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The Chavez likes Intel – but not Windows? (BBC)The BBC is reporting that Venezuela has ordered a million laptops “based on the Intel Classmate” in partnership with Portugal:

Venezuela is buying the portable computers as part of a $3bn (£1.66bn) bilateral trade deal with Portugal that also covers housing and utilities. Portugal is manufacturing the blue and white laptops under licence from Intel and are broadly based on the chip maker's design of its Classmate computer. [...]

The deal with Venezuela follows an agreement between Intel and Portugal, signed in August for Classmate machines.

Under that deal Portugal agreed to buy 500,000 machines to enable every six-to-10-year-old in the country to get one.

It sounds like this is an extension of Portugal's original tender for 500,000 laptops, but whether the hardware changed discussed are merely the same ones already mentioned or not is uncertain, but the article does hint that it will be further hardware-customized for Venezuela. The BBC article describes the modified Classmate as:

Dubbed Magalhaes (Magellan), the laptops will have on board low-power Intel Atom chips designed for laptops. They will also sport digital cameras and a broadband net connection.

It is somewhaimplied in the article that the Magellan won't have wifi on-board, but I can hardly imagine that is true. As for the software, the original Portugal deal made it clear that there would be a choice between Windows or Ubuntu Linux, and Sugar has been ported for the very similar Classmate 2. Venezuela is going to go their own way: "The machines will run a version of Linux developed in Venezuela."

It seems like they're going to an awfully lot of work to create an XO without buying them from OLPC.

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