(One Laptop per Child, Cambridge, MA, www.laptop.org) A research initiative of MIT Media Labs devoted to the creation of a $100 PC for educating children in developing countries around the world. Founded in 2005 by Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of the Labs, OLPC laptops are geared to the educational ministries of governments that can purchase thousands of units at a time.|
Taiwan-based Quanta Computer was selected as the original design manufacturer (ODM), and manufacturing began in late 2007. Although $100 was the target, a manufacturing cost of around $190 was announced for the first run of 300,000 units, a smaller order than anticipated.
Linux Based - No Hard Disk
The laptop is powered by an x86-based 433 MHz CPU from AMD with 256MB of RAM and runs under Red Hat's Fedora Linux; however, support for Windows XP was also announced in 2007. The laptop has three USB ports, 1MB of flash memory for storage and Wi-Fi. Using a mesh configuration, Wi-Fi enables an entire village to be interconnected. A key factor in producing such a low-cost machine is a unique, 7.5" dual-mode display that enables black and white viewing in bright sunlight.
Although orders for millions of OLPCs were expected by 2007, Intel managed to persuade several countries to switch to its own low-cost PC introduced in May 2006 (see Classmate). Although Negroponte admonished Intel for interfering with his non-profit venture to help the poor, soon after, both organizations decided to collaborate. Intel joined OLPC's board to help design future products, but withdrew its support in January 2008.
The OLPC was designed to help educate and stimulate millions of kids in countries that would otherwise not have access to computing resources on an individual basis. (Image courtesy of the fuse-project.)
Since the OLPC's logo is an abstract person (X for the body; O for the head), the OLPC is sometimes called the "XO" computer. Its graphical interface is "Sugar," which differs from business desktops. Designed for children, Sugar boots up with icons of "friends" and "activities." (Image courtesy of One Laptop Per Child, www.laptop.org)