Building the £50 laptop

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OLPC

The first £50 OLPC laptops could ship to children in emerging economies within months. PC Advisor speaks to the people behind the project to see how they made the impossible possible.

When plans to build and distribute a £50 laptop to schoolchildren in emerging economies were first announced two years ago, the people behind the scheme had their fair share of critics.

PC prices in western economies were believed to have hit rock bottom at around £400, yet here was an organisation hoping to shave off another £350.
On top of this, it promised to use traditionally expensive components, such as flat-panel displays and purpose-built hardware – including a power-generating hand crank – that looked ambitious, to say the least. It had never been done before and many believed it was mission impossible.

Two years down the line, the sceptics may be forced to eat humble pie.

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