The new version of the XO laptop, which was designed for schoolchildren in developing countries, has been revealed.
The new computer, which is called the XO2, looks just like an e-book. It also has a significantly lower price of just $75 per device, which is at least $25 cheaper than the first version.
Nicholas Negroponte, who founded the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project that created this laptop, revealed the new version of the device at a special event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is thought that the first XO2 machines should be ready to deliver to children in developing countries by 2010.
At the event, Professor Negroponte said that he hoped other manufacturers would use the unusual design of the XO2, too. He said: "This laptop comes from a different point of view." He also added, "Over the last couple of years we've learned the book experience is key… It is a totally new concept for learning devices."
The XO2 doesn't feature the distinctive green rubbery keyboard of the first XO laptop, but it uses a single square display with a hinge instead. The hinge allows the device to be split into two separate touch screens, which can make the device look like a laptop with keyboard or the pages of a book.
The XO2 machine will also be more energy efficient than its predecessor, as well as being half the size of it and much lighter to carry.
Professor Negroponte said the new Laptop "will be a bit of a Trojan horse" and it will initially be promoted as an e-book reader that is able to store more than 500 e-books. He said: "Currently developing nations such as China and Brazil are spending $19 per student per year on books."
Many countries were initially reluctant to buy the original XO machines because they did not run on Microsoft's Windows operating system. However, One Laptop Per Child announced a deal with Microsoft to make Windows available on the XO machine in May. Professor Negroponte said that this would add to the machine's popularity, he said: "There is no question that demand goes up when you offer dual boot."
Although the One Laptop Per Child project has only sold about 600,000 XO laptops so far, Professor Negroponte said that he expected a further 400,000 orders in the next "60 to 90 days."
Professor Negroponte also announced that the project's Get-One-Give-One programme would soon open to people in North America and Europe. The scheme, which allows people in more affluent countries to buy two XO laptops and donate one to a child in a developing country, has already enabled One Laptop Per Child to distribute 30,000 laptops to children in Rwanda, Mongolia and Haiti.