TAIPEI, Taiwan While many analysts are busy tearing down Sony PS3's and Nintendo Wii's, a few insiders are taking a closer look at the first batch of $100 (eventually) laptops to roll off the production lines in Shanghai as part of the One Laptop Per Child program backed by Nicholas Negroponte and MIT's Media Lab.
In the latest display of YouTube's utility for the tech community, a user posted a 5:53 first look at the latest iteration of the OLPC user interface, based on Linux. (See links below)
Earlier postings around the Internet have also shown how the physical design of the laptop has changed, including the elimination of the much touted on-board hand crank that was supposed to power the cheap, lime green laptop. It's still there, reportedly, but has now been moved to the power adapter.
The OLPC's produced earlier this week in Shanghai still need to go through loads of testing, such as knocking them off desks and dropping them in mud, as kids are wont to do. They may also be kicked around, like soccer balls, a popular sport in 99.9 percent of the world. "We have to test, test, test this machine under conditions of extreme cold, extreme heat, mud, dust, jungle and daily abuse by kids," said Negroponte, in an interview with the International Herald Tribune.
If they survive, the machines will be shipped off to places like Brazil, Argentina, Nigeria, Thailand and Libya, where strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi signed a deal with Negroponte to supply the country's 1.2 million children with the machines and supporting infrastructure for $250 million.
That's $208.33 per laptop.
OLPC backers hope to get the effective cost of the laptops down to $100 somewhere between 2008 and 2010. Taiwan's Quanta Computer is the contract manufacturer.