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$100 Laptop Trails February, Launches July

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While both Leo and Sandra have had their say about Nicolas Negroponte’s controversial $100 ‘One Laptop per Child’ project, it appears that we may finally see the first device rolled out in July.

Speaking to the Associated Press News Agency Negroponte said that test machines will reach children as early as February before the company builds towards a formal launch in the middle of the year. Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand and Uruguay are the first countries to sign up to the device – now dubbed the ‘XO’.

It hasn’t been an easy ride for Negroponte to date with many slamming both the machine’s specifications (366MHz AMD CPU, 512MB Flash memory, 2x USB ports, integrated screen, web browser, RSS reader and word processor) labelling it a ‘crippled’ PC and doubting its potential to sell for such a low price. In response Negroponte was out in force today.

“I have to laugh when people refer to XO as a weak or crippled machine and how kids should get a ‘real' one", he said. “Trust me, I will give up my real one very soon and use only XO. It will be far better, in many new and important ways."

While I have some doubts Negroponte really wants to give up a high end PC for something with such comparatively low horsepower as the XO for his day to day operations the machine does tread notably new ground in abandoning all pre-existing operating systems in favour of its own OS called ‘Sugar’. Unlike Windows, Linux or Mac OS based systems it does away with the idea of organising information by folders or using a desktop in favour of working via an ‘electronic journal’ which operates as a log of everything the user has done on the device.

Whether NN’s XO proves doubters wrong or goes belly up - as most are expecting - it is certainly an ambitious and worthy idea. Following the news today it seems like fans and critics now have a date they can pencil in for an answer…

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