XO Laptops Go into Mass Production
Mass production of XO laptops, simplified educational computers designed to help children in developing countries learn and share information, began last week in Changshu, China. Students should begin receiving the units this month.
The laptops are the product of One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organization founded by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte and the MIT Media Lab, which sought to create durable laptops with the ultimate price goal of $100 a unit.
Although the computer hasn't yet reached $100, OLPC did announce a Give 1 Get 1 program the let individuals give one to a student for $200 via OLPC's laptopgiving.org or by calling 877-70-LAPTOP. The program ends Nov. 26.
OLPC tapped notebook manufacturer Taiwan-based Quanta Computer to mass produce the XO laptops, and the company recently doubled its manufacturing capacity to make way for the production.
The laptops feature a built-in video camera; sound processing; a hand-crank generator so that it is self-powered; and an LCD that students can clearly read in both the dark and bright sunlight. The XO's hardware platform is geared for minimizing power consumption, opting for lower-power components such as flash memory over hard drives.
XO laptops runs on a their own operating system, and include collaboration tools, applications for making art and music, playing games, web browsing and word processing. The laptops also function as e-book readers.
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David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.