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Now, a laptop for the lesser priviliged!

india Updated: Jan 12, 2007 20:05 IST

A US-based non-profit organisation has unveiled a laptop computer that it claims will suit some of world's poorest consumers.

Developed by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), the laptop computer XO, which looks like a toy, is designed to survive and thrive in a rugged, power-sparse environment, reported the online edition of the Christian Science Monitor.

While a typical modern laptop requires 40 watts of power, this needs a meagre three watts to browse the Web, and less than a single watt to display an electronic book, it said.

The final industrial prototype of the XO was demonstrated at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) by OLPC and is intended to bring the most isolated tribal village into the Information Age, with the ultimate goal of offering one to every child on the planet, the report says.

The XO's innovative screen can operate in either colour or black and white. In black-and-white mode, it can be viewed clearly even in the brightest sunlight, ideal for rural villages where many activities occur outside. The laptop also has a video camera and built-in speakers.

The XO runs a trimmed-down version of the open-source Linux operating system. According to Bletsas, both Microsoft and Apple offered versions of their operating systems for the project, but neither was compact or secure enough to meet OLPC's needs.

The goal price is less than $100 per unit, which the initiative hopes to achieve by 2008. "Currently, we're closer to 100 euros [$130] per laptop," Michalis Bletsas, OLPC's chief connectivity officer says.

By keeping the price low, the OLPC initiative hopes that governments in the developing world will be able to afford them.

OLPC expects to start delivering the machines this summer, with the goal of delivering 5 million units the first year.