OLPC Is F'd: Defected XO Laptop Designer Plans New $75 Laptop

Mary Lou Jepsen, the XO laptop's designer and OLPC's CTO, split from the project a little over a week ago to "commercialize" some of the tech she developed for the project—the display in particular—through a for-profit venture, Pixel-Qi. Probable result: a new generation of OLPC competitors from commercial outfits. But it gets better! It's come out Pixel-Qi's aiming to completely undercut the OLPC with a 75 dollar laptop.

Okay, we remember how far OLPC spiraled way past its $100 laptop goal. So how can XO's designer—who should know as well as anyone the difficulties involved in cranking out uber-cheap machines—except to slash 25 percent off a price OLPC couldn't touch?

Because Pixel Qi stands to make beaucoup bucks from licensing tech to commercial companies, subsidizing its low-cost laptop, a far more effective business model than hoping wishy-washy governments maintain their closed-door promises to buy your wares while getting courted by your frenemy at the same time. (More on this at Valleywag.)

While Pixel Qi might provide components to OLPC "at cost," if it really puts a laptop on the marketplace that costs almost a third of XO's current price, XO is probably donezo. [Yahoo!]