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OLPC's XO-3 Prototype Tablet Coming In 2010

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the price-is-right dept.

Displays 148

itwbennett writes "During an interview Tuesday at the MIT Media Lab, OLPC project founder Nicholas Negroponte said that the group will have a working prototype of the XO-3 tablet by December of this year. 'At CES [2011] we will show a tablet that can be and will be used for children probably in the developed world,' Negroponte said. 'You'll see from us, God willing, an ARM tablet,' he said. 'The screen area will probably be a 9-inch diagonal, maybe more.' The most important feature will be a dual-mode display that will allow it to be used indoors and outdoors. Price: $75."

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What's the problem with keyboards? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32364354)

What's the problem with keyboards? Since tablets seem to be very consumer-ey, isn't removing the keyboard from the OLPC contrary to the aims of the project?

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32364524)

As far as cost savings go, a capacitive touchscreen membrane isn't too expensive.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364536)

What's the problem with keyboards? Since tablets seem to be very consumer-ey, isn't removing the keyboard from the OLPC contrary to the aims of the project?

They are just hedging their bets. If you don't know who you're selling your product to, you have to be open to a wide variety of customer tastes.

we will show a tablet that can be and will be used for children probably in the developed world

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (5, Insightful)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364562)

I can't say for sure that this is their thinking, but using an on screen keyboard allows for all of your localization to be done in software instead of having to make different keys for areas that use different character sets.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (3, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364704)

along with eliminating all the areas where dirt and water can muck things up. A tablet has all the same sealing issues as the top portion of the existing XO and eliminates all the sealing areas of the lower keyboard, touchpad, and hinge areas.

What it may be missing is a screen protector and in harsh outdoors environments, the lower keyboard area makes a great screen protector. So I hope they include a screen protector as an integral part of the tablet device.

LoB

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (4, Informative)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365026)

You obviously have little experience with what sand, dirt, grit and hands can do to a screen. If anything the screen is the bigger problem. There's really no such thing as "scratchproof" material and the issue with touchscreens is it makes the problem far far worse by encouraging users to grind in the dirt and muck up the screen. If anything, a keyboard is less of a problem. Membrane switches are very durable and can deal with dirt and grime much more easily.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (5, Funny)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365216)

Obviously they should keep the keyboard and eliminate the screen then, right?

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (2, Funny)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365656)

> Obviously they should keep the keyboard and eliminate the screen then, right?

Actually use an iPad for awhile and get back to us.

Those screens quickly get mucked up.

Even the drones at the Apple store will freely admit this while they tell you that they don't have any screen covers. ...makes you wonder if Starfleet is like Monk when it comes to hand washing.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366506)

Here let me Google [lmgtfy.com] that for you.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366604)

Wow, you really have deep and emotional issues with Apple. Practically every post you make just drips with hatred and frustration.

It's just a company that makes computer stuff. Get over it.

PS screen covers are available for the iPad

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368742)

Even the drones at the Apple store will freely admit this while they tell you that they don't have any screen covers.

Really? I found this [amazon.com] in 2 seconds.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

michaelwigle (822387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366478)

You mean like this [humanware.com] ?

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367516)

You obviously missed the article way back about the sapphire monitors...

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (2, Insightful)

neorush (1103917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366212)

I use a $2.99 hard plastic screen cover on my iPod Touch, it gets scratched after 2 or 3 months and I replace it, the underlying screen is still flawless, and I throw it around pretty carelessly. It would be pretty trivial to design a protection scheme for a screen like this, much easier than replacing worn keys.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365422)

There might another bonus:

keyboards can't grow with children's hands! Sure, there are three directions of change - not only 1) the hands grow, also 2) precision and profficiency of child grows and 3) strenght available for typical key press gets bigger; that still means keyboards for wide spectrum of kids have to be a compromise, probably.

UI on a tablet, not so much of a problem. It can grow with child, not only when it comes to physical size of the elements. Plus touchscreens are sensitive enough that registering presses of youngest kids won't be a problem.

BTW, perhaps building into the device also a...vibrator would be good? (plenty of cheap ones should be available, from fabs supplying mobile phone makers) That's always some haptic feedback (possibly better than on the rubber keyboard of XO-1)

Growing things (3, Funny)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367906)

keyboards can't grow with children's hands!

I dunno, if they can grow human ears on the backs of mice [wikia.com] , I don't know why it wouldn't be possible to grow a keyboard together with a spare set of hands, or find a way to grow hands out of a keyboard.

