UN Throws Weight Behind $100 Laptop

The United Nations is preparing to officially support the MIT $100 laptop program by signing a agreement between its Development Programme arm and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The signing will take place in Davos, Switzerland on Saturday.

That event is part of the larger World Economic Forum being held in the popular ski resort town this week. The WEF brings together politicians, economists and business executives in a non-partisan format with a purpose is to discuss global economic issues.

The agreement would call for the United Nations Development Programme to assist the non-profit program One Laptop per Child in working with local and international groups to ensure the laptops make it to children in developing nations.

One Laptop per Child intends to give the laptops at no charge to students, and instead have the government or charities foot the cost. Since each unit only runs $100, it would allow entities to purchase large quantities at a significantly lower price than possible with traditional laptop computers.

While it has received widespread accolades, not everybody agrees that a $100 laptop will be the cure-all to the world's digital divide.

Intel chairman Craig Barrett previously chided the project, which will utilize chips from rival AMD, saying, "I think a more realistic title should be 'the $100 gadget'. The problem is that gadgets have not been successful."

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