I was lucky enough to get to play with a real OLPC last night at the BarCamp Portland Meetup. I was surprised by how durable it looked. The keyboard looked like you could dump an entire drink on it without any adverse consequences; however, we refrained from testing it!
A few people commented that these would be great for kids … regardless of whether they are located in an emerging economy. In places like the US, Europe and other areas, we might be willing to pay a little more to have a durable laptop for the under 8 years old crowd. This might help subsidize the costs and make it easier to provide an OLPC to more children around the world. In addition to providing a stable revenue stream among customers willing to pay a little more knowing that profits were going to a good cause, opening these up for sale to others would increase the volume enough to help reduce the production costs. I’ve heard that they are having a hard time making these for less than $100, and additional volume might help.
Thanks again to Alex for bringing it and generously letting us play with his toys!