Beatle John Lennon is now trying to change the world with laptops. A new charity TV ad uses his voice and image to promote the work of the One Laptop Per Child Foundation.

In the commercial Lennon ‘says': "Imagine every child no matter where in the world they were could access a universe of knowledge.

"They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want.

"I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way.

"You can give a child a laptop and more than imagine, you can change the world."

One Laptop Per Child

The ad was made with the permission of his wife, Yoko Ono.

The One Laptop Per Child Foundation was started in 2005 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It started producing special XO laptops last year.

Costing around £140, the distinctive laptops are solar-powered.

OLPC XO laptop review

The Foundation's mission is "to create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future."

The laptops run the latest release of Sugar on a Linux-based Fedora Core operating system. (It will not dual-boot Windows and Linux, contrary to some reports.)

A smaller, cheaper 2.0 version, scheduled for release in 2010, in which dual touch screens will replace the keypad.

With its hinged dual display, the new £50 version could be used as a book, as a laptop with a touch-screen keypad, or as one continuous display when folded flat. "The display is going to get better and better, and it's key to the next generation," Nicholas Negroponte, founder of OLPC, said at the May 2008 launch event at the MIT Media Lab.

Lennon's estate was recently in court battling laptop maker Apple over its iTunes Music Store.

Lennon was murdered on December 8, 1980. The first commercially available portable computer didn’y appear until 1981. The Osborne 1 weighed 10.7kg, had no battery, a five-inch CRT screen and dual 5.25-inch single-density floppy drives. Later that year the first laptop-sized portable computer, the Epson HX-20, was announced, with LCD screen, rechargeable battery and even a calculator-size printer in a 1.6kg enclosure.

The first laptop using the now favoured clamshell design appeared in 1982. The GRiD Compass 1100 was purchased by NASA and the US military. The Gavilan SC, released a year later, was the first notebook marketed using the term "laptop".