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11/12/2007
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Pay For Two XO Laptops, Give One Away

T-Mobile said it will offer participants of the One Laptop Per Child program a one-year complimentary subscription to its HotSpot service.

A nonprofit organization called One Laptop Per Child on Monday launched a program that for a limited time allows residents of the U.S. and Canada to purchase a laptop for a child in a developing country and receive another one for personal use.

Between now and Nov. 26, those residing in the U.S. or Canada can participate in the "Give One, Get One" program by paying for two XO laptops, which are packed with learning tools intended specifically for children in developing countries. The laptops are designed, manufactured, and distributed by One Laptop Per Child, an organization created in 2005 by MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte.

T-Mobile said it will offer participants a one-year complimentary subscription to its HotSpot service, which provides Wi-Fi Internet access at more than 8,500 locations in the U.S. That includes Starbucks coffee shops, Borders bookstores, Hyatt Hotels, Amtrak stations, and airports.

The XO laptop has a rugged design and is made out of water-and shock-resistant materials for harsh environments. Other attributes include a high-resolution screen that is viewable in direct sunlight or dark indoors, low power consumption, and the ability to be powered by solar energy or energy created using pull cords and hand cranks. The laptop takes advantage of wireless mesh technology that is being deployed in many developing countries that lack a landline phone or cable infrastructure. The laptop has "rabbit ears" that act as a wireless router for Internet access.

Additionally, the laptop uses free and open-source software to allow children and their teachers the freedom to reshape their software, hardware, and content in any way they want, according to One Laptop Per Child.

To help children expand their imagination and creativity, it offers a built-in video camera, sophisticated sound processing, as well as music, gaming, art, and word processing software. Video game maker Electronic Arts has agreed to equip each XO laptop with its SimCity game, enabling children to learn how to build cities using limited resources.

Participants are asked to pay $400 for two XO laptops, although Negroponte's goal is to bring the cost of each laptop down to $100 -- a move that would help speed adoption in many countries.

One of the laptops purchased will be given to a child in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, or Rwanda. The other laptop will be shipped starting in December to the program participant for personal use. People that participate in "Give One,Get One," will be able to write off $200 of the contribution as a tax-deductible charitable donation.

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