Intel and Microsoft have inked a deal to supply Libya’s education ministry withh 150,000 of Intel’s Classmate PC laptop computers. The systems are designed for educational use in developing markets and compete with the One Laptop Per Child project; like the OLPC XO’s final pricetag, the Classmate PC costs about $200 to build.
According to Reuters, the deal was announced in the Libyan press in August, but Intel and Microsoft haven’t discussed the deal outside Libya. Intel spokesperson Agnes Kwan said neither Intel nor Microsoft are subsidizing the cost of the notebooks, but did not reveal how the country is paying for the notebooks.
The sale of 150,000 Classmate PCs to Libya would be Intel’s second-largest order for the systems since it began shipping the systems early this year. The Classmate PC’s largest buyer is Pakistan, which has ordered 700,000 of the units for its Allama Iqbal Open University. Intel also says Nigeria has signed on to order Classmate PCs; Intell installed 250 of the systems in a pilot project last year, and plans to donate 3,000 systems to schools across Nigeria over the next few years.
A year ago, Libya was mulling the purchase of OLPC notebooks for its school systems: initially, the country planned to buy a million notebooks, then cut its possible order to 500,000 systems. To date, no OLPC systems have shipped to Libya. However, earlier this month Uruguay has placed the first official order for the OLPC XO notebook, buying 100,000 of the units for children aged 6 to 12. The country may purchase another 300,000 systems to provide a machine to every child in the country by 2009.
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