After five years from it’s first concept, The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) ‘$100’ laptop begins mass production in China via computer manufacturer Quanta.
The OLPC group has said that children in developing countries who ordered them will receive them next month. Just last month, it receive an official order of 100,000 laptops from Uruguay.
“Today represents an important milestone in the evolution of the One Laptop per Child project,” Nicholas Negroponte, founder of OLPC.
Since the idea had been pitched in 2002, it has been praised and mocked. Intel chairman, who is on the board of the OLPC, described it as a “$100 gadget”; while Microsoft’s Bill Gates questioned it for its lack of hard drive (it uses flash memory) and “tiny screen”.
Other critics have said that countries should not be getting laptops and should be investing that money into sanitation and health care. However, the green and white XO laptop does contain features that are suitable for the environmentally hostile areas.
The laptop does not feature any moving parts and can be maintained easily. It has a sunlight-readable display and can be charged with multiple devices, including a solar panel.
Initially, it required 3 million orders of the XO laptop to be production viable. Governments were offered the machines in lots of 250,000 laptops. It has confirmed the order of Uruguay only, with it having an option to buy another 300,000 laptops on top of it’s original order of 100,000.
Other governments have also expressed interest over the laptop. Mongolia has announced it’s intention to launch a pilot program to provide 20,000 laptops to children aged between 6 and 12.
The OLPC has also announced a way to allow North American users to buy the XO laptop under its Give 1 Get 1 (G1G1), which allow people to buy one and give one to a child in a developing country.
The program will offer laptops between the 12 and 26 of November. The OLPC say that the start of the production will allow that people participating in the scheme will get the laptop in December.
Although it wants to sell the laptop for $100, it currently costs $188.