Some of the low-cost PCs designed by OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) for kids in the developing world will go to people in North America.

It's the result of a programme the group plans to launch today that will let US and Canadian residents pay $400 (£200) for one laptop to keep, and one to give to a child in a developing nation.

Initially, at least, purchasers won't be able to choose where the second laptop will go.

"The idea is to help feed programmes in the least developed countries and broaden the community of engagement," said Walter Bender, president of software and content for OLPC. By putting the laptops in the hands of people in North America, the group hopes to persuade more people to contribute content or other developments to the project, he said.

The offer will start on November 12 and run through to November 26. "We don't want to divert too much away from the developing world, so we'll do a short window," Bender said.

Mass production of the laptops is scheduled for October, with the first units landing in the hands of kids around the world in early November, he said. The initial run will generate 40,000 units and production will quickly double and then triple that capacity to meet demand, he said.

The original plan for the OLPC project was to create a laptop that would cost less than $100 (£50), but more recently the price has been pegged closer to $190 (£95). The $400 (£200) deal for two laptops includes some padding for the cost of sending one of the laptops to a remote location, Bender said.