Potentially kinda kinky, though. I'm not sure I want to think too much about where you'd go with that.

Cheers,

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

FalcDot (1224920) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365678)

Feh, just give each kid one of these [artlebedev.com] instead. Can't add too much to the cost, right?

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364566)

What's the problem with keyboards? Since tablets seem to be very consumer-ey, isn't removing the keyboard from the OLPC contrary to the aims of the project?

This is an additional product, it doesn't replace the laptop in OLPC. Remember that tablets are not a replacement for laptops/netbooks, though they do share subset of similar functionality.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (3, Informative)

jekewa (751500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364702)

If you want a keyboard, plug it in the USB port or connect it with Bluetooth, tablet willing...

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366372)

If you want a keyboard, plug it in the USB port or connect it with Bluetooth, tablet willing...

The XO is meant for kids. In punishing third-world environments. It is supposed to be self-contained. It is supposed to be cheap. Standardized. No extraneous parts to be lost or broken. Energy efficient.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

jekewa (751500) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366522)

Understood and agreed.

Guessing AC isn't one of those, though, as he wants a $75 laptop instead of a tablet. Instead of a tablet of any kind, I'd guess.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (2, Insightful)

timothy (36799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364972)

I like keyboards, too, but ...

- a lot easier to add a keyboard (wireless via bluetooth, either with a dongle or internal; wireless w/ IR, if IR is available; wired via USB) than to turn a laptop into a tablet.

- Even w/ the OLPC XO's sealed keyboard, it's one point of failure avoided in a tablet-style computer.

- Tablet shape is more versatile in using a computer for (who knows?) virtual music stand, or impromptu video camera (note: offer void in Pennsylvania), or drawing device.

- Better shape, IMO, as a reading device, too. Reading on a laptop is pretty awkward, IMO, and I do it more than I should.

timothy

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365144)

Touchscreens is good for children, at least this is targetted at them, And keyboards and touchscreens in traditional notebook schemes adds fragility to it if you have to continually push the screen. Foldable keyboards, netvertibles and similar schemes enables you to have touchscreen having the keyboard available but not forced to stay in the middle.

Anyway, they add cost, moving parts, and complexity. If doing right the keyboards put costs too high maybe would be better to not add them at all, leaving open the possibility of using external ones.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365178)

Tablets can be much more effectively sealed against the elements, should be useful in many places; probably also cheaper to make. Plus the plan is not to replace XO-1 (or "XO-1.75", also ARM based; they schould have done so from the beginning), only supplant it.

Generally, with $75 this should make any "buy2get1" interesting. Or if they won't manage to do 75 (perhaps at least sub-100 is likely), that should at least put some nice pressure on consumer products; exactly what happened with XO-1 -> netbooks.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32366154)

I don't understand why they don't just give the children kin [kin.com] phones. I think they would find them excellent devices to learn on and that they would find the social networking features much more relevant than whatever this XO could provide. Honestly, I think that using the ARM processor in the XO is simply a thinly disguised ploy to attempt to lock Windows 7 and MS out of this market. Microsoft is the standard on computers. Why stunt these children's development by giving them substandard toy computers? I think Negroponte should be ashamed of himself for duping these people with whatever LUnix crap he's putting on these PC's. I hope MS sues him for the 278 patents that are in Loonix, bankrupts the OLPC organization and shuts them down.

Re:What's the problem with keyboards? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367016)

Assuming the tablet were equipped with a decent resistive touch sensitive screen then I don't see it necessarily as a loss. The student can write on the pad instead. It would have to be resistive because capacitive touch screens would be utterly useless in that regard.

Suck it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32364356)

bitches

Sell outs (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364380)

I realize they had lofty goals, but to see them fail so utterly in their mission takes away most of their credibility. The whole point was to bring computers to the developing world and break vendor lock in.

Re:Sell outs (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364422)

The project definitely seems to be lacking in focused leadership, but... how, exactly, does that make them "sell outs", as opposed to just incompetent?

Re:Sell outs (4, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364542)

They changed the machines to include windows and partnered with Intel. Once they started discussions with MS, i lost all respect for the project as that was what the whole idea was supposed to be against. The way OLPC was billed in the beginning was a rugged linux computer with all open sourced software to avoid software vendor lock in. AT least thats what i took away from the initial OLPC discussions.

