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According to the BBC, computer maker Quanta has started mass production of the so-called $ 100 laptop at a factory in Changshu, China, five years after its introduction. One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the group that started the project, says that children in developing countries will start receiving the machines this month.
Last month, OLPC received the first official order for 100,000 computers from the Uruguayan government.
Since Prof. Negroponte launched the idea of distributing a low-cost laptop for children in developing countries in 2002, his plan has received praise and mockery.
The criticisms have been many, both on technical issues and on the need for these laptops in countries where there are other much more urgent needs such as sanitation or health care, but Prof. Negroponte has always maintained that it is of an educational and non-technological project. However, these green and white XO notebooks include a number of innovations that make it possible to use them in remote and environmentally harsh areas.
The machine has no moving parts and can be easily maintained. It has a screen that allows reading in sunlight, so that children can use the laptop outdoors, and a fundamental element for areas with limited access to electricity: its energy consumption is minimal and it can be charged with a wide variety of devices, including solar panels.
Although OLPC planned to sell the computers for $ 100, their current price is $ 188 (€ 128).
OLPC initially stated that orders totaling XO 3 million would be necessary for production to be viable. The machine was initially offered to governments in batches of 250,000 units. However, for now, the organization has only confirmed Uruguay's request, although other governments have expressed interest in the machine.
The Mongolian government, for example, has announced that it plans to start a pilot project with 20,000 laptops for children 6 to 12 years of age.
OLPC has also allowed a limited number of laptops to be purchased in North America through the “Give 1 Get 1” (G1G1) program, which allows the public to purchase one of these laptops in exchange for purchasing another for a child in a developing country. developmental. This program will offer the laptops between November 12-26.
Related: Computers at 100 euros