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You’ve read today’s reports on how the One Laptop Per Child project – a.k.a. “the $100 laptop” — hasn’t met sales expectations to date. And you’ve heard the news that OLPC founder and chairman Nicholas Negroponte has re-strategized the sales plan for the machine (dubbed the XO), intended for children in emerging markets. (See my colleague Steve Hamm’s in-depth piece and Bruce Nussbaum’s insightful blog post.) OLPC launched a new sales promotion, which kicks off on November 12 and runs through November 26, and is called “Give 1 Get 1,” offering two XOs for $399 — one for a kid in a developing nation, one for a kid anywhere. Although some might view the disappointing initial sales of the XO as an early failure for the ambitious non-profit project, OLPC is chugging forward in some interesting new design directions: the possible creation of new peripherals such as a $10 DVD player and a $100 projector.
As I learned from the wonderfully talented Anne Hong, a Web designer at BusinessWeek.com (and an accomplished graphic artist and inventor), the official OLPC site currently features an intriguing job listing for a Director of Peripherals. The job description suggests that OLPC is planning on developing low-cost accessories for the XO laptop. As the description reads, “Work with companies to develop a host of low cost peripherals for the XO laptop. Examples include the 10$ DVD player, a $100 projector, and a $0.10 oscilloscope adaptor.”
While the projects also seem geared toward emerging-market schools, the peripherals and the laptop itself could be amazing business and presentation tools for entrepreneurs in developing nations. Stay tuned for the next chapter in the OLPC story…
What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.