Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva on Friday received a model of the hyped-up “$100 laptop” from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative—a program meant to bring rugged and affordable laptop computers to children in developing nations—and as many as 50 of the machines are slated to undergo testing in Brazilian schools starting this week, the Associated Press reports via the International Herald Tribune.
The OLPC initiative was launched by MIT Media Lab cofounder Nicholas Negroponte, who serves as the program chairman. Originally called the $100 Laptop program, the project’s name was later modified because the machines it plans to produce will likely initially cost more than $100. OLPC hopes to eventually decrease the price of the machines to closer to $100 as orders for the laptops pick up and associated production costs drop.
OLPC’s “$100 Laptop”
The official Brazilian government news service recently reported that 50 machines were scheduled to arrive in Brazil on Monday, at which point they’re expected to be distributed to various schools across the nation for pilot testing, according to the AP.
“I can affirm to you that we are very close to producing a US$100 laptop. We are building together the dream of giving each school student a laptop like this to study and work,” Silva said, the AP reports.
Negroponte said all associated computer servers are to be constructed within Brazil, and that as many as 1,000 of the machines could be available for shipment by January 2007, according to the AP.
The OLPC chairman also said such countries as Argentina, Nigeria and Thailand could receive “$100 laptops” sometime during early 2007, the AP reports. Libya has also said it will participate in the program.
The laptops will be built to last with rugged exteriors, feature Wi-Fi connectivity, and include 126MB of DRAM and 512MB of flash memory for storage. The OLPC machines will also run on the free, open-source Linux operating system.
In related news, Brazil plans to launch an initiative under which it will offer its citizens desktop computers for about $650 apiece, and they’ll have the option of paying over two years’ time, according to the AP.