Re:Sell outs (2, Informative)

foxharp (1048608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365008)

while there have been trials of Windows-based XO laptops, there are zero major deployments using windows. there are 1.5 miliion laptops being used, today, somewhere in the world. and they all run linux.

Re:Sell outs (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367642)

The big problem isn't that it was capable of running Windows- it was that the machine was MODIFIED to be able to use XP and wasted energy and effort trying to do THAT particular task instead of worrying about the original design goals.

They're guilty of the sin of Feature Creep and they did it to suit Microsoft and Intel, when they clearly didn't have ANYTHING to give back into the project and did all of what they DID do because it was all cutting into their market and nothing else.

Re:Sell outs (4, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365022)

but like so many muggles out there, Negroponte believed the crap Microsoft was telling him. He, and others, also believed that Intel would be interested in helping with the project when in fact, technologically they had nothing to help him with. Intel processors are not the most energy efficient and even after years of "new" mobile processor work, they still are no where near what the RISC designs for power and performance.

Negroponte was sucked into thinking his technical people were Linux and open source fanatics by the very people who were out to stop the project because it gutted their profit margins for existing products.

So it sounds like he's now seen the light but at what cost? Years have been lost and many who were behind the project left it because of the ignorance of yet another 'business' type guy believing the crap Microsoft tells them. He couldn't even figure it out that there was only one or two Microsoft guys working on Windows on the XO and not much of anything like a team and just the memory footprint Windows required should have been enough to know it was a joke.

But who knows, maybe a <$100 tablet with all the Sugar and spice of the original XO but running on a cool ARM Cortex a8 or even a9 processor might get things moving again. I'm not sure about Android though since Sugar has lots going for it as a platform for educational software.

LoB

Reality check (3, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366166)

but like so many muggles out there, Negroponte believed the crap Microsoft was telling him.

OLPC was sold as a take-it-or-leave-it package deal to the third world education minister.

The hardware. The software. Linux, FOSS and SUGAR.

The constructivist philosophy of education - the classroom without a teacher, to simplify things drastically.

The education minister wasn't buying into any of this.

The push for Windows and Office came from him.

Deployment of the XO beyond Central and South America was and remains insignificant, with the sole exception of Rwanda - and that came a year after dual-booting XP and MS Office became an option.

Total confirmed deployment is about 1.3 million units. One Laptop Per Child [wikipedia.org] [Summary of laptop orders}

   

Re:Reality check (2, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368616)

you forgot to mention how Gates and Ballmer went globe-trotting around the world to all the countries who knew what the OLPC was and required and still signed MOU's. Just look for the timing of a deal with Egypt and how they welcomed Negroponte when he came back knocking on their door. Hint: They asked 'does it run Windows' while they held a big fat check behind their back for millions of dollars and having Microsoft's signature on it.

I won't go into how much did or didn't have to do with a constructionist philosophy of education. From what I've seen of initial deployments, teachers were very much a part of it all but some where afraid the kids would learn more about the devices and software than the teachers. It's a sad world when educator are fearful of devices because the children will learn more about them than the adult educators.

And anyone tied to education who thinks that education must be tied to MS Windows and MS Office is lacking in his/her own education. Even Microsoft exec's will tell you 'it's the applications stupid'.

LoB

Re:Sell outs (2, Insightful)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367674)

They changed the machines to include windows and partnered with Intel. Once they started discussions with MS, i lost all respect for the project as that was what the whole idea was supposed to be against. The way OLPC was billed in the beginning was a rugged linux computer with all open sourced software to avoid software vendor lock in. AT least thats what i took away from the initial OLPC discussions.

The OLPC project is not about a rugged Linux computer with all open source software: it's about education and empowerment through the use of technology. Essentially it's Alan Kay's Dynabook: a project which predates Linux, Open Source, the Free Software Foundation and indeed Laptops. Open Source technology made OLPC possible (by empowering the devs to strip and rejig down the whole OS themselves), the Free Software ideology was a snug fit to the project's aims and Linux was the most sensible choice for OS since it kept down the amount of work that was needed to get it up and running. Being rugged was obviously a requirement, but in fact the idea of a laptop seems to have held back adoption: as a laptop the XO-1 looks like a low horsepower model with a few fancy bits on the side (sunlit screen, Wifi mesh, fancy battery, etc.). However it's actual usage is meant to resemble that of a book, which it beats in many respects (storage, interactivity, Internet/mesh updates, long-distance collaboration, etc.). That's why the XO-2 designs were meant to resemble a book, since electronic books had fewer preconceptions (in the days when One Laptop Per Child and the $100 laptop were named, before the Kindle et al). This tablet idea is (probably) a more realistic design which eliminates the complications of a hinge and (cynically) trying to jump on the iPad bandwagon.

