One Laptop Per Child Project Close to Launching $135 Computer

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The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Project expects to have a computer costing about US$135 available to children in developing countries by the middle of 2007. According to Macworld UK, OLPC leader Nicholas Negroponte said last Friday that economies of scale should bring the cost down to $100 by 2008 and $50 by 2010.

OLPC has been working with such partners as Red Hat, Google, AMD, Marvell Technology, Nortel Networks, eBay, and others to build a rugged, Linux-based laptop that weighs about two pounds and requires around 2 watts of power. However, users will have to turn a hand crank to get the machine going; it will be located either on the laptop itself or on its AC power adapter.

The laptop will feature a sealed keyboard and three USB ports, to protect them from water and dust, as well as a 500MHz processor and a 7- by 4-inch LCD with 1110 x 830 resolution in black-and-white and 640 x 480 in color. It also includes fold-out antennas that will connect to the Internet via cheap satellite dishes also distributed by OLPC. The organization will also make available a $100 server with 200GB of storage.

Brazil, Thailand, Argentina, and Nigeria have committed to buying one million of the laptops next year, with China, India, and Egypt expressing interest. Mr. Negroponte said that 30 state governors have also inquired about them.

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