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OLPC's XO-1.75 Laptop To Have a Multitouch Screen

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the get-one-give-me-one dept.

Input Devices 171

angry tapir writes "One Laptop Per Child has revealed it is adding a multitouch screen to the upcoming XO-1.75 laptop and is modifying software to take advantage of the new hardware. The XO-1.75 with a touch-sensitive 8.9-inch screen will start shipping next year. The laptop will run on an Arm processor and is the successor to the current XO-1.5 laptop, which runs on a Via x86 processor. OLPC will also add a multitouch screen on the next-generation XO-3 tablet, which is due to ship in 2012. Fedora will continue to be the base Linux distribution for XO-1.75 as the laptop changes from the x86 to Arm architecture."

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171 comments

Apple says.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847152)

"One C&D per child"

Re:Apple says.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847840)

nice one!
Well behaved and good natured dog can be atained with the right dog school. obedience school for dogs [obediences...gsinfo.net]

Yes, but (4, Interesting)

Flyerman (1728812) | about 4 years ago | (#32847154)

Will there be another "Buy One, Give One" promotion?

Re:Yes, but (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 4 years ago | (#32847896)

This time, it'll be "Buy Two, Get One".

Re:Yes, but (0, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#32848736)

This time, it'll be "Buy Two, Get One".

Last time, it was $400 to get one and give one, so for a "$100" device, that's "Buy 4, Get one, Give one, Donate the Rest to our Overheads".

Patent Problems? (5, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#32847162)

The one thing with multi-touch is the possibility of patents interfering with the ability to use it. While this might not be a problem for some OSS projects or large companies with the ability to add in a few dollars to the price to pay for patent fees, I can see this being an issue for something as cost-conscious as the OLPC's laptop because even an extra $5 could make a huge difference.

Re:Patent Problems? (0, Troll)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | about 4 years ago | (#32847354)

Steve Jobs at one point offered to donate MacOSX licenses for every OLPC, and was turned down because the project's leadership at the time was dead set on free as in FSF software.
It'd be interesting to see if he'd do the same with iOS and all it's associated multitouch patents, but somehow I think that the OLPC project's visionary potential may have faded too far to attract such an offer again (even as their arrogance may have faded too far to reject such an offer again).

Re:Patent Problems? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847452)

Steve Jobs at one point offered to donate MacOSX licenses for every OLPC

I'd love to get a reliable source on that. I always imagine Apple as being evil as sin (ha!); it would do a lot for my impression of the company to believe that they were willing to work on something for nothing (OS X + PostScript GUI on a 433mhz Geode?).

Nearest source I could find was here [olpcnews.com] (which, in turn, cites this [reuters.com] , but I can't find the quote on Reuters, so whatever.):

Negroponte said in the interview the foundation is "open to" running Apple Inc.'s OS X Macintosh operating system on the XO laptop. An Apple spokesperson declined comment on its plans for the device.

... which sounds more like the Apple we all know and love.

Thanks in advance

Re:Patent Problems? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847578)

Quoth the Wall Street Journal [wsj.com] :

Steve Jobs, Apple Computer Inc.'s chief executive, offered to provide free copies of the company's operating system, OS X, for the machine, according to Seymour Papert, a professor emeritus at MIT who is one of the initiative's founders. "We declined because it's not open source," says Dr. Papert, noting the designers want an operating system that can be tinkered with. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Re:Patent Problems? (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 years ago | (#32847628)

I'd love to get a reliable source on that. I always imagine Apple as being evil as sin (ha!); it would do a lot for my impression of the company to believe that they were willing to work on something for nothing (OS X + PostScript GUI on a 433mhz Geode?).

This might be the best source WSJ [wsj.com]
Quote:

Steve Jobs, Apple Computer Inc.'s chief executive, offered to provide free copies of the company's operating system, OS X, for the machine, according to Seymour Papert, a professor emeritus at MIT who is one of the initiative's founders. "We declined because it's not open source," says Dr. Papert, noting the designers want an operating system that can be tinkered with. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

As for OS X on a 433MHz X86 compatible - "OS X" seems to run just fine on an iPhone/iPod Touch which have 400MHz ARM processors. Sure it's not the full OS, but it can be cut down to run decently. I think OLPC could've cut out the fat and made it run decently...

