Laptop Project for Developing Countries Hits Snag An ambitious project to create a cheap laptop for the developing world is running into problems. Intel, one of the major sponsors of the "One Laptop Per Child" project, is pulling out. The project and the company could not agree on how a rival product from Intel would be marketed.

Laptop Project for Developing Countries Hits Snag

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

On Mondays we focus on technology. And today we begin with an ambitious project to create a laptop for children in the developing world. This program has received a lot of publicity, but it's running into big problems. One of its big corporate backers backed out.

Cyrus Farivar has more.

CYRUS FARIVAR: IN 2005, MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte announced the effort to design a $100 laptop. The project was aimed at schools in the developing world. But it's hit a few snags.

The latest is Intel's decision to withdraw. The split arose because Intel and Negroponte's group could not agree on how Intel would market a rival product that sells for around $250. Officials with the One Laptop Per Child project claims their laptops provide vast educational benefits. But foreign governments, the target clientele, aren't buying. The millions of orders needed to reduce the price to $100 never materialized. That said, there are pilot projects in some countries, says Wayan Vota, editor of OLPCNews.com.

Mr. WAYAN VOTA (Editor, OLPCNews.com): Right now we have a lot of reports of children really excited about their laptops and playing with them, but we don't have reports that this play and enjoyment is transferring into real learn - knowledge and real growth and development of the child. And that's really the key metric Negroponte needs to show to have OLPC grow and take off with developing world.

FARIVAR: Even if the $100 laptop project doesn't succeed, it's already had an impact. Today, there are many other companies from Silicon Valley to East Asia making laptops that cost under $400.

For NPR News, I'm Cyrus Farivar.

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