The non-profit project, One Laptop Per Child, a project that aims to bring computers and technology to children of the developing nations, is set to launch with its latest marketing push.
The founding director of MIT’s Media Laboratory, Nicholas Negroponte, is also Chairman of the One Laptop Per Child project. Engineers and scientists have finally succeeded in making a low-cost computer that has the basics, known as the XO Laptop. The cost is approximately $100/computer for a laptop that is extremely sturdy and built to withstand harsh weather and less than ideal living conditions in mostly rural villages.
The laptops have high-resolution screens, cameras and peer-to-peer technology so the laptops can communicate wirelessly with one another and the operation system is free, open-source software. It also uses only 10% of the power of a conventional laptop.
Mass production of the XO Laptop is set to begin next month. Pre-orders for the XO Laptops, however, have not been brisk. Thus, Negroponte is asking the public to help give the campaign its support through a special two-week program. The new marketing program is known as “Give 1 Get 1,” and is offered to Americans and Canadians, in which they can buy two laptops for retail price of $399.
It’s a worthy cause: one of the XO machines will be sent free of charge to a child in a developing nation, and the other one will be shipped to the purchaser in time for Christmas. The donated computer is tax-deductible as a charitable contribution. The Give 1 Get 1 program will start taking orders on November 12th and end on November 26th.
Still, the "Give 1 Get 1" initiative is mostly about giving. According to Negroponte, if donations reached $40 million that would mean 100,000 laptops could be distributed free in the developing world. Peru has signed up to purchase and distribute 250,000 XO Laptops during 2008, many of them to be sent to remote rural parts of the country. And the government of Italy has agreed to purchase and donate 50,000 XO Laptops for distribution in Ethiopia. over the next year--many of them allocated for remote rural areas. The laptops won’t be about surfing the Internet for casual chat sessions.
In some countries the laptops are expected to hold entire textbooks for easy reading, information and access to the community where the laptops are sent.