Poor governments will need to pay $175 for $100 laptop
April 27, 2007

The governments of Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Thailand, Nigeria and Libya will be asked to pay about $175 for each OLPC laptop, a computer targeted for children in developing countries. The device was originally estimated to cost $100.

The news comes as the laptop faces mounting challenges from Microsoft, which will introduce a $3 versions of the Windows operating system for poor countries, and criticism from observers who say that developing countries should not be asked to foot the bill for what is an unproven technology. Still the OLPC computer has won acclaim from the U.N. and the U.S. state department.

The laptops have been billed as a durable low-cost PC for students in developing countries. The project has received support from Google, AMD, Brightstar, News Corporation, and Red Hat. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft criticized the computer in March 2006 but by December 2006 it became evident that Microsoft was involved in the project.

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The laptop, which was tested by the U.S. State Department in mid-November, is WiFi- and cell phone-enabled, and can be powered using a hand-crank. It is designed to be used in harsh environments such as remote rural areas in developing countries. The weather-proof laptops will available in some 30 colors.

The Associated Press reports that the laptop's manufacturer, Quanta Computer Inc., will earn a profit of $3 per machine, below it's normal margin. The foundation behind the project will also collect $1 from each laptop sold.

The Associated Press reports that American computer manufacturers are concerned that OLPC laptops could end up in U.S. schools, creating fierce competition in the domestic PC market.

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Poor governments will need to pay $175 for $100 laptop.