Microsoft announced a second country is piloting the use of One Laptop Per Child's XO laptop in conjunction with Windows XP.
The deal, announced with the state government of Cundinamarca, will see the laptops put in two schools, including the Santa Maria Del Rio primary school. That school, which just got its first computer lab, will now get additional PCs with the software training and infrastructure donated by Microsoft and the laptops themselves coming from One Laptop Per Child.
Microsoft announced in September that Peru was the first country to sign up for the Windows-on-XO option.
That the Windows version of the OLPC machine is headed to Colombia is not a surprise, given that Microsoft quoted Colombian officials in its initial announcement that it was bringing Windows to the XO laptop.
"Transforming education is a fundamental goal of Microsoft Unlimited Potential, our ambitious effort to bring sustained social and economic opportunity to people who currently do not enjoy the benefits of technology," Microsoft senior VP (and Colombian native) Orlando Ayala said in a statement. "Along with the State of Cundinamarca and OLPC, we are delivering a complete, relevant and affordable educational computing solution to schoolchildren in Colombia that will enhance their learning environment and prepare them for the global workforce."
The One Laptop Per Child effort started as a solidly Linux affair, but the project got a lot of feedback about offering a Windows option from countries that said they believe it's important for students to learn the operating system that dominates in business.
Over time, OLPC hopes to offer a version that can boot in either Linux or Windows, though today countries have to choose one version or the other.
As part of my trip to Colombia and Brazil earlier this year, I had a chance to see what it can mean for a school to get its first computers as well as the power when each student has their own laptop, as was the case at the Bradesco Foundation school in Campinas, Brazil.
I also recently took a look at the Windows version of the XO laptop, and more importantly, had an 8-year-old put it through its paces. Here's a video that includes her thoughts and mine.