Brazil to receive first OLPC notebooks

In a few weeks Brazil will receive the first notebooks developed by the One Laptop per Child project.

Brazil is due to receive the first 50 functional notebooks developed by the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project.

If all goes as planned, Brazil will be the first developing country to have OLPC notebooks targeted at a practical education application. Administration advisors responsible for selecting the platform used in the country's national education program hope to receive the equipment around Nov. 15.

The Laboratory for Integrated Systems at the University of São Paulo is testing 15 of the motherboards that are to be used in the 2B1 model notebook from the OLPC.

The state plans to deploy the notebooks in schools in February, a government source confirmed. To meet this goal, the OLPC will deliver a second shipment of 1,000 2B1 notebooks in January.

The first 50 devices will go to researchers in various Brazilian institutions, who will familiarize themselves with the systems in order to develop regional applications, according to the source.

Brazil's introduction of the 2B1 models is related to the recent announcement made by Quanta Computer Inc., the Taiwanese company manufacturing the device's hardware. The company has moved up the production from the second quarter of 2007.

Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the MIT Media Laboratory and chairman OLPC, may travel to Brazil in November to deliver the machines. Sources familiar with Negroponte's agenda confirm he will go to Argentina in early November to talk with President Nestor Kirchner, and that Negroponte may extend the trip to Brazil.

On the worldwide map published on the OLPC Web site, Brazil and Argentina appear as countries where notebooks will be first introduced, in addition to Libya, Nigeria and Thailand.

The current price estimate for the 2B1 is US$140. Negroponte has said that the production of $100 laptops would start when there was a minimum of 5 million devices on order. Negroponte foresees $100 devices reaching a wide scale in the worldwide market in 2008.

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