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DECEMBER 26, 2006
One Laptop Per Child Nearing Launch

180pxlaptopcrank Announced in February, a project headed by Nicholas Negropante of the MIT Media Lap, One Laptop Per Child aims to deliver usable technology to the children of the world's poorest nations. Currently there's a massive chasm in regard to worldwide education. OLPC set out to design and create $100 durable laptops to be purchased by governments that will then distribute the computers to children. The machine will have a 500MHz processor and 128MB of DRAM with 500MB of Flash memory, come equipped with four USB ports and wireless broadband that will connect with nearby laptops in the town or village to create a mesh, or local area, network. To sidestep the need for electricity, since many of these small villages may not even have running water, the computer was designed to run on wind-up power.

The current plan is to ship between five and 10 million units by the end of the year to China, Brazil, India, Egypt, Argentina, Nigeria and Thailand. I recently chatted with a spokesman for the organization who told me that 3,500 machines are set to be delivered to launch countries (Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, Thailand and Libya) in January and February. A minister was selected in each country and will receive the XO machines to distribute to certain children for testing. He added: "Once we are past the launch stage, we will be in a position where we can make the machines more broadly accessible to countries and NGOs."

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