One Laptop Per Child eyes September launch, bigger price tag

Cost creeping up from initial vision as project hopes to reach 3 million orders by June

The One Laptop Per Child organization says that it is just 500,000 units short of reaching its milestone target of 3 million total orders for its bright green, child-friendly notebook computer aimed at educational needs in developing nations. However, the semi-formal term attached to the project of the "$100 Laptop" has clearly become a misnomer, as project officials now cite the price at $175, with room to float to cover project overhead. The actual name of the product is the "XO," and the price remains subject to change, as OLPC officials have said that unlike their market-driven rivals, they are more likely to cut prices than boost features as economies of scale and falling component prices affect their build costs.

The 3-million unit target is the level OLPC and its manufacturing partner, Quanta, have said they must achieve in order to roll out 400,000 machines per month and achieve the necessary efficiencies to make the XO's low-cost design work. XO's current, and presumably finalized, specifications call for a 433 MHz AMD Geode x86-compatible processor, with 256 MB RAM and 1 GB flash storage, with a 1200x900 7.5" LCD display. The system is expected to have an overall power consumption of about 2 watts, and is infamously powered by manual effort-a string pulley, replacing the original crank design.

OLPC has so far delivered about 200 of its pre-production units, reflecting the unit's final design for mass-production. Some thousands of "beta"-design laptops have been shipped to pilot developers and educators. Enthusiasts and first-world institutions have expressed interest in the hardware and there have been some signs that OLPC will come to formalize a program to supply those markets as well. The project also provides an emulator suitable for use on most x86 platforms.

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