As far as I understand it, Windows was offered due to requests from countries that were approached. The small size, bright colours, rubber keyboard and "ear" antennas apparently make the XO-1 look like a toy (which is bad for children how?) and 'therefore not a real computer' in the opinion of many government people who were in charge of buying into the program or not. The test of whether something is a 'real' computer seemed to be (in the eyes of those government types) whether it runs Microsoft Office, which requires Windows and thus without Windows support many countries refused to commit. Of course, as others have said, nobody seems to have bought any with Windows anyway.

As far as the "selling out" goes, as far as I'm concerned it's an x86 architecture, potential customers created a demand for Windows, Microsoft got their developers to implement it, so to *not* offer Windows would be a questionable position. The spec was supposedly upped to support Windows (RAM doubled to 256MB) but I've read from those involved that actually Sugar was becoming rather fatter than they initially thought. Since it's the "Children's Laptop 1", not the "What the Government Thinks 1" there has been a port of Sugar to Windows so that the educational value of that interface won't be lost to any kids who are unfortunately given Windows. By living in Sugar, which is *very* self-contained (doesn't even allow access to the filesystem) the ideology and "view sourceness" can be kept for as much of the stuff that can be interacted with as possible, which is making the most of a tough choice rather than "selling out" IMHO.

Partnering with Intel was also not so much a sell out action, as a survival tactic. Intel were absolute c*nts to the project, most likely simply because it uses (AMD) Geode processors and not Intel's. Not only did Intel try to undercut the OLPC charity by selling a (technically inferior) rival product for below cost, but there are reports of Intel representatives shadowing those from OLPC so that each government the latter contacted about joining the scheme would, a couple of weeks later, be contacted by Intel and told to ditch it either in favour of Classmate or even just altogether. This was done via FUD, spreading the "not a real computer because it doesn't run Windows" myth, since Windows was the Classmate's only "advantage". OLPC recognised that this FUD and undermining from Intel was the biggest problem they were having, Negroponte publicly spoke out about it and Intel then joined OLPC's board of directors to save face on their part, and for OLPC to try and stop the crap they had to wade through. Apparently Intel didn't stop though ( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/05/technology/05laptop.html [nytimes.com] ) and thus OLPC asked them to leave.

I know a lot of Linuxy, Open Sourcey and Free Softwarey types see the XO as a project mainly about Linux, Open Source and Free Software respectively, but in reality they're just extra bonus features which happen to get a load more developers on board. The lack of vendor lock-in is an extra bonus feature of those three things. I don't think this is a bad thing, as the children should come first and a Windows XO is better than no XO, so if Windows support gets the sales then there's nothing wrong with admitting that Microsoft have got Windows working on it (it works for Apple after all).

Unfortunately us Free Software folk have terribly short attention spans, and the emergence of the netbook market has led many of us to move on to faster-specced machines and leave behind the 'cool, cheap laptop' which attracted us to the OLPC project, which unfortunately has meant leaving the other, more central, ideas of the project too. Personally I've kept up my optimism an try to help out where I can. My XO (Give One Get One) has been doing an excellent job as my laptop for a while, after yum installing seamonkey, mrxvt and xpdf (to get filesystem access), and I'm sure kids who haven't grown up with ubiquitous computing like I have, who don't take computers and 'Net access for granted, see their XOs in an even better light than I see mine :)

Re:Sell outs (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364538)

What has changed? The software stack is still entirely open, as are the designs. This time, they're using an ARM chip, which they should have done from the start, rather than trying to keep the possibility of running Windows open.

Re:Sell outs (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364746)

>...they're using an ARM chip...

With Windows CE, no doubt.

Re:Sell outs (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365090)

Negroponte said it would be running Linux. I think he finally figured out that Microsoft sucks and they don't tell the truth or at least the truth we are familiar with. All he has to do is open his eyes to what's gone on in the smartphone market where the not stuff is running a form of *nix under the hood and not Windows. Or talk to Dell or HP about how poor Windows CE is as a platform OS and how resource expensive Windows 7 is.

It sounds like he learned his mistake having listened to Microsoft instead of his own technical group. I sure hope so.

