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Price rises for global kids’ laptop program

From Reuters

A computer developed for the world’s poor children, dubbed “the $100 laptop,” has reached a milestone: It now sells for $200.

The One Laptop per Child Foundation, founded by Nicholas Negroponte of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has started offering the lime-green-and-white machines in lots of 10,000 or more for $200 apiece on its website (laptopfoundation .org/en/participate/givemany .shtml).

Those laptops are for purchase by donors who designate where they are to be sent through a foundation program to help finance the launch.

Two weeks ago, a foundation official reiterated recent statements that it cost $188 to build the computer, up from its $150 price tag in February and an original $100 price.

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The laptops are scheduled to go into production next month at a factory in China, behind their original schedule and in quantities that are a fraction of Negroponte’s earlier projections.

It is unclear when the machines will be ready for customers because the website said version 1.0 of the software that runs the machine will not be ready until Dec. 7.

When Negroponte said he could produce the laptops for $100, industry analysts said it had the potential to shake up the PC industry, ushering in an era of low-cost computing.

He hoped to keep the price down by achieving unprecedented economies of scale for a start-up manufacturer, and in April, he told Reuters he expected to have orders for 2.5 million laptops by May, with production targeted to begin in September.

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But that hasn’t panned out. The foundation has disclosed orders to only three countries -- Uruguay, Peru and Mongolia.


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