Intel announced at the IDF in Taiwan today that it will ship new processors for the One Laptop Per Child notebook and other cheap notebooks in April:
No current Intel microprocessors fit the requirements of the OLPC, which uses a processor from Advanced Micro Devices, so Intel will design a new architecture specifically for the ultra-low cost laptop category, said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the mobile platforms group at Intel.
"OLPC is a new category that will allow many, many people in many places to have access to the Internet," he said. "It's a category for itself. It will grow, it will not be a cannibalization of an existing [product] category."
The OLPC Project started as an attempt to build a $100 laptop for children in poor nations, but the laptop from the group, named the XO, will likely end up costing nearly double that amount at first. The organizers of the effort, led by academics and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), hope heavy volume sales of the device will drive down costs.
The goal of OLPC is to make sure nobody misses out on the benefits of computing. The fear is that the price of a PC is keeping too many people in developing countries from learning how the software, Internet and communications benefits of computing can improve their economies, job prospects and lives, or that poor countries will fall further and further behind the modern world due to their inability to access computers, a conundrum commonly referred to as the digital divide.