One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organization with the mission to help eradicate world poverty by providing every child access to knowledge and modern forms of education, even if that child lives in the most rural and primitive environment, announced that it has authorized mass production of the XO laptop, based on the release of the final Beta-4 (B4) engineering model. This triggers the supply chains of 800 parts that come together and rollout off the assembly line in October.
â€œThere is a lot of debate in technology circles about the cost of bringing laptop computers into the developing world,â€ said Walter Bender, OLPC president of software and content. â€œBut the real debate shouldnâ€™t be centered on cost â€“ it should be about design. A computer designed for Western office environments simply wonâ€™t be able to withstand the conditions found in much of Africa, Asia and South America. Further, children engaged in learning have a different set of needs from a laptop than an office worker.â€
The B4 laptops feature three innovations that are unlike any laptop being manufactured in the world today: Technologically revolutionary display is fully readable in bright sunlight; Rugged durability to withstand the most severe weather and environmental conditions; and Engineered to operate â€œoff the grid.â€
The B4 laptops will go through a final round of testing by developers, hardware experts, OLPC technical volunteers, and some of the pilot schools around the world already using the B2 machines.