OLPC to make XO laptop commercially available

For a limited time, US buyers will be able to purchase, at $399, one XO laptop for themselves and one for a child in the developing world

The One Laptop per Child scheme has announced that it will make its ruggedised laptops available in the US for a limited time period.

The XO laptop, designed for use as an educational tool in developing countries, will be available under a scheme called "Give1 Get 1".

"Starting 12 November, One Laptop per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 programme for a brief window of time," OLPC chair Nicholas Negroponte wrote on the XO donation site. "For $399 [£197], you will be purchasing two XO laptops — one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home."

The donation needed to supply an XO laptop is now pitched at $200, according to the website. In July, OLPC estimated the cost of manufacture to be $175 per laptop. The laptops will be manufactured in Shanghai by Quanta. The first mass-produced laptops for use in schools are due to be made in October.

The laptops have been designed to withstand extremes of heat and moisture, and to be energy efficient in harsh environments. The screen, which OLPC claims is bright enough to read in sunlight, stays on while the rest of the motherboard turns off, saving energy. Laptop batteries can be recharged using a rip cord, a crank, a pedal, a car battery, or solar panels — in fact, anything that can produce between 10 and 20 volts of electricity, OLPC's chief technology officer Mary Lou Jensen told ZDNet.co.uk in July.

The laptops will come equipped with the Sugar open-source operating system developed by Red Hat.