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Acer dishing out 16,400 cheap OLYMPIC laptops to schools

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Acer plans to flog 500 "Olympic" laptops to school children in North East London after the Games close.

The Taiwanese firm has also promised that the other 15,900 computers they put into London 2012 will be packaged up and sent into schools around the UK.

The PCs were used for everything from planning athletes' travel to supporting broadcasters zinging out footage of the dressage to the world, but in their new lives will be turned to crunching tasks like Year 6 maths homework, as part of a one-child, one-computer programme.

The 500 laptops will be given out in partnership with the e-Learning Foundation charity and will go to eight local primary schools in the "Olympic boroughs" with a small number also going to Great Ormond Street Children's hospital.

The laptops will be wiped and refurbed by Acer then sold to schools at 17 per cent of their normal price: £145 each with a 12 month Acer guarantee. The laptops are Travelmate 6593Gs which normally sell to consumers for £827. The special "Used in the Olympics" stickers seem to get thrown in for free.

But the Taiwanese vendor could have bagged itself a Gold medal if it had given them away for free.

Acer have provided 13,500 desktops and 2,900 notebooks to the Olympics and UK education manager Colin MacFarlane said these were going out to schools too, on similar deals.

"They have been offered for sale with extended Acer warranties and taken up by schools throughout the UK via Econocom who are the lease partner of LOCOG," he told The Register.

In the North East London scheme, each primary school will choose a year group and hand out the PCs to each child in that year, said eLearning Foundation Marketing Manager Jim Cooper:

"There were a limited number that were available post Olympics, it wasn't going to satisfy the whole need of the school," he said, so the school had to come up with ideas of how to build the computers into educational programmes.

Cooper said the the high cost of technology can disadvantage children who can't afford them: eLearning aims to narrow the digital divide by giving computers to kids who can't afford them. ®

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