The non-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) scheme, providing low-cost computers for education in developing countries, has accused computer chip maker Intel of damaging their project by introducing its own scaled-down, affordable laptop.
OLPC claims competition could drives prices up rather than down.
But Intel says it is helping the situation, writes Bobbie Johnson in this Guardian article.
Although often called the '$100 laptop', OLPC's XO-1 computer currently costs US$175 — though its makers are sure this can be reduced with mass production.
Intel's version, the Classmate, currently costs US$285 and has a faster processor and choice of operating system. OLPC claims the Classmate is deliberately under-priced.
In a war of words, Intel accused the XO-1 of being a 'gadget', whereas its model offers full PC functionality. OLPC hit back with claims that the power requirements of the Classmate simply aren't viable in many developing countries.
Regardless of technical comparisons, the fact remains that OLPC has received few definite orders. Interested countries such as Brazil, Nigeria, Pakistan and Thailand are now considering their options, and may choose to stick with Intel — a monopoly that is a known quantity.