The same US uni that began the One Laptop Per Child project has begun work on the $12 computer.

MIT is working on a computer - loosely based on Apple II machine dating back 30 years - and have recruited enthusiasts of the first mass produced PC to help.

Instead of the laptop form factor, this new device will be more like a desktop, but plug directly into a television. Web access could come via a mobile phone.

"My generation all had Apple IIs that we learned to type and play games on", MIT team member, 27-year-old Derek Lomas said.

"If we can get buy-in from programmers, we can develop these devices and give (Third World) schools Apple II computer labs like the ones I grew up with."

The OLPC Foundation's machine was always planned to cost just $100, but the final price for the XO machine is $188.