Page last updated at 11:30 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 12:30 UK

Colombia signs up for XO laptop

Screenshot of Caldas state government home page, Caldas
Caldas has become one of several Latin American regions using the XO

About 65,000 children in the Caldas region of Colombia will soon be getting an XO laptop.

It has signed up to the One Laptop Per Child programme which puts cheap PCs into the hands of schoolchildren.

OLPC aims to boost the educational prospects of children in developing nations through technology.

Small towns and rural areas will get the first 15,000 XO laptops. The rest will be distributed over the next 18 months to the region's larger towns.

XO and XP

Unveiling the deal Caldas's Governor Mario Aristizabal said the region was "committed to giving each and every child of primary school age the same opportunity to access knowledge as the most privileged children in New York, Berlin or Tokyo".

A separate deal with OLPC is being negotiated to buy XO laptops for schools in and around the state capital Manizales.

In a statement announcing the deal, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte said the organisation was starting to get "good traction" from countries keen to sign up and buy the distinctive green and white XO laptops in large numbers.

The OLPC's declared aims in its early days was to create a machine that only cost $100 and sold in the millions. So far it has failed to deliver on both those objectives.

Currently each machine costs $188 and OLPC has sold about 600,000 of them.

In mid-May the OLPC group unveiled a deal with Microsoft to put the Windows XP operating system on the XO. Professor Negroponte said many nations wanted the laptops to run Windows before they signed up.

The project has also unveiled reference designs for a second generation machine, which will take the form of an e-book with twin touch screens.

Mr Negroponte said he hoped the device could be released in 2010 and cost $75.

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