$100 Laptop

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$100 Laptop

Will Nortel help make the dream of one laptop per child a reality? Apparently so:

Nortel is a member of the "One Laptop per Child" (OLPC) initiative, a non-profit organization, which was formed earlier this year by Nicholas Negroponte and other faculty members from the MIT Media Lab.

Nortel's Brazilian unit is helping to finalize options for pilot projects in the country. "We are looking at several options and the timeline isn't precise yet. But we expect that in six months we will have a defined way to move forward," said Abreu.

The company is helping Brazil's government to assess the notebook, which is "in its final stage."

Nortel Brasil is also in talks with educational institutions such as the University of So Paulo (USP) and local communities about ways to use the notebook.

The firm is bringing its expertise to identify ways to connect the notebook to networks. It is helping to develop technology such as WiMax/Wimesh, which can be used in remote locations in Brazil, and allow simultaneous access for many machines from a single transmitter, according to Abreu.

One of the biggest challenges is to align various disparate organizations and fit the initiative within government projects, said Abreu.

The corporations that have joined the OLPC initiative have pledged an undisclosed annual contribution to help fund it.

The objective of OLPC is to develop a fully functioning, connected laptop to give an innovative learning tool to as many children as possible around the world - especially those in developing nations.

The machines are rugged, Linux-based, and so energy efficient that hand-cranking alone can generate sufficient power for operation, Nortel said.

The OLPC's pricing goal is to start near US$100 and then steadily decrease. However, some experts are concerned that the low cost of these notebooks may lead to low quality.

The Brazilian division of US hardware giant Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is also advising the government about technology issues for its digital inclusion programs.


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