$100 Laptop Goes on Sale for $200

MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte's much-touted $100 laptop is now officially on sale via the One Laptop per Child Foundation's Web site, with production cost now totaling $200. The organization previously said the laptop would cost $176 in April and raised that estimate to $188 last month.

Behind the price increase are rising costs of certain components and currency fluctuations, says OLPC, but costs should go down as production of the laptops begins next month in China. A lack of pre-orders may have contributed to the $200 price tag, as only three countries -- Uruguay, Peru and Mongolia -- have agreed to buy the devices.

OLPC announced last month a two-week sale to begin November 12 and require the buyer to purchase two laptops for $399. One of the laptops will go to the buyer while the other will be donated. The current sale, however, enables individuals to buy a minimum of 100 laptops which will be donated to a location the buyer designates.

The $200 price tag is only for those purchasing a minimum of 10,000 laptops. For 1,000 laptops, the price goes to $249 and OLPC says it will use that $49 to fund additional laptops. Those wanting to donate just 100 laptops can buy them for $299 each, with $99 going toward more laptops.

Despite one sale starting and another slated to begin in a couple weeks, it's still unclear when the laptops will be ready. The program has been fraught with delays, and production was previously scheduled to begin in September. Version 1.0 of the software that will power the devices is currently expected to be ready on December 7, but further development delays are possible.

The $100 -- now $200 -- laptop runs Linux and features wireless connectivity, a built-in camera and a keyboard designed to change languages. The user interface also largely functions via symbols, making languages and the ability to read not a requirement for use. Negroponte is targeting the device at developing nations and those too poor to afford proper computers for education.

Despite a seeming lack of interest from countries, which could be related to the laptop's rising costs, Microsoft is still eager to get its software in the device. The Redmond company is working on tailoring a version of Windows XP for OLPC.

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