Nicholas Negroponte is drumming up more media hype about his One Laptop Per Child project, saying that the machines could reach users in developing countries by July.

Brazil, Argentine, Uruguay, Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan and Thailand have all ordered units, and Negroponte is assuring that the device receives press coverage and stays in the public eye by telling the AP that three African countries are expected to sign up in the next two weeks.

The notebook computer, which is now called the XO, runs on a 366MHz processor by AMD, has built in Wi-Fi connectivity, and contains on 512MB of flash memory. Its two USB ports are expected to be used if more storage is needed.

The OS is Linux-designed, and is called Sugar. Rather than storing data in folders, users will record activity in an electronic journal or log.

"In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint", Mr Negroponte said.

"I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing, not running office automation tools."