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Coloumbia Joins XO Bandwagon!!

Coloumbia has announced that it has joined up with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, which attempts to provide cheap portable laptops to people in developing countries. This signals good news for about 65,000 children in Colombia, who will soon be getting an XO laptop.

OLPC aims to boost the educational prospects of children in developing nations through technology.

Small towns and rural areas will get the first 15,000 XO laptops. The rest will be distributed over the next 18 months to the region's larger towns.

Unveiling the deal Mario Aristizabal, the governor of the Caldas region which will benefit from this deal said the region was "committed to giving each and every child of primary school age the same opportunity to access knowledge as the most privileged children in New York, Berlin or Tokyo".

A separate deal with OLPC is being negotiated to buy XO laptops for schools in and around the state capital Manizales.

In a statement , OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte said the organisation was starting to get "good traction" from countries keen to sign up and buy the new XO laptops in large numbers.

The OLPC's , in its early days, aimed to create a machine that only cost $100 and sold in the millions. So far it has failed to deliver on both those objectives.

Currently, as I had mentioned in this earlier post, each machine costs $188 and OLPC has sold only about 600,000 of them.

In mid-May the OLPC group unveiled a deal with Microsoft to put the Windows XP operating system on the XO. Professor Negroponte said many nations wanted the laptops to run Windows before they signed up. Also the project is set to enter its second stage and has unveiled reference designs for a second generation machine, which will take the form of an e-book with twin touch screens.(read about XO2 here)

Mr Negroponte said he hoped the second generation device could be released in 2010 and cost $75.

India is yet to tie-up with the OLPC initiative. If countries like India and China join hands with the initiative, the prices of the XO's are sure to plummet because of mass production.

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