Guest Author - Denise Oliveri
The One Laptop Per Child Foundation was founded in 1988 in Taiwan. The current mission of this foundation is to make computers available to children in third world, impovershied countries who would otherwise have no opportunity to learn. In fact, a bothersome statistic shows that nearly two billion children are uneducated and will never complete the fifth grade. OLPC is an entity that hopes to change these daunting statistics.
Intel Corporation announced on Friday, July 13, 2007, that they will support a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher project, which will eventually allow poor children to have their own laptop. This came as a pleasant shock to some, as Intel did not support the foundation in the past.
Being the largest chipmaker company in the world, Intel is now on the board of the One Laptop Per Child Foundation, who are the driving force behind designing the XO laptop. Production is slated to begin this September (2007), and each laptop will cost approximately $176.
Intel and OLPC are now looking forward to working together on the technology and educational capabilities that the XO computer will deliver. Other well-known board members include Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. and Google, Inc. Advanced Micro Devices is providing the microprocessor that runs the XO computer, while Google is providing e-mail accounts and free back-up services.
So how will these laptops make it into the hands of poor children around the world? OLPC says that they plan to sell the laptops to government agencies around the world. Each government will be required to purchase many computers (into the thousands) and then distribute them among elementary-aged children for free.
It appears that with Intel's backing, along with other heavy-hitters, the dream of OLPC founder and chairman, Nicholas Negroponte, is becoming a reality. As of this writing (July 14, 2007), the XO computer is interfaced to work in the following countries: Arabic, Bengali, Catalan, Danish, German, Greek, English (US), Farsi (Persian), Finnish, French, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Igbo, Italian, Japanese, Lao, Nepali, Norwegian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Telugu, Turkish, Thai, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Yoruba, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese. They are open to accepting new languages, as they hear from governments wanting to purchase the computers.