BBC News reports that for a limited time the One Laptop Per Child Project will be selling the “$100 laptop” to US consumers in pairs for $399 in order to generate support for the project. With each purchase, the consumer gets to keep one laptop and the other goes to a child in a developing country.
The offer starts on the 12th of November, considerably earlier than any previously announced plans to offer the laptops for sale. BBC said that this program is being offered because “[Project founder Nicholas Negroponte] admitted that concrete orders from the governments of developing nations had not always followed verbal agreements.”
Engineered to reach the $100 mark due to economy of scale, the laptops have yet to reach that point, now going for about $188. The OLPC project has the goal of providing low-cost laptops to children in developing nations, supported by governments, grants, and donations.
In addition to its ambitious social justice and education goals, the project provides an interesting machine: According to the BBC article and the Wikipedia article on the topic, the $188 “$100 laptop” eliminates moving parts by omitting a hard drive; it runs on flash memory and Linux.
The BBC says the waterproof machine “can be powered by solar, foot-pump or pull-string powered chargers,” though Negroponte said in 2006 that the hand crank originally planned was later eliminated from the design. As a result, the laptops are now merely astonishingly steampunk, rather than being steampunker-than-f@!k.
Image via Wikipedia.