A budget laptop aimed at bringing computing to underdeveloped societies has begun mass production. Dubbed the '$100 laptop' after its target cost, the laptop might not quite have reached the level in terms of its actual $180 price point. but the first laptops from the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) organisation have been in the hands of children since last year. However, the programme has sometimes attracted attention for the wrong reasons .

"This is a big step for us," the organisation's Walter Bender, told BBC News .

The green and white machines were first mooted five years ago. Intel chief Craig Barrett ridiculed the machine before his corporation unveiled a rival, the Classmate PC. Intel has now joined the OLPC programme.

Back in March the project confirmed that one million of its notebook computers for children in the developing world have been ordered. It has shipped 2,500 test units since then.

OLPC and Intel have said they will collaborate over the technology as well as the content supplied on the laptops. Intel also says it will sit on the board of OLPC. "Joining OLPC is a further example of our commitment to education over the last 20 years and our belief in the role of technology in bringing the opportunities of the 21st century to children around the world," said Paul Otellini, Intel CEO.

OLPC set out to bring the $100 laptops to children in developing countries and has gained widespread recognition for its efforts. However, in May the founder of OLPC slammed Intel for attempting to undermine the not-for-profit organisation's efforts.