Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cheap laptop for poor kids ships

A non-profit organisation, One Laptop per Child, has shipped a laptop that will retail for less than a $100, aimed at making computers as a learning tool available to poor children.

The first laptops, made for poor children in developing countries, were showed to the US State Department recently, reports The Inquirer.

Although the laptop is currently selling at $125 a pop, Nicholas Negroponte of the MIT Media Lab — who founded One Laptop per Child — hopes that the price will drop to a $100 by 2008.

According to The Inquirer, 900 units will be manufactured early in 2007, which will be distributed amongst software developers to create applications for it, after which the computers will be mass-produced.

The project is not without its share of criticism though, reports the International Herald Tribune. These range from environmental concerns, to the tech community doubting whether a computer can be made for a $100.

The computers will also be undergoing stringent testing during the next couple of weeks: "We have to test, test, test this machine under conditions of extreme cold, extreme heat, mud, dust, jungle and daily abuse by kids," Negroponte told the International Herald Tribune.

The project also rattled the tech community, as a low-cost computer will probably need to run on free — or almost free — software, introducing millions of children to the world of open source software.


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