Re:Patent Problems? (3, Insightful)

adbge (1693228) | about 4 years ago | (#32847866)

I think OLPC could've cut out the fat and made it run decently...

OLPC would not be able to cut out the fat and make OSX run decently due to its proprietary nature. Presumably, OLPC chose OSS for the ability to modify the OS to conform to their systems' capabilities, which would simply not be possible on OSX. I'm intensely skeptical of the idea that Steve Jobs would ever offer to license OSX to run on hardware that they did not control.

Re:Patent Problems? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32848322)

Maybe any offer was based on the knowledge that the answer would be no for the reasons you state - it does a company no harm to make a generous offer to a charitable cause when they know they'll never have to go through with their part of the deal...

Re:Patent Problems? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847380)

If I were interested in Multi-touch, and concerned about the patents...I'd welcome OLPC using them, and forcing Apple, or other companies to sue them.

That'd be a nasty choice. Sue a charity or...not be profiteering thugs.

Re:Patent Problems? (2, Informative)

mcvos (645701) | about 4 years ago | (#32848288)

Note that Apple granting OLPC a free license to use multi-touch doesn't mean everybody else can use it for free too.

Re:Patent Problems? (0)

mcvos (645701) | about 4 years ago | (#32848306)

Note that Apple granting OLPC a free license to use multi-touch doesn't mean everybody else can use it for free too.

(I already posted this, but Slashdot seems to be very buggy today.)

Touchscreen this, multitouch that... (2, Insightful)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | about 4 years ago | (#32847164)

STOP TOUCHING MY MONITOR.

Yes, caps are like yelling. That was my intention.

Re:Touchscreen this, multitouch that... (3, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#32847568)

Monitor? What? These things are convertable laptops, ffs. The minute I got my 1.0, I wished it had a touchscreen, as that would make tablet mode a *lot* more useful.

Let them eat laptops! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847174)

Can we get some fucking perspective, people? Only a yuppie tool who's never been to a poor county in their entire life and who learned everything they know about poverty from the movies could come up with an idea as useless as OLPC.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#32847196)

There are a lot of places that have clean water and enough food, but lack ways of getting ahead, lack good educations, etc. The internet and computers can change that and help train people to actually use technology and get ahead.

What good is surviving based on food and water without any progress?

Re:Let them eat laptops! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847226)

Then give them real computers and not toys.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (2, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#32847270)

What's your definition of a "REAL COMPUTER?"

Shit that's outdated compared to today's watches put our ass into space.

It's still a real computer.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#32847272)

...Ok, so what do -you- think we should be sending the third world? $999 Macbooks? $300 Celeron 900 cheap laptops? A $1,200 Core i7 notebook?

The OLPC makes -sense- because it is A) Cheap, B) Very readable in sunlight C) Is Linux-Based and puts a high priority on development and D) Has decent-ish specs.

Think of your first computer. Chances are, unless you were relatively wealthy when you got your first PC, it was a generic, low-end system, sometimes not even a compatible model to what was the "standard" of the time. For me, it was a Commodore 64 way after its prime and way after IBM-compatible systems were the standard. It taught me BASIC and the fundamentals of programming and computer use, could I get a job just by knowing that Commodore 64? No, but it set the foundation to make learning MS-DOS, Windows and later *Nix very easy.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847308)

My parents weren't wealthy at all but my first computer was a top of the line system for the time. Just because you think people in poorer country only deserve useless junk toys doesn't mean the rest of us have your paternalistic view.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#32847334)

So what benefit did that really have on your knowledge of computers? The OLPC isn't designed to be an expensive top of the line computer because how many do you think we could send? For the cheapest "standard" laptop you can buy which is around $300, you could send 2, perhaps 3 OLPCs to the third world. Did you go out and buy a Ferrari for your first car too?