LoB

Re:Sell outs (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365386)

> Negroponte said it would be running Linux.

He said that once before.

Re:Sell outs (1)

foxharp (1048608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365520)

and it was true then, too. i've heard of one very small trial in which windows was used on the XO. the other 1.5 million XO laptops all run fedora.

Re:Sell outs (1)

foxharp (1048608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365500)

no, definitely not with windows, or windows ce. not a chance.

Re:Sell outs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32367726)

With Windows CE, no doubt.

Considering that Windows CE is only Windows really in name and that most of the applications on the WinCE machine don't compare to anything in the Linux/Sugar/Android/MeeGo space... It's not as compelling a selling point. The main reason that the ministers wanted Windows had NOTHING to do with educational items and more to do with the ability to run Windows on a 'cheap machine' for them.

Re:Sell outs (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365412)

I reckon OLPC tied their legs together by not releasing a commercial variant. Something using the same hardware but in a configuration that appealed to private use. VTech or someone could have sold a branded version in toy shops. OLPC could even have sold a configuration to adults. They would have made money to fund the educational version and also brought down volume prices.

But they didn't and Asus et al ate their lunch.

Now they have another chance with this tablet. Who wouldn't be interested in a $150 tablet if it were running Android or soemthing? I wonder if OLPC will seize the opportunity or whether history will repeat itself.

Really? No, seriouslly? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32364386)

This failing turd of a project is still around? Netbooks have made this project even less useful than it was at the beginning.

Time to move on. Save the CPR for something useful.

Re:Really? No, seriouslly? (3, Informative)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365162)

have you tried reading much of anything in full sunlight outside using a netbook? And what about mesh networking, drop tests and all the other engineering which makes the XO more than just a little computer.

you've obviously never understood what the original requirements for the OLPC project was. Google for how Intel loaded up a classroom with their little ClassmatePC netbooks and then had to go back and drop a large diesel generator outside the classroom so the kids could use the devices throughout the day.

OLPC XO is not a netbook.

LoB

mesh networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365282)

speaking of mesh networks:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netsukuku
i hope it will work on wlan cards. the XO used 802.11s I don't know what makes the "s" special for meshing if the above is true.

Re:Really? No, seriouslly? (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365610)

Or describing some of the desing criteria shortly: OLPC XO is an inexpensive variant of...Toughbook.

BTW, screens essentially from the XO are perhaps finally coming also to some netbooks, via Pixel Qi (PQ also seems to start supplying them to tablets in general of course; and will do it for XO-3)

Re:Really? No, seriouslly? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367766)

Heh... That's even inaccurate, even though it does a better job of things than many have in the past. A Toughbook fails on power endurance and sunglight display function compared to an XO-1

Re:Really? No, seriouslly? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365510)

OLPC XO-1 is the thing that largely brought you netbooks & cheap ultraportables in the first place.

Now, as far as consumer markets are concerned, they might be doing this with tablets. Publicly showing PR drones what's their proper price range.

Re:Really? No, seriouslly? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365754)

> OLPC XO-1 is the thing that largely brought you netbooks & cheap ultraportables in the first place.

Rubbish.

Moore's law is what brought us netbooks and cheap ultraportables.

The march of technology is what turns a $2000 vaio into a $400 vaio.

Moore's law was turning Amigas into PalmPilots long before it occured to Negroponte to try and be the world's benefactor.
 

Re:Really? No, seriouslly? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365982)

You have short memory. When was the time that Intel introduced first netbook design / first cheap ultraportable? (not relying much on proper application of Moore's law too - they simply quickly threw together a bit old at that point, and not fully adequate, tech)

Re:Really? No, seriouslly? (2, Informative)

foxharp (1048608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365564)

there are 1.5 million kids out there using OLPC laptops. for example, every elementary school kid in uruguay has an XO. i'm having trouble seeing the failure in this.

Re:Really? No, seriouslly? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366540)

there are 1.5 million kids out there using OLPC laptops. for example, every elementary school kid in uruguay has an XO. i'm having trouble seeing the failure in this.

Deployment of the XO beyond Central and South America is almost non-existent. Rwanda is the only real success story.

Re:Really? No, seriouslly? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367146)

So Central and South America do not count?
Those kids do not need these laptops?

dual-mode display (2, Informative)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364444)

This seems like a wonderful idea. My handheld GPS [garmin.com] has one of these -- it can function with a backlight in the dark just fine, but turn the backlight off, take it outside, and it's a perfectly readable, color display which draws hardly any power.

