Intel drops support for the “$100 laptop”
January 3, 2008
Intel said it no longer will support the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project and resigned from the board over the group’s demand that the chipmaker stop selling its Classmate laptop in developing countries.
The move comes nearly six months after Intel agreed to contribute funding and join the board of OLPC, the nonprofit group that seeks to bring low-cost laptops to children in poor countries.
The laptop, which has been billed as a durable low-cost PC for students in developing countries, competes had-to-head with Intel’s child-focused Classmate PC. Some pundits speculated that a newly designed Intel chip would power the next generation of the OLPC. Presently the laptop is powered by Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s 433MHz Geode LX-700, a chip that is slow by mainstream standards but consumes little power and is cheaper.
Intel’s resignation is another blow to the OLPC project. In addition to production delays, balooning costs (the “$100 laptop” now costs $188) and lower than expected orders from developing countries, OLPC was this week hit with a $20 million patent infringement suit from a firm that said the so-called “100 laptop” had ripped off its keyboard design. OLPC has also been criticized by development experts who say that developing countries should not be asked to foot the bill for what is an unproven technology. Still the project has won support from the U.N., the U.S. State Department and tech behemoths including Google, Quanta Computer, Microsoft, and Red Hat.