Re:Let them eat laptops! (3, Insightful)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | about 4 years ago | (#32847532)

Also, sending high-priced items to developing countries for cheap or free is really really really tempting fate as far as graft and corruption are concerned.

Imagine a whole bunch of $1000 laptops are given away free, or even for $250 to the third world, thanks to generous donations and so on. Then mysteriously, a bunch of laptops, each worth $1000, show up on ebay for $750, and certainly unrelatedly, a whole bunch of sub-$500 laptops actually get to the intended audience. Must have been a mixup in shipping. Pay no attention to the man buying the golden toilets.

And like you say, what's the improvement? There's not a whole lot more you can do with a performance computer when you haven't yet learned to use computers. You don't need to lend them your Ferrari so they can learn to drive, either. It's common sense.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#32847548)

Exactly, and further on the point of improvement, I know for me the greatest learning experiences I have had is when technology didn't work out as planned. A screwed up update taught me how to restore a broken bootloader, a broken HDD taught me how to use unconventional methods to recover needed data (and to back up more frequently...) and problems with my wireless router taught me how to use DD-WRT and to configure various settings to help eliminate those problems.

Computers that work flawlessly might be nice, but they don't teach you anything more than how to consume and people don't really need taught that, they need to learn skills to help them make money and cut costs to get ahead.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (4, Informative)

EETech1 (1179269) | about 4 years ago | (#32848050)

That's why they are activated by the school server, and secured by Bitfrost. If a non G1G1 XO ends up on EBay, it will not function.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (2, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#32848166)

The OLPC is easily thousands of times as powerful as your first computer.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#32848606)

Your parents were wealthy if they could afford a top of the line system. Being able to spend that much on anything nonessential to survival puts you easily into the top 10% of the world's population by wealth, and probably into the top 5%. The OLPC system is aimed at far less wealthy people than your parents.

One of the people who's just become involved with an open source project that I run is in India. His parents' annual income is only slightly more than the cost of my laptop. He is using a 300MHz Celeron, which he managed to scrounge, and it's the fastest machine that he has access to. It has 64MB of RAM, so nontrivial compile jobs cause a lot of swapping. His Internet connection is heavily metered, so he can only download things in the middle of the night (when it's off-peak time). He is the sort of person that this project is aimed at.

The first computer that I learned to use was a BBC Model B. This had a 2MHz 8-bit CPU and 32KB of RAM, in a time when a typical PC had a 12MHz 286 and 1MB of RAM. The first computer that I owned was scrounged from my father's workplace and was an 8MHz (16-bit) 8086 clone, with 640KB of RAM running MS DOS and Windows 3.0, in a time when my father's laptop was a 126Hz (32-bit) 386 with 5MB of RAM.

Now, most of the work I do is on Mac OS X, FreeBSD, or Solaris. How much do you think I learned on a BBC or a DOS PC that is directly relevant to those platforms? A lot. Both had easily accessible developer tools.

The BBC booted directly into a dialect of BASIC that supported structured programming, direct interfacing with the hardware (for controlling robots and suchlike via the array of easy-to-use I/O ports it had) and even had things like a built-in assembler. For the PC, I had a PL/M compiler, which taught me about low-level programming and made it easy for me to learn C (I later got a C compiler for the machine, but C feels painfully primitive as a low-level language in comparison to PL/M). When I got a 386 (my father's old laptop, when he got a 486), it ran Windows 3.11 and have Visual C++ 2.0 installed.

By the time I arrived at university, I was already moderately competent in about a dozen programming languages. This would probably not have been the case if my first computer experience had not been with something like the BBC, where programming was the easiest thing to do. That is the point of the OLPC. The user is able to modify absolutely any part of the software stack, and is encouraged to do so. Do you really think they'd be better off with machines that functioned as appliances and didn't encourage understanding?

I'd just like to interject. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847560)

What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called "Linux", and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.

Re:I'd just like to interject. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32847690)

Is this a new troll?

All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.

It is possible to have a working linux system without any GNU components at all.

