One $400 Laptop: Buy 1, Give 1



One Laptop Per Child today launched a give one, get one program that will allow US residents to purchase two laptops for $399.

One of the machines will be given to a child in a developing nation, and the other one will be shipped to the purchaser by Christmas. The donated computer is a tax-deductible charitable contribution. The G1G1 program will offer the laptops for just two weeks, starting on the 12 November.

The offer to the general public comes after the project’s founder admitted that concrete orders from the governments of developing nations had not always followed verbal agreements

Nicholas Negroponte told the New York Times: “I have to some degree underestimated the difference between shaking the hand of a head of state and having a cheque written. And yes, it has been a disappointment.”

Walter Bender, head of software development at One Laptop per Child (OLPC), told the BBC News website: “From day one there’s been a lot of interest expressed in having some way of people in the developed world participate in the program.”

The machine’s price has recently increased from $176 to $188 (£93) although the eventual aim is to sell the machines for $100 (£50).

Governments can buy the green and white machines in lots of 250,000.

At $400, the machine has a lot going for it.

  • A 433 Mhz AMD Geode processor with 256MB of dynamic RAM, and 1 GB of SLC NAND flash memory.
  • A 7.5-inch, 1200×900-pixel, TFT screen with higher resolution (200 DPI) than 95% of the laptops on the market today.
  • Consumes less than two watts—less than one tenth of what a standard laptop consumes
  • A video/still camera, three external USB-2.0 ports, plus an SD slot.
  • An open-source machine with free software.
  • Built in mic, with input jack, a powerful music synthesis software, stereo speakers, and a stereo line-out jack.
  • Built-in WiFi mesh networking, similar to the Meraki’s, that will support IEEE mesh standards.

Intel, which manufactures what was considered a rival machine, the Classmate PC, has joined forces with OLPC.

Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab is a major One Laptop development center.

The innovative design has also drawn praise from the technical community. Using open source software, OLPC have developed a stripped-down operating system which fits comfortably on the machine’s 1GB of memory.

“We made a set of trade-offs which may not be an office worker’s needs but are more than adequate for what kids need for learning, exploring and having fun,” said Professor Bender. “The laptop needs an order of magnitude less power than a typical laptop,” said Professor Bender. “That means you can power it by solar or human power.”

The XO will be produced in Taiwan by Quanta, the world’s largest laptop manufacturer.

Related DailyWireless stories include; FreeNet in Vancouver, Solar Powered WiMAX & WiFi, E-Books Now, Nokia Tablet Going WiMAX?, One Done, Intel Joins One Laptop.org, Gaming One Laptop, One Laptop: Two Views on 60 Minutes.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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