The Real Cost of the OLPC
Professor José Antonio Meira da Rocha has done some number crunching and found that the OLPC XO laptop will cost about R$0.59 per child per hour (about 27 cents US). This includes the cost of the laptop, electricity, training, OLPC servers, and internet connection. In comparison having Computer labs where 5 or more students share one computer would cost R$9.90 per hour.
His numbers show that the total cost of ownership (TCO) OLPC will be R$94.07 per year (vs. a computer lab's TCO of $R586.00). The problem with computer labs is that the child doesn't feel any ownership of the shared computer, he or she can't just pick it up any time and start using it. Also kids don't like sitting in chairs for hours at a time. On top of that the OLPC has a better display than a typical computer and so is better for reading.
Having just spent R$300.00 on books, pencils and paper for my son for school this year, $94.07 looks like a steal.