Re:dual-mode display (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365802)

While your device has probably quite "ordinary" transflective screen (which is good at what it does, don't get me wrong) - this new screen is most likely very noticeably better.

Check out pics from the blog of its manufacturer [pixelqi.com] (essentially they also made the screen for XO-1). Or look up videos on Youtube - a lot of them depicting early, still unoptimised prototypes from a year ago; shot by very visibly amateur 3rd party videographers during trade shows (yes, outside), and the screen still looks fabulous. One tablet announced some time ago ("Adam"?...) also uses it IIRC; and we should see quite a bit of new products at Computex soon.

Re:dual-mode display (1)

squish (64334) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366584)

> One tablet announced some time ago ("Adam"?...) also uses it IIRC
Yes, the Adam from Notion Ink http://www.notionink.in/index.php [notionink.in] . It looks very impressive, but not released yet. Hope it's more than vapourware.

Re:dual-mode display (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32367346)

Even if it is vaporware (might as well be for all practical purposes / scale / software), there are almost certainly many more coming.

Thanks OLPC! (3, Insightful)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364454)

I remenber the first time that idea was show here on slashdot, I (and lots of other geeks) where salivating about the idea of a "portable laptop". I even remenber people talking about "100$? I would pay 300$ for that!". The OLPC has made this dream real, and now we have our 200$ and 300$ cheap and very usefull "netbooks". I call this a huge succes (:

Re:Thanks OLPC! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32364846)

asus made it real you fucking retard.

Re:Thanks OLPC! (4, Interesting)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364892)

And you truly think netbooks developed from there?

Subnetbooks have been around for ages. What started the netbook revolution was the new availability of very cheap and small LCD displays, and the appearance of cheap and power-efficient x86 processors that could work well enough while being cheap and not requiring huge heat-sinks (like the Atom, some VIA chips, etc).

Do you think Apple, Dell, HP, or the damn OLPC project actually develop anything? They develop casings, at best. They just stay on top of whatever new crap is coming cheaply out of China. That's it. You can find cheap and small mobos with embedded ARM processors in China for under 30 dollars. Boards very similar in specs to the one Apple is using on the iPad can be found for ~70 dollars in China, including 900mhz ARM processors. Embedded Wifi and 3G for +20 dollars.

Things don't get to the market when they are invented, they come out when the Chinese have managed to produce the technology required to assemble them cheaply.

Re:Thanks OLPC! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365686)

I'm pretty sure OLPC developed their screen, not that it took off anywhere else though

Re:Thanks OLPC! (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366134)

I thought the one I had was fun and well designed. I never had to live with it outside but it worked well for what it was.

Cheap manufacturing (3, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364490)

This is probably going to get me modded as troll, but I'm curious anyways. How much of the low price is dependant on our exploitation of cheap labor? One laptop per-child made by a child? (well, probably a young adult anyways) Even with markets of scale, 75$ is an impressive price tag.

Re:Cheap manufacturing (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364616)

Given their track record, $75 will turn into $150 by the time it's ready for sale.
Which isn't such a feat -- remember all the PDAs that cost less than that?

Re:Cheap manufacturing (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364784)

No they'll double it and say they're giving one to every monk in Thailand. One laptop per Lama.

Re:Cheap manufacturing (0, Offtopic)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364998)

I will give half of the mod points I receive for this post to starving people in the third world.

Mod Parent TROLL! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365450)

Mod Parent TROLL!

Re:Cheap manufacturing (1)

foxharp (1048608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365544)

the XO laptops are made in the same factory(ies) that all other major laptops are made in. the low price is the result of low-cost design, and selling for cost.

Re:Cheap manufacturing (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366978)

You would need to define exploitation first. If these folks are being paid a wage that makes for a nice income there but would not get you a cardboard box here, is that exploitation?

I wonder if my expensive made in the USA tshirts are less exploitive or worse than imports. The workers that make these shirts get only about 25k/year in California vs whatever someone gets at a t-shirt factory in Honduras. I buy the USA made ones due to the quality not the lack of exploitation though, but it makes me wonder.

Re:Cheap manufacturing (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368308)

Usually labor is exported to get around laws in this country that prevent exploitation. This may range from a job with a reasonable wage to a scraping by in a sweatshop with long hours doing repetitive tasks. In order to get the price of the device down, they may have to take the latter option. I just think it would be ironic to use (maybe even exploit) a country's cheap labor to give them devices which they cannot afford (because we set the price) as an act of charity. I don't think it's because we're innately evil, just a little schizophrenic as a group of people.

