While the first units were unpacked, turned on, and had many photos taken of them, Nick Negroponte was speaking in DC at the U.S. State Department's "Secretary's Open Forum" Wednesday morning. He summarized the OLPC project and goals, addressed some of the more common criticisms, and moved to questions from the room.
The OLPC laptop sitting on my 12" screen laptop
In the summary, a few new pieces of information shook out. Central America - from Mexico all the way to Panama, have joined forces and are making a combined purchase.
This approach dramatically reduces the risk exposure of any one country in making such a large purchase, and encourages (not to mention, formalizes) regional educational collaboration at not only the state level, but also potentially the school and child levels.
Hopefully more groups of countries (or even school districts within countries!) could take this idea up and work together to leverage the OLPC need for large scale orders with their own need for reduced risk and pilot programs.
Sadly, his prototype working model got caught in customs, so we in the audience only got to see the model. This is not always evident from the pictures of this, this thing is tiny! He did discuss some exciting developments in the mesh networking hardware, however.
As mentioned on the Laptop.org wiki, each laptop, even when closed, will serve as a router, helping to maintain the mesh network. More importantly, there will also be soda-bottle sized, solar-powered signal repeaters that can be nailed onto trees to allow children who live outside the area covered by the mesh to keep connected.
Update: The Inter-American Development Bank and OLPC have only agreed to support the development of new approaches to digital technology in Latin American and Caribbean education, not to actually purchase OLPC laptops.