Intel Joins One Laptop Per Child Initiative

The One Laptop Per Child project has reached an agreement with long-standing skeptic Intel Corp. to work together to explore ways to get computer technology into the hands of children in developing nations. The move, announced yesterday, is a great vindication for the Cambridge-based OLPC and its founder, Nicholas Negroponte, who told me only a few days ago that he was on the road 330 days out of the year working on the project. He also said that after three years of gestation, OLPC was at “the point of inflection” in its efforts surrounding the XO laptop, a personal computer based on free and open source software planned for production beginning in September.

Intel, which already markets its Classmate PC at least somewhat in competition with the XO, has long been critical of the OLPC program. Under the terms of the agreement, the announcement of which was about as vaguely worded as one could imagine, Intel will join the OLPC board. The two will explore ways to jointly develop and promote both technology and educational content, and “bring the benefits of technology to the developing world through synergy of their respective programs.”

“Intel joins the OLPC board as a world leader in technology, helping reach the world’s children. Collaboration with Intel means that the maximum number of laptops will reach children,” Negroponte said in the statement.

(Image from wikipedia under its licensing terms.)

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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One response to “Intel Joins One Laptop Per Child Initiative”

  1. Peter Varley says:

    Well, after having problems with Intel, the OLPC project has now welcomed Intel into its team. Interestingly, there is no timetable regarding Intel in relation to hardware for the OLPC. Instead, Intel will be contributing to OLPC’s software. Indeed, OLPC says that it is not a done deal that any Intel chip technology will end up in OLPC computers. This is because of the problems that OLPC has had with Intel. Earlier this year, OLPC blasted Intel for undercutting its efforts to get low-cost computers to some of the world’s poorest citizens. Intel defended its actions as part of normal marketing to gain new business, but also seemed eager to settle the matter. So now that Intel and OLPC are now working together, things should run more smoothly for the project. I believe that the OLPC will help children in developing countries around the world. But it will also change the world of laptops forever. The marketpace will benefit, and I’m sure that every home in the developed world will have one. What is becoming clear is that the OLPC is a not the solution but a starting point for development. Different needs and cultures must be addressed properly. Only then will the OLPC project be a success.