Hundred Dollar Laptop

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What Does Hundred Dollar Laptop Mean?

A hundred dollar laptop is a low-cost sub-notebook computer that is supposed to be handed out to children in developing countries all over the world. The main intention of this initiative is to provide these children with access to knowledge by introducing an inexpensive information service. The nonprofit organization One Laptop per Child (OLPC) developed this laptop under the guidance of its co-founder, Nicholas Negroponte. It was manufactured by Quanta Computer.


The hundred dollar laptop aims to encourage computer literacy in rural areas and, on a larger scale, reduce or alleviate third-world poverty and bridge the “digital divide.”

The hundred dollar laptop is also known as the children’s machine, 2B1, XO or XO-1. It was nicknamed ceibalita in Uruguay. The project was also referred to as the OLPC Project.

Techopedia Explains Hundred Dollar Laptop

The sub-notebooks were built especially to be distributed among government education systems in developing countries. These education systems then meant to distribute the sub-notebooks to every primary child in their country. These durable, low-power computers do not use hard drives; instead, they use flash memory for storage and operation. They run on a Linux distribution called the Red Hat Fedora operating system, which comes in a pre-installed format.

The hundred dollar laptop was to have the following characteristics and features:

  • About the size of a textbook
  • Weight less than 1.5 kg
  • A hermetically sealed keyboard
  • Dust and water resistant display
  • A 7.5” 1200×900 pixel LCD display
  • A string pulley to power the battery, with 10 minutes of power per pull
  • Consumes 2 watts of power in normal use
  • A webcam and programs for music
  • No hard drive or PCMCIA slot

This sub-notebook came with wireless networking capabilities and was made of nontoxic materials. Together with a regular plug-in power source, solar and human power sources were offered, enabling operation without the help of a commercial power grid.

Original expectations were to produce about 2,500 laptops and deliver them to eight countries in February of 2007. This was expected to increase to five million by July and 50 million by 2008. Each laptop was expected to cost $150, but decrease to $100 with mass production, and below $100 by 2010. Actually the price remained at $199 through the winter of 2008.

The OLPC XO-2 was expected to be released in 2010, but was canceled in favor of developing the OLPC XO-3.

Critics have proposed that the project should be geared toward the adult community to promote economic growth. They also questioned whether this is the correct technology for the users.

In the spring of 2010 Marvell, a long-time supporter of OLPC and supplier of the wireless chips in the XO designs, and founder Nicholas Negroponte finalized a partnership to design a line of education-focused tablet computers. Some of these (but not the XO-3) will be targeted for the developing world and are expected to be on sale in 2011 for less than $100. However, the original XO-3 is still targeted for 2012.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.