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Donate One Laptop per Child, Get One

Starting Monday, Nov. 12, Americans and Canadians will have the chance to add charity and innovation to holiday shopping lists. The One Laptop Per Child organization is offering the chance to purchase two XO laptops—one to be given to a child in the developing world, the other to keep or donate locally.

It's called "Give 1 Get 1" and the $399 offer is good for two weeks. The XO laptops are durable laptops designed for education and connecting kids in developing nations who have never worked with computers.

The One Laptop Per Child Organization has had verbal agreements from many developing country governments to purchase the laptops in bulk, but concrete, signed orders have not been as forthcoming as project founder and chairman Nicholas Negroponte had hoped. So the group has opened up the sale of the laptops from Nov. 12 to Nov. 26 to Americans and Canadians in an effort to spark worldwide sales. They will be delivered by Christmas.

The energy-efficient computers have high-resolution screens, cameras, and peer-to-peer wireless communication capability built in. They run on free open-source software. There are no moving parts—no CD or DVD drive, and no hard drive—just 1GB flash memory and a low-power processor so it can be easily maintained. It can be powered by solar energy, a foot pump, or pull-string powered chargers, and the screen is readable in full sunlight.

The New York Times reports that some members of the laptop project were understandably concerned that if American children were to use them, they would be highly critical when comparing them to Macs and PCs. But focus groups with kids ages 7 to 11 turned in high praise, so they moved ahead with the one-for-one program. For a good look at the XO laptop, check out David Pogue's review in the Times.

Affordable laptops for kids have been top of the news lately. Asus' $400 Eee PC is getting some good early reviews, while Intel announced its $400 flash-memory "Classmate PC" will be tested by the Brazilian government alongside OLPC's XO Laptop.

Whether families keep the second OLPC computer for their kids, Give 1 Get 1 is about the giving. "The main thing is to get this thing started," Negroponte says in the Times piece.

Interested? What would you do with the second laptop if you decide to make the $400 donation?

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