Intel inside $100 laptopIntel said Friday it will join the board of the One Laptop Per Child program and contribute funding to the project that created and is distributing the XO computers for education. This comes after Intel execs have been critical of the design and after they designed and promoted a competing child-focused portable, their $225 Classmate PC, which is a more conventional machine than the radically re-thought XO boxen.

Various sources have recently priced the simple Linux portables at $150-$175, each as a result of hardware upgrades, although the program said costs should reach the $100 goal soon and drop further in short order thereafter. Those would make a dandy e-book reader and put further price pressure on Sony’s e-book readers.

The XO machines now use AMD CPUs. AMD reps said “Intel’s apparent change of heart is welcome, and we’re sure they can make a positive contribution to this very worthy project for the benefit of children all over the world.”

Does this alliance presage a move to put Intel inside the hundred dollar laptop?