License the display (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32364516)

Having read about the indoor/outdoor display tech, but never having seen it, I want it. When will OLPC license it to other companies?

Only two problems ... (0, Flamebait)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364592)

1 - If it'll only be done 'god willing', then we have a problem because there is no god.
2 - We've already seen what happened to the OLPC project. It's a nice idea, but this guys are just circle jerking, Negroponte dreams, but can't deliver.
3 - The market is already heading there. There is no need for the OLPC. There are already countless netbooks for well under 100 dollars in China. There are 100 dollar touchpads. I think the foundation should focus on the hardest part, step 2: Getting governments, the UN, or whoever to invest in this stuff, and just import the best and cheapest alternative from China and install proper software on it.

Re:Only two problems ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32364860)

1 - If it'll only be done 'god willing', then we have a problem because there is no god.

YMMV.

Re:Only two problems ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365314)

1 - If it'll only be done 'god willing', then we have a problem because there is no god.

are you implying that, if it happens then there is a God? :)

Eithyer he is going to be (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364614)

lockup up in the loony bin or change the industry in a huge way.

If he can deliver what the render is, or even close, it will basically make tablet/ebook reader like the digital watch. Mass produced, inexpensive and everywhere.

Pixel Qi display? (2, Informative)

niko9 (315647) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364698)

Boy, I hope they're using Mary Lou Jepsen's Pixel Qi (http://www.pixelqi.com/) screens. I am far from a hardcore programming geek, but I could use something like this for a simple E-reader and Mutt email device.

She also has a blog: http://pixelqi.com/blog1/ [pixelqi.com]

Supposedly, hackers will be able to buy raw screens for DIY projects. Might be ideal for hooking up to a BeagleBoard.

Re:Pixel Qi display? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32364862)

Wow, have people forgotten already? Mary Lou Jepsen developed the Pixel Qi display technology while working on the XO-1. She then created Pixel Qi to commercialize that technology. Why is everyone acting like these displays are something new? They were in the XO-1 and are one of the features that haven't been matched by netbooks. So yeah, these displays in the XO-3 are probably (definitely) using the same technology, and I wouldn't be surprised if they are somehow subcontracting to Pixel Qi.

Re:Pixel Qi display? (1)

Alef (605149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366652)

Considering this press release [laptop.org] , it does indeed seem likely the OLPC will use it.

Quoting:

The One Laptop per Child Foundation (OLPC) [...] and Pixel Qi Corporation [...] have signed a permanent and royalty-free cross-licensing agreement that will allow both organizations to deliver products incorporating the world’s most advanced screen technology.

As a result of the agreement, OLPC receives full license to all Pixel Qi “3qi” screen technology, including 70+ patents in process and all current and future IP developed by Pixel Qi for multi-mode screens. Pixel Qi is leading the design of new screens for OLPC’s next-generation XO laptops.

Re:Pixel Qi display? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365108)

Ooooo....I would *love* to try programming using something like 'e-ink' on the display. Or perhaps something passive. One thing I clearly remember about those monochrome monitors was that they were pretty easy to read.

Re:Pixel Qi display? (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365302)

what has been taking her/them so long? I love that display, I need that display.

LoB

Re:Pixel Qi display? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365324)

Supposedly, hackers will be able to buy raw screens for DIY projects. Might be ideal for hooking up to a BeagleBoard.

From everything she was saying all last year, Pixel Qi screens were supposed to be in all sorts of products by the end of 2009. Oh, and they were going to have the DIY kits available before that. Considering we're still waiting for anything that uses them, I'm not holding my breath.

At what price for non-target market? :) (3, Insightful)

timothy (36799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364736)

9" transflective ARM tablet? I want one. Price $75? Well ... that price might have *some* basis, but I suspect that's not the out-the-door price.

The $100 laptop (and note, I'm not complaining, and I realize that the $100 figure was not promised to Moses on Mt. Sinai) turned out to be, realistically for me and many others, $400, through the Give One Get One program. (And I think $400 well spent; I like the idea, and the hardware is really cool, despite its limitations.)

Does that mean a 9" ARM tablet would be $300? :) Hey, $150 would be even better, and $75 would mean I could buy one apiece for several young relatives. (And I'd rather get them that way than, say, a big misguided, mismanaged government school Program.)

