Discussions are under way to put an Intel processor inside a version of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project's '$100 laptop' for children in developing countries, according to representatives from both parties.
"Intel, like a lot of other people, is more than welcome to try to design great silicon for this project and this mission, and we've been working with them to help them do exactly that," said Walter Bender, OLPC's president.
Despite its nickname, the OLPC's lime-green XO laptop actually costs $175. The first version of the machine runs on AMD's 433MHz Geode LX-700, an x86-architecture chip that is slow by the standard of mainstream processors but consumes little power and costs less.
OLPC is close to starting production of the XO. The group has already gone through four generations of test systems to refine the laptop's design. A production run of 300 machines was completed in August, a final preparatory step before the XO goes into mass production later this month or in early October.
While OLPC has yet to decide whether or not to use Intel processors, Intel confirmed its engineers are developing a motherboard based on one of its chips for an OLPC laptop. That process required the engineers to start from scratch, since the current XO design isn't based on Intel's chips.
"It requires a new design, a new product," said Leighton Phillips, the manager of Intel's World Ahead Program in Asia.
The design, which Intel plans to submit for OLPC's consideration, will be based on either existing mobile chips, such as modified versions of the Celeron M called A100 and A110, or Silverthorne, an upcoming processor designed for small, mobile computers.
The dual-core Silverthorne processor will be made using a 45-nanometre production process and will be available early next year in different versions.