Monday, September 24, 2007

OLPC, One Laptop per Child

XO-1, previously known as the $100 Laptop or Children's Machine, is an inexpensive laptop computer intended to be distributed to children around the world, especially to those in developing countries, to provide them with access to knowledge. The laptop is developed by the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) social welfare organization. OLPC is a U.S. based, non-profit organization, 501(c)(4) created by faculty members of the MIT Media Lab to design, manufacture, and distribute the laptop and its software.

These rugged, low-power computers contain flash memory instead of a hard drive and use Linux as their operating system. Mobile ad-hoc networking is used to allow many machines Internet access from one connection.

The laptops can be sold to governments and issued to children by schools on a basis of one laptop per child. Pricing is currently set to start at US$188 and the goal is to reach the US$100 mark in 2008.

Approximately 500 developer boards (Alpha-1) were distributed in summer 2006; 875 working prototypes (Beta 1) were delivered in late 2006; 2400 Beta-2 machines were distributed at the end of February 2007; full-scale production is expected to start in mid-2007.

Quanta Computer, the project's contract manufacturer, said in February 2007 that it had confirmed orders for one million units. They indicated they could ship 5 million to 10 million units this year because seven nations have committed to buy the XO-1 for their schoolchildren, including Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand and Uruguay.

The OLPC project had stated that a consumer version of the XO laptop was not planned. However, the project has begun a "Give 1 Get 1" web site xogiving.org. Quanta will be offering machines very similar to the XO machine on the open market. Emerging competitors in the category include the ASUS Eee PC.

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