backtop


Print 38 comment(s) - last by fox12789.. on Dec 30 at 9:33 AM


The XO-3 tablet concept promises a different vision of computing  (Source: OLPC)
Even poor kids need faster computing

Over the last five years, the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project has sought to develop and distribute a low-cost and rugged computer to children around the world in a bid to raise global standards of living. The non-profit organization successfully developed the XO-1, and has distributed over 1.4 million of the netbooks for less than $200 each.

“The first version of OLPC’s child-centric laptop, the XO, is a revolution in low-cost, low-power computing. The XO has been distributed to more than 1.4 million children in 35 countries and in 25 languages,” said Nicholas Negroponte, the founder and Chairman of One Laptop per Child.

Mass production of the XO-1 first started in November 2007. Computer technology has made significant advances over the last two years, and the XO-1 is getting long in the tooth. The XO-1 features an AMD Geode CPU running at 433MHz, 256MB of DDR DRAM, and 1GB of SLC NAND flash memory for storage. A 7.5-inch screen with a 1200x900 resolution is used. Wireless networking is enabled by a chip from Marvell, while a built-in camera, microphone, and speakers add functionality. A variety of battery choices are available. The XO-1 only uses 2W to run.

The OLPC project will introduce a new XO-1.5 in January 2010 using the same basic design. However, it will drop AMD in favor of a VIA C7-M Ultra Low Voltage CPU which will double operating speed. DRAM will be increased to 1GB, while 4GB of flash memory will be the standard, with an option for 8GB. It will be capable of running Windows and Linux, and is targeted for a $200 price.

Two other designs have been added to the OLPC roadmap. The XO-1.75 is currently targeted for the $150 mark and an early 2011 launch. The design will be updated, with rubber-bumpers on the outside for added shock protection. A new 8.9-inch touch-sensitive display will be used. The project is working with Marvell on integrating a new ARM processor that will double speeds while cutting power consumption by 75%. This ARM-based system will complement the x86-based XO-1.5, which will continue to remain in production to give deployments a choice of processor platform.

The XO-3.0 is being developed for 2012 at a target price of less than $100. It will feature a new tablet design using a single sheet of flexible plastic, and will supposedly be unbreakable. The XO 3.0 will leapfrog the XO-2.0, a concept approach that the OLPC project decide not to pursue.

“To fulfill our mission of reaching 500 million children in all remote corners of the planet, OLPC will continue to innovate in design and performance. Because we are a non-profit, we hope that industry will copy us,” Negroponte added.

The XO-1 helped to establish that low-cost netbooks could be functional and affordable, and helped push Intel into developing the Atom. Former OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen left the project to form Pixel Qi, a fabless firm which designs and and markets energy-saving screens that are readable in daylight. There is no word yet on which OLPC netbooks will use the technology, but Pixel Qi just entered mass production of its first 10.1 screens for use with new Pine Trail netbooks, and its future screens  are rumored to be used in Apple's tablet computer.

Walter Bender's Sugar interface has also been spun off. Originally designed for the OLPC project,  it is now being developed by Sugar Labs and is available for free under a GNU General Public License.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Don't sell your tools!
By bravenewworld on 12/24/2009 4:15:02 AM , Rating: 2
I believe the success of each child using one of these OLPCs depends on how the child and family view it.

If viewed as tool for learning skills that can lead to a job, and food for the family, they could have tremendous success.

If viewed as a toy to while away their time with. perhaps the parents will tell them to stop playing with the PC and get to work so we can eat.

I can also envision some families trying to sell the PC, legally, or on the blackmarket, if their gov. prohibits sale. This way they can turn a profit to spend the money on things that more directly help them get out of poverty. (seeds, farming equipment, other tools)

The unfortunate thing is that some of these PC's may be used to help give rise to more third world scammers similar to the Nigerians.

The bigger concern for other 2nd and 1st world nations is that there will shortly be an even larger base of potential 'Tech savvy' young people, ready to staff the jobs the jobs those other countries thought they had a vise grip hold on.

One example:
One Spanish speaking Tech support employee in the US, could possibly be replaced by lets say 5-7 Peruvian Techs, at near the same cost. (Made up costs, based on exchange rates)
If the US based client speaks Spanish, or the client is in say Mexico, or Chile, they will not have the same problems we currently have communicating with our outsourced foreign Tech support.
Although the example Spanish speakers I listed have some differently used words, they can understand each other much better than the average American that calls an Indian Tech support call center.




RE: Don't sell your tools!
By jdietz on 12/27/2009 12:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
You can't save the world with a computer.
For example, to "feed the family" in a western sense takes expensive farm equipment and fertilizer as well as a computer. You need arable land too, which is in short supply in Africa. Just a computer won't help.


"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki