First Near-$100 Laptops Roll Off Assembly Line - InformationWeek

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First Near-$100 Laptops Roll Off Assembly Line

A thousand laptops developed by the One Laptop Per Child organization have been produced in China and will soon be put through their paces by pint-sized testers.

"We have answered the question of whether or not we can build a low-cost laptop," says a triumphant Walter Bender, president of software and content at One Laptop Per Child. "The challenge now is to fine-tune it to the needs of children's learning."

The laptops, called XOs, were produced at Quanta Computer's plant in Shanghai. In addition to testing by children, they'll be dropped from various heights and checked to ensure they're dirt- and dust-resistant. Developers also will debug the open source operating system and software applications before the initial production models are delivered early next year to schoolchildren in Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, and Thailand. Mass production is scheduled to get under way next summer.

Early production machines will be priced from $135 to $140; the $100 tag is expected to kick in by 2008, according to One Laptop Per Child.

The laptops will have a 500-MHz processor, 128-Mbytes DRAM, 500-Mbytes flash memory, and four USB ports. They aren't expected to have hard drives.

One Laptop Per Child is a non- profit effort that initially was launched by faculty at MIT Media Lab and is headed by professor Nicholas Negroponte.

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