Intel inside OLPC?

Ars technica is reporting that Intel is aggressively working to convince the makers of the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child, whose actual product is called the XO) to include Intel chips in its design.

Ars technica is reporting that Intel is aggressively working to convince the makers of the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child, whose actual product is called the XO) to include Intel chips in its design. OLPC is welcoming the company that once called it's product a "gadget" to contribute designs:

"Intel, like a lot of other people, is more than welcome to try to design great silicon for this project and this mission, and we've been working with them to help them do exactly that," said Walter Bender, OLPC's president.

The current design includes an AMD Geode processor. As the article points out, the chip on which this processor is based was first used in 1997 and has seen little in the way of retooling since then. Initial tests of the OLPC have shown that performance is adequate given the software customizations, but the Celeron M could provide a significant boost.

AMD, on the other hand, claims that a change in processor would require a complete system redesign. The ability to operate without a fan is also an asset, given the XO's need for minimal power consumption and durability in a variety of hostile conditions; Intel's current offerings all require fans (and their associated vents and power requirements).

While I've never been able to get too excited over the XO, this degree of competition certainly bodes well for this segment of the market, both domestically and abroad. With attention turning away from simply ramping up clock speed to reducing power consumption and increasing mobility at very low costs, even kids in the states should feel the ripple effect from this ongoing rivalry.