Nicholas Negroponte’s vision to give every child in the developing nations a laptop is closer than ever to becoming reality. The Bangkok Post reported last week that testing of the $100 Laptop (part of the One Laptop Per Child program) is set to begin in Egypt, Nigeria, India, China, Thailand, Brazil and Argentina. The plan is to eventually sell the laptop to governments who will issue it to needy schoolchildren.

The One Laptop Per Child initiative was announced by Negroponte at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. The laptop has been designed to be Linux-based with a dual-mode display with four USB ports built into it. It is said to have a 500 MHz processor, 128MB of DRAM and 500 MB of Flash memory. The machine is cased in virtually indestructible hard plastic and has been redesigned to be pull string-powered generator rather than the hand-cranked generator which was a feature of the original prototype. Below is the first video demonstration of the working laptop.

The project has been criticized by Bill Gates, who was reported to have mocked the design of the laptop (specifically the size and the hand crank feature) at a Microsoft Government Leaders Forum earlier this year.