OLPC has announced it has authorised mass production of the XO laptop, based on the release of the final Beta-4 engineering model.

OLPC’s XO B4 laptops claim to be among the most durable and innovative laptop computers ever designed and are designed for use by children in the developing world.

The machines are engineered to withstand the often harsh environmental conditions found in developing countries - from the dust and heat of the Libyan desert to the daily downpours of the Brazilian rainforests.

Unlike any other laptop on the market today, the XO features a sunlight-readable display that apparently compares to a paper-like reading experience.

In addition, the XO laptop can operate in areas without access to electricity and can generate power via pull cord, a solar panel, or a solar-powered multi-battery charger.

The B4 machines use less than one watt of power when being used as an e-book and can operate for more than 12 hours on its battery.

The B4 version now offers a faster, lower-power AMD processor: the Geode LX-700, 64KB I/64KB D of L1 Cache, 128KB of L2 Cache (vs. 32 KB of L1 cache), a faster processor and memory clock (433/333 vs. 366/266), more memory: 256MB of SDRAM (vs. 128 MB) and more NAND Flash: 1GB (vs. 0.5GB).

The B4 laptops will go through a final round of testing by developers, hardware experts, OLPC technical volunteers, and some of the pilot schools around the world already using the B2 machines.