The race to supply low-cost laptop computers to students in developing nations has heated up: Within hours of the news that Uruguay had become the first nation to buy XO laptops from former MIT professor Nicholas Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization, Intel Corp. countered by unveiling deals with two African nations to purchase its Classmate PCs.

The dueling announcements underscore how competitive the global market has become for makers of educational technology.

Uruguay's government has placed the first official order for OLPC's so-called "$100 laptop," which now costs nearly $200, according to several news reports. The South American country

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