant surprise.

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Medianama has a thorough analysis of the same here – a definite read if stuff like OLPC interests you.

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But for me, few more things were interesting from the interview with Satish Jha, President & CEO of OLPC India. He said:

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…for shipping to begin in India, they need to hit the magic number of 1 million XO laptops, and they’re counting on support from corporates. “If a country can take 8 million cellular phones a month, they can take 3 million laptops in a year.” If only…

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The last line alarmed a bell in my head. Few questions that popped up are:

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1. Can we compare the mobile and laptop figures together – more so when these products are targeted differently?

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2. Out of 8 million cellular phones, how many comes in the price bracket of the OLPC XO laptops? On the hindsight, the OLPC foundation has launched the G1G1 (Give One Get One) initiative in India, as per which, a customer can purchase one laptop, and the OLPC foundation will gift another laptop to a child in a developing country. The XO costs around $210 to produce, so you’ll be paying for two (around $400) plus import duty of 10.2% on the laptops under the G1G1 initiative.

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3. The educational content creation is another question to be answered. Though the article duly covers this part.

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Though it’s a good initiative but from a sales point of view lots of questions are still left unanswered. One of the major roadblock would definitely be Government help. Infact I believe the project will need a good push from Corporates, may be in the backdrop of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Till then I’ll be watching this space for the next 365 days.

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