BOSTON A non-profit group that designs low-cost
computers for poor children hopes to start selling multimedia
laptops to consumers by Christmas, a foundation executive said
The One Laptop Per Child Foundation's rugged XO laptop
could initially sell for just $350, or twice its production
cost, although the group is also considering a $525 price tag,
said OLPC chief technology officer Mary Lou Jepsen.
If the XO laptop does make its way onto the market this
year, it could surprise personal computer makers who have
already spent months planning their strategy for the 2007
In an interview with Reuters, Jepsen said the foundation --
founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher
Nicholas Negroponte -- is still working out the details of the
plan and expects to know within about a month whether it is
The green-and-white, kid-friendly laptops that can be
powered with hand cranks were designed for use by poor children
in the world's impoverished nations. They were designed to
withstand severe weather common in areas of Asia, Africa and
Latin America. They run on Linux software, feature a high-
resolution display that can be read in direct sunlight and are
known for their low power consumption, operating up to 12 hours
on one battery charge.
As the foundation prepares for mass production of its first
model, the XO, to begin in October, it is looking for ways to
subsidize manufacturing of the devices so that it can get more
of them into the hands of poor children, Jepsen said.
Profits from consumer sales would go for that purpose, said
"We're trying to get the best deal we can," she said.
She added the foundation is looking at selling the machines
over the Internet and talking to companies with "a big presence
on the Web," although she declined to identify any by name.