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Quanta to build £59 laptop

Linux-based notebook's price to decrease further

Toshiba will probably delay the commercial launch of its first HD-DVD player because a group in charge of the copy-protection system for the format has yet to complete its work, the company said yesterday.

Negroponte, who is also chairman of the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) non-profit group, has said he expects the laptops to be available to governments next year at a price of US$100 (£59) each. A prototype of the laptop was unveiled at the recent UN-sponsored WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) in Tunis.

Under terms of an agreement with OLPC, Quanta will devote engineering resources to develop the $100 notebook design during the first half of the year, according to a statement issued by the group. At the same time, Quanta and OLPC will explore the production of a commercial version of the laptop.

OLPC did not immediately respond to an email request for additional information.

The first notebooks are expected to hit the market during the fourth quarter of next year, OLPC said, saying it expects initial orders for the machines to range from 5 million to 15 million units. OLPC said pricing of the Linux-based notebooks will start "near $100" and decrease over time.

OLPC said that trials of the notebook are planned for China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria and Thailand, with a million notebooks to be shipped to each of these countries. In addition, OLPC expects "an additional modest allocation" of the notebooks to be shipped to developers in other countries.

The group did not offer an explanation for the numerical difference between this forecast, which would involve shipments of at least 7 million notebooks, with the forecast that initial shipments could number 5 million units.


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