Indian government buys 250,000 laptops

NEW DELHI, INDIA – The Indian government has performed a smart about-turn and agreed to buy 250,000 XO laptops from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Foundation.

OLPC is a non-profit organisation that sells low-cost educational laptops to governments in developing countries. After a trial in 2007 when 20 XO machines were distributed in a Maharashta village, the government decided not to go ahead and roll it out across the country,despite the scheme’s success. Apparently the Ministry of Human Resource Development thought it was unhealthy for children to be using laptops for prolonged periods.

Later, the government developed its own project, the $10 laptop, which turned out to be a bit of a disaster – basically, they weren’t laptops, and you couldn’t build them for $10.

Now, the OLPC is upgrading its machines, dropping the AMD Geode chip in favour of the VIA C7-M, bringing RAM up to 1GB and increasing storage to 4GB. It’s not known, though, whether the Indian government is getting the new version or the old.

The scheme will start in 1,500 schools, with distribution expected to start in June.