Amazon to sell OLPC's XO laptop starting Nov. 17

Customer donates $400 and receives two laptops, one of which goes to a child in a developing nation

One Laptop Per Child confirmed that it will start selling its XO laptop on Amazon.com Inc.'s Web site on Monday.

The XO laptop will be sold on Amazon through the same arrangement as the G1G1 program, in which a consumer donates $400 for two laptops, one of which is delivered to a child in a developing nation.

Only Linux-based XO laptops will be available through Amazon, said Jim Gettys, vice president of software engineering at OLPC. A Windows version will not be sold.

For now, only Amazon's U.S. storefront will sell the XO. OLPC is reviewing the possibility of selling the laptop through Amazon in other countries.

Designed for use by children in developing countries, the laptop has been praised for its innovative hardware features and environmentally friendly design. It comes with 1GB of internal flash storage, 256MB of RAM, a 7.5-in. LDC screen and wireless networking.

Depending on how it is to be used, the XO may include a specially designed lithium-ferro phosphate battery, which OLPC claims is more power-efficient than batteries used in commercial laptops. The laptop can also be run on solar power, or on power generated via a foot pedal or a pull-string, making it useful in settings where electricity is unreliable or unavailable.

OLPC, a nonprofit organization, competes in the global education market with Intel Corp., which offers the Classmate PC. OLPC has lost orders to Intel as it recovers from restructuring and increases in the XO's price and manufacturing costs.

The XO laptop is undergoing an incremental update that will make it faster and able to store more data. Code-named XO-1 Gen 1.5, the upgraded laptop may include a faster processor, increased flash storage, a new wireless chip and rubber bumpers for improved screen protection. The target ship date for the new laptop is in the first quarter of 2009, the organization has said.

OLPC has already announced the XO-2, its next-generation laptop, which is slated to include a software-based, touch-sensitive keyboard and two touch-screen displays. That laptop is expected to ship in 2010.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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