Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday received a version of a US$100 laptop to be distributed nationwide, and 50 were expected to be tested in Brazilian schools beginning next week.
The low-cost computer was delivered to Silva by Nicholas Negroponte, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of the One Laptop Per Child nonprofit organization which aims to develop the machines for children worldwide.
"I can affirm to you that we are very close to producing a US$100 laptop," Silva said. "We are building together the dream of giving each school student a laptop like this to study and work."
The first 50 low-cost computers were expected to arrive in Brazil tomorrow for testing in schools nationwide, the official government news service Agencia Brasil said.
Negroponte said that all computer servers will be built in Brazil, and that about 1,000 laptops should be available for distribution as early as January.
"We are working on this project in at least three continents," Negroponte said.
"Our goal is to eliminate poverty with learning," he added.
Negroponte has also planned to begin distributing the laptops in Argentina, Nigeria and Thailand by early next year.
The project dovetails with Brazil's plan to launch a program to help millions of low-income families buy their first computer. The program would offer a 1,400 real (US$647) desktop model that could be paid for over 24 months.