Re:I'd just like to interject. (0, Offtopic)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 4 years ago | (#32847698)

No. The Linux kernel still requires GCC to compile.

Re:I'd just like to interject. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32847716)

No. The Linux kernel still requires GCC to compile.

Sure about that? There are non-gnu compilers, both free and non-free. If I build the system with DECC have I created DEC/Linux? Linux doesn't need a compiler to run.

Re:I'd just like to interject. (1)

vjoel (945280) | about 4 years ago | (#32847814)

No. The Linux kernel still requires GCC to compile.

Sure about that? There are non-gnu compilers, both free and non-free. If I build the system with DECC have I created DEC/Linux? Linux doesn't need a compiler to run.

And tcc builds the linux kernel: http://bellard.org/tcc [bellard.org]

Re:I'd just like to interject. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847746)

I don't think anyone here is unaware of GNU's contribution to Linux. But what is commonly referred to as Linux and Linux distributions also includes things like Gnome, KDE, bootloaders, Firefox, Open Office, etc.

It's called Linux. Torvalds gets some credit, Stallman gets some credit. But it's damn well called Linux. It's not called Linux because of some silly pissing match about development credit. It's called Linux because that's what everyone calls it. Deal with the fact that GNU gets to be in the credits, but doesn't get to be in the title.

Also, GNU is unpronounceable without years of undulation training, and that BS has probably set back popular adoption of Linux for years already. If you name yourself &%^nk, don't be surprised when everyone calls you Frank.

Be happy that it is getting widely used, and it revolutionized how we see, develop on, and interact with servers. But the pissing match is long over.

Re:I'd just like to interject. (1)

mcvos (645701) | about 4 years ago | (#32848350)

What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux.

Here's a kleenex.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (4, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#32847702)

E) Durable as hell. I challenge anyone to find a $200 netbook that is waterproof, let alone one that can be dropped from 7 or 8 feet repeatedly without worrying about if it will survive. F) Grid networking. Instead of crowding around a single access point that might not be in reach, a school full of OLPC's can piggyback on eachother's signals to get much further than otherwise possible.

And let's not forget that the XO project is partially responsible for the existence of netbooks. Intel and Microsoft both made reference netbook platforms in response to the perceived threat of OLPC platform. (politics, someone else can jump in with the sordid history, I'm sure). Basically, when it was announced a $100 (cough $200) laptop was considered ludicrous, and a lot of effort went into making viable platforms. Now, netbooks are almost an impulse buy.

The keyboard's pretty terrible, but other than that the OLPC is a surprisingly well designed platform for the environment it finds itself in.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (3, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#32848182)

G) Passively cooled with no moving parts. Try wandering around Best Buy throwing sand into off-the-shelf laptops and see how long before you're thrown out with a huge repair bill.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (4, Insightful)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | about 4 years ago | (#32847298)

These are far more advanced than my first several computers. They are certainly not toys. If you are referring to the user interface decisions that are geared towards making the system more child friendly, then all I can suggest is that they are trying to make learning more fun. Not necessarily a bad idea. The machines are still capable of doing all of using productivity applications that are needed in a non-toy computer.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847240)

Computers have nothing to do with a successful general education. I imagine if the proper research was done a negative impact would be discovered.

They are just a way to waste time and resources.

Therefore, this is a not so secret scheme to keep the third world the third world.

Considering the resources being wasted this is all very cruel.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#32847280)

How convenient for you to say that, from behind a keyboard and living in place where virtually anybody who wants can have at least rudimentary access to a computer & the web.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#32847296)

"General" education isn't always needed in the third world, skills however are. Who cares if you can read Virgil in Latin, know all of the kings of England and have the periodic table memorized. However, if you can download a diagram of how to build a simple well and treat the water, that is useful. If you can find organic fertilizers that work to make the crop harvest better. If you can figure out more efficient ways of building huts, learn science to contradict harmful superstitious beliefs of your tribe, etc. you have something valuable.

General education is a luxury really only useful in the third world, for the rest of the world, skills are paramount, "education" doesn't matter.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 4 years ago | (#32847700)

General education is a luxury really only useful in the third world, for the rest of the world, skills are paramount, "education" doesn't matter.

