Taiwan's Quanta Computer, the world's largest notebook manufacturer, will manufacture the low-cost laptop for children in the developing world.

The $100 laptop was eveloped by Nicholas Negroponte, the chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Media Lab.

Negroponte also chairs the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) non-profit group. He expects the laptops to be available to governments next year for just $100 each. A prototype was unveiled at the recent UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis.

Under terms of an agreement with OLPC, Quanta will devote engineering resources to develop the $100 notebook design during the first half of the year, according to a statement issued by the group. At the same time, Quanta and OLPC will explore the production of a commercial version of the laptop.

The first notebooks are expected to hit the market during the fourth quarter of next year, OLPC said, saying it expects initial orders for the machines to range from 5 million to 15 million units.

Trials are planned in China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, Nigeria, and Thailand, with 1 million notebooks to be shipped to each of these countries. In addition, OLPC expects "an additional modest allocation" of the notebooks to be shipped to developers in other countries.