The first $100 laptop PCs for the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) programme will roll off production lines by the end of this year, and mass production will start in the first quarter of 2007, according to Quanta Computer.
The Taiwanese company, the largest contract notebook PC manufacturer in the world, had previously estimated it would begin mass production of the low-cost devices in the second quarter of next year.
The company expects to ship 5 million to 10 million of the laptops next year, and said orders to Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria and Thailand have already been confirmed.
The OLPC initiative is aimed at ensuring school children in developing countries keep up with their peers in developed nations by putting a laptop PC able to wirelessly access the internet into their hands. The founders of the OLPC group hope the programme keeps people in poor nations from being left behind in the digital age. The $100 laptop PC concept has also prompted companies, including Intel, to start creating lower-cost notebooks for developing countries.