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OLPC XO-2 Lowers Price by 50 Percent

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is aiming for a $75 price for its new version of OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) called XO-2. The program hopes to give a billion of the world’s poorest children a connected laptop computer.

OLPC’s current laptop sells for $188, but the new version will cut costs by using a touch sensitive keyboard which can double as a second display.

The new XO-2 will be slimmer and lighter than the original version which has sold 600,000 units. The XO-2 is scheduled to start production in 2010.

Using a virtual keyboard makes it customizable to any language or alphabet and will generate economy scales in the manufacturing process. The keyboard also allows it to be used for other purposes and can be viewed vertically, as an e-book, or horizontally.

XO-2 was unveiled by Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the Media Lab at MIT and founder and chairman of OLPC. Negroponte started OLPC in 2005.

Negroponte’s brother, John Negroponte, is the US deputy secretary of state and a former US ambassador to the UN and to Iraq.

OLPC has negotiated a price of $3 a copy with Microsoft to put Windows XP in the XO computers. The XO-1 originally came out with Linux running on an AMD processor. The XO-2 will have the option of running Linux or XP.