Intel backs the “$100 laptop”

16 Jul 2007

In a complete about-face semiconductor giant Intel has gone from dismissing the laptop produced by the One Laptop per Child (OLPL) initiative as a mere “gadget” to joining the board of the non-profit organisation.

The OLPC scheme was founded by MIT Media Lab professor Nicholas Negroponte with the aim of producing low-cost, robust laptops to the two billion plus children in the developing world.

“Mr. Negroponte has called it a $100 laptop; I think a more realistic title should be ‘the $100 gadget’,” said Intel president Craig Barrett at a press conference two years ago.

Intel was originally working on its own version of a children’s laptop, and industry commentators has speculated that the company was wary of the OLPC scheme due to competitor AMD providing the processing power at the heart of the machine.

Although relunctant to join the scheme in the beginning, Intel invests over US$100m in education per year across 50 countries worldwide.

“Joining OLPC is a further example of our commitment to education over the last 20 years and our belief in the role of technology in bringing the opportunities of the 21st century to children around the world,” said Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel.

Other corporate members of the OLPC include eBay, Google, Red Hat and Quanta Computer.

By Marie Boran