XO laptop to go on sale in 30 countries on Monday

By , IDG News Service |  Hardware, one laptop per child, XO laptop

 The XO laptop will be available on Monday to 30 countries through Amazon.com, marking the first time the laptop will be available to the general public outside the U.S. and Canada.

One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit organization, is working to equip children in developing countries with the low-cost XO.

Buyers can either simply buy one XO to donate or buy two, with one going to a child in a developing country, a program called "Give one Get one." The program will also restart again on Monday for the U.S. and Canada. More than 150,000 XOs were produced for the program last year.

For Europe and a few other countries, the price for two XOs will be $399 (£254 or €312), according to an OLPC wiki page. One laptop bought for a donation will costs $199.

No VAT (value added tax) should be charged. Amazon.co.uk will process the transactions and bill in British pounds.

Countries included are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the U.K.

This year's program has no scheduled end date, according to the wiki, while last year it only ran from November through the end of December.

The XO is designed for tough environments, with a battery that lasts up to 21 hours. Power can also be generated by use of a solar panel, a foot pedal or pull-string.

The laptops sold this year will run the latest edition of the Sugar user interface on a Linux operating system based on the Fedora Core. The XO version will not dual-boot Windows and Linux, according to OLPC. Users have an option of choosing a U.K.-style power adaptor or one designed for continental Europe.

OLPC has aimed to drive down production costs and sell the laptop for $100 or less to educational institutions and governments, but the price still hovers just under $200.

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