Tim

Re:At what price for non-target market? :) (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32364868)

That $75 price point strikes me as blatant bullshit. I suspect they could sell one of these to you or me for $150 to $200, which would still be a useful price point.

I gave a cheap netbook to my sister-in-law for her to web surf. She had problems with accidentally disabling the WiFi chip, and eventually dropped the netbook and broke the case. Hopefully these devices will be a lot more idiot-proof than netbooks.

Re:At what price for non-target market? :) (3, Informative)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365666)

"Hopefully these devices will be a lot more idiot-proof than netbooks."

That thing is not idiot-proof. It is for children, and built in a way to survive them, but not idiot-proof. The designers even expect the children to learn Python.

Re:At what price for non-target market? :) (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365410)

what I didn't get the first time was that he said it would be first for the _developed_ world and that means he's not going to restrict its sale like they did with the XO-1. This should mean they are going to have some kind of distribution and sales channels setup. If it means they are still restricting it to bulk purchases then that'll be a problem just like how the bulk buys were for the the original XO.

Besides getting the mesh networking firmware and display firmware working with an ARM processor, we should be seeing more than a prototype at CES 2011. Doing an ARM tablet is not that unique but doing it with all the low power controls the original XO had means lots of firmware work.

LoB

Re:At what price for non-target market? :) (3, Informative)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368830)

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.39169 [dealextreme.com]

There you go... Android tablet for $100 shipped.

I got a 7 inch netbook off eBay (from Hong Kong) for $60 shipped. It has crappy WinCE 5, though. :P

Great , Now The Starving Children (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32364940)

can Twitter for food!!!!

Queue the OLPC Prototype of X-Device coming in 2011, 2012, and so forth to 2204.

P.S. Nationalize British Petroleum and donate The Queen's and the Bush Crime Family shares to OLPC !!

Yours In Astrakhan,
Kilgore Trout, C.E.O.

 

Negroponte, please (0, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365028)

$75 for a tablet? You get to a point where the cost of the packaging and shipping exceeds the product. When you have a large portion of a continent with no infrastructure, where the only real business is the military, does putting cheap Chinese tablets in the hands of poor kids really help?

Bound to fail (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365168)

'You'll see from us, God willing, an Arm tablet,'

Jesus already created the iPad

As long as (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32365294)

they don't screw it over with a non-Android operating system, I'm glad to hear it. Aside from Windows, any new computer has 3 choices: Android. Ubuntu. Suicide.

Remember the netbook war.

Buisness model (3, Interesting)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365518)

Sell them at a profit (cost plus 10%) in the -first- world, use profit to subsidize (cost minus 25%) sales in the -third- world market. We're perfectly willing to help you out financially, just not buy 2 get one.

"God Willing" Project Management (1)

numbsafari (139135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365712)

Any time you hear a project manager say "God Willing" about a deliverable or date you know they are flat out lying.

Just a darn minute, guys... (1)

nani popoki (594111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365724)

For all of you who are lusting after a $75 pad with daylight-readable (dual mode) display, just remember this:
OLPC is not promising that any J. Random Individual will ever be able to buy one from the organization.

(I also wouldn't take any of the specifications as gosphel at this point, either. Except it will probably run the Sugar-compliant XO-1 and XO-1.5 applications which were coded in Python.)

OLPC for Haiti (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32365964)

A bit off topic. The OLPC folks are looking for donation of the OLPC-1 for use in Haiti. Check out http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_for_Haiti [laptop.org] for details.

Update: It's a drop-ship Marvel Pad (2, Informative)

nani popoki (594111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32366828)

Apparently (according to this http://www.olpcnews.com/laptops/xo-3/new_xo-3_announced_just_a_marv.html [olpcnews.com] posting), the XO-3 will be a re-branded Marvel Moby tablet. So much for rugged designed-for-kids. Several articles have appeared today on OLPC News about the deal.

Please, don't inflict this on the kids anywhere (2, Insightful)

cullenfluffyjennings (138377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32368250)

I did the buy one, donate one to a 3rd world kid program with the first OLPC. I could not believe what a piece of crap the OLPC was when I got it. I could not even IM from it. I felt so bad that I had inflicted that on some poor child somewhere. If I could find the poor kid that ended up with the OLPC I paid for, I would happily send them a MacBook Air as a way of apologizing and showing that not all computers sucked.

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