One of the leading lights of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) aid organisation says a more expensive variant could be available for public purchase by Christmas. According to Reuters , chief technology officer, Mary Lou Jepsen, said a $350 (£170) variant could be available, though Jepsen says it could charge more for the device.

Such a release would pose an interesting problem for the established PC giants, but the machine would only be good enough for the most basic of online use and word processing.

The OLPC project has received much publicity recently - yesterday the organisation announced it was going into mass production with the devices intended for use by classrooms in underdeveloped societies. However, the organisation also had to defend itself against criticism when it was found Nigerian children had been browsing porn on early versions of the device.