OLPC initiative unveils next gen hardware

James Middleton

May 22, 2008

2 Min Read
OLPC initiative unveils next gen hardware

Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative, which is focused on delivering educational tools to children in emerging markets, has unveiled a future roadmap for its device.

This week the OLPC team announced that it is working on a second generation version of its XO laptop computer, which will make more use of advanced technology and promises a cheaper price point.

The next version of the ultra portable device promises a target price of $75, although it should be noted that the original target price for the generation one XO, $100, has not yet been reached. Currently the price stands at $188, suggesting the XO-2 still has some way to go.

Also on the roadmap is lower power consumption, down from 2-4 watts to just 1 watt, and a smaller footprint. OLPC reckons it can make the device the size of a book and combine it with a dual screen display, like the Nintendo DS, to eliminate the hardware keyboard and allow for a multitude of input methods. “Younger children will be able to use simple keyboards to get going, and older children will be able to switch between keyboards customized for applications as well as for multiple languages,” the organisation said.

The first generation XO laptop went into production in November 2007, and there are approximately 600,000 units in deployment in a number of countries including Peru, Uruguay, Mongolia, Haiti, Rwanda, Mexico, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the US and Canada.

However, the project has, to a degree, been stifled by politics and the non-profit OLPC organisation has had run ins with firms like Microsoft and Intel, which are keen to push their own low cost, ultra mobile devices for similar reasons.

In a controversial decision earlier this month, the OLPC decided to offer the option of having Microsoft Windows XP installed on the device instead of the acclaimed open source software platform originally developed for the XO, Sugar.

The move caused the former president of software and content at One Laptop per Child to resign and launch Sugar Labs, to focus on development of the Linux-based platform.

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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