The One Laptop Per Child project is set to resume its Give One Get One promotion for its kid-friendly computers Monday with logistics help from Web retailer Amazon.com Inc.
With Give One Get One, shoppers spend about $400 to buy one of OLPC's rugged green-and-white XO laptops and donate a second to a child in a developing country.
Cambridge, Mass.-based One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit, sells the XO machines to governments in developing countries that give the computers to schoolchildren. The laptops use less power than regular PCs, and are designed to work in demanding, rural conditions. Almost all of them run open-source software, but versions that can run Windows are expected to be available next year.
The organization's long-term goal is to get the laptops down to $100, but the machines currently carry a $199 tag. OLPC had been charging $188, before increasing production costs forced the organization to raise the price.
Plagued by delays
About 473,000 XO laptops have been distributed in 31 countries, with nearly 200,000 more waiting to find their way into schools.
Last year, OLPC's Give One Get One campaign drew orders for more than 160,000 XO laptops in less than two months, more than half of which were routed to Rwanda, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and other poor countries. But the program was plagued by delays that frustrated buyers, in part because different vendors handled different aspects of ordering and delivery, said OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte.
Working with Amazon, which is providing its services at cost, should help avoid similar hiccups this time, Negroponte said. Amazon declined to comment on the terms of the arrangement.
Amazon's U.S. and U.K. sites will be set up to take orders. U.S. shoppers who order XOs can expect to get their machine this year. Orders placed to other countries through the U.K. site won't be delivered until 2009.