xo laptop2

Remember that dual-touchscreen concept machine that the One Laptop Per Child folks were working on? Yeah, it’s toast. In a recent interview, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte told Xconomy that the team is killing off the XO-2 project and instead focusing on an XO Laptop version 1.75.

Concept image of the now-defunct XO-2 Laptop
Concept image: XO-2 Laptop

For anyone keeping track, the first XO Laptop had an AMD Geode processor. Version 1.5 had a faster VIA CPU. And the new XO 1.75 will basically look the same on the outside, but it will feature an ARM-based processor on the inside, which means that it won’t use an x86 chipset and won’t be capable of running Windows.

That’s not a huge problem, since the XO Laptop is designed to run Linux, but there had been a project to make the laptops available with Windows XP booting from a flash card.

The decision to scrap the ambitious XO-2 probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Earlier this year the organization got hit with some budget realities and had to reduce its staff significantly.

But that doesn’t mean Negroponte and friends aren’t still thinking big. While the dual-screen XO 2 isn’t going to happen, they’re already thinking about version 3.0 which could feature “a single sheet, completely plastic and unbreakable, waterproof, 1/4″ thick, full color, reflective and transmissive.” The goal is for the XO 3.0 to run on just 1W of power and cost $75. The team is shooting for a 2012 release. If that all sounds rather ambitious, that’s because it is. But so was the first XO laptop, which sparked the netbook revolution.

via OLPC News

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13 replies on “OLPC scraps XO-2 dual screen laptop, moves toward ARM-based XO-1.75”

  1. Everything the OLPC group does is related to politics; it is NEVER about tech, children, education, etc. When I say politcis I mean ‘board room’ politics and the typical ‘back-room backstabbing’ that you would have hoped would have never been an issue with these people.

    I have long since given up on OLPC doing anything worthwhile on any front.

    1. “Today more than a million children see the world in ways they would never have, and millions more will in coming months thanks to what Nicholas created”. quote from Mary Lou Jepsen on her blog at Pixel Qi

      See these videos to get the full picture of what was going on, and still is going on (first OLPC was designed by Mary Lou and her team). The highest and best goals of any project anywhere in the world, are still in place at OLPC and at those groups that came from OLPC.
      videos start at bottom at – http://bigthink.com/maryloujepsen

    2. So I take it you didn’t notice that they delivered XO? Started netbook revolution along the way? Were opposed along it by many major players in the industry? (could _they_ have been motivated by…politics? So much that not only they didn’t want something that could start what we call now netbook revolution, they activelly worked to prevent it)

  2. Let me see now, is there any signs here that OLPC is in touch with reality?

    *) I had high hopes that the OLPC project would generate better kernel support
    out of VIA (rather than losing the OLPC contract).
    Evidently that did not happen, they have dropped VIA

    *) The OLPC project had been looking to drop Redhat et. al. from being the system contractor.
    Hello, OLPC?
    Debian is dropping ARM support – Debian-5 (Lenny) will be the last version to support ARM, ARMel, ARMeb, ARMeabi.
    So choosing an ARM processor locks you into one of the *.rpm based distributions,
    I.E: Redhat et. al.

    Sure would be nice to know what the OLPC Executive Operating Committee
    members are smoking these days.

      1. I just re-read the post I had in mind, looks like I mis-read it;
        they are only dropping ARM (I.E: big endian) binary packages.

        And looking at the page data of that post, the text is from back
        in Feb. 2009. So it may well not be current.

        I suspect the best way to tell would be browse around their
        repository for SID (Debian-6) and see if the build system for ARM(eb)
        is still running. Feb. was a long time ago, things change.

        Their support of ARMel is only a few years old, I hope that one stays,
        I have some of those systems myself.

        1. With the amount of devices built around ARM that rely on embedded variants of Debian, dropping ARM support doesn’t sound very plausible…

          Also, is OLPC really dropping Via already or just saying that the _next_ version of XO will be based on ARM? (which would be IMHO better from the beginning anyway – they don’t need x86; they DO want long battery life)

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