You have an interesting point - but I'm guessing that's a typo, and you meant first world there?

Re:Let them eat laptops! (2, Funny)

Calinous (985536) | about 4 years ago | (#32848512)

It's Old World, New World and Thirld World

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 years ago | (#32847870)

How can you build a well, if your math education keeps you from being able to measure and calculate correctly?

How can you define "organic fertilizers" without understanding what "organic" means, what organic chemistry is, etc?

How can you build better huts without understanding what raw materials you have on hand?

And that science you claim will keep people safe from "harmful superstitious beliefs", like calling the poisonous plant by its official latin name, instead of saying it has "bad spirits" and shouldn't be eaten?

That is the problem with "western" thinking, we think we know more than we do, because we're better educated. In the process, we've become stupid and it shows up repeatedly in our "enlightened" approach to people who are different.

As you destroy the culture of those living in harmony with their surrounding, whom you're trying to help, let me know how you feel about that when you realize that you're not really helping.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32848552)

You know, people were building wells and using organic fertilisers for hundreds of years, even in the west, before formal education came along. You might not be able to do a precision job but that doesn't mean there aren't simple rules of thumb you can use instead to do an effective job. And nobody's suggesting that these should replace teachers, the OLPC project tends to only work in areas where the importance of education is already recognised, and in those access to information can be an etremely valuable resource. This trendy "they need teachers more than they need laptops" argument is just as bad as the attitudes you are criticising, because it also demonstrates that you think you have the right answers when perhaps you don't and OLPC can make a difference.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

dragisha (788) | about 4 years ago | (#32848024)

You just made me remember that scene from Apocalypse Now, where they cut vaccined arms...

Do you really think laptops will survive once they start to fight tribe superstitions?

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#32848206)

Communication is also very important. I know a lot of people in developing nations who can't afford to talk on phones, but have large communities of people and resources they reach over email. These help them develop their businesses, get visas to travel abroad, etc.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (3, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 4 years ago | (#32847356)

It's easy to say that when your only experience is of a western education. Why don't you come to a third world country and see for yourself. The teachers don't know the subjects they're teaching, they can't get good teachers because no one wants to live there, the students books are all different in the class room because they are all donations.

Spending money of computers as reading devices IS the right decision here. It allows everyone to share the same material, it allows media to be played so kids can learn new languages even if the teacher doesn't know himself.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#32847632)

Therefore, this is a not so secret scheme to keep the third world the third world.

Why? Is there a free WoW account with each laptop?

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about 4 years ago | (#32848172)

"One library of text books per child" might have been a good idea for a project too, but guess which one seemed more expensive.

If you seriously want to improve education in third world countries there are only so many things you can do. Providing internet- (and thus "all the knowledge in the world")- accessing devices with a full productivity environment built in seems like as good an approach as any. Unless you have a secret stash of trained teachers (will travel) or are the owner of a stationary factory willing to make some donations, I'm not sure what else you might suggest.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (3, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 4 years ago | (#32847246)

Besides, internet is extremely important for survival in the modern world! Remember the Rule of 3s [survivaltopics.com] :
  • 3 months without companionship.
  • 3 weeks without food.
  • 3 days without water.
  • 3 hours without shelter in extreme conditions.
  • 3 minutes without air.
  • 3 seconds without facebook.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#32847418)

3 seconds without facebook.

3 seconds without Slashdot.

FTFY.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#32848054)

3 heartbeats without actual heart beating. :D

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

orkysoft (93727) | about 4 years ago | (#32848472)

Excellent...

Re:Let them eat laptops! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847480)

Somebody very close to me did a stiny in a fairly well-known (not religious) organization that travels around the world and teaches poor civilizations self-sufficiency, also helping them modernize their businesses and agriculture.

She went in an altruistic, bleeding-heart hippie ready to give it her all. She came out with strong anti-immigrant sentiments, resentful that the people she had worked so hard to help just kept asking for handouts instead of making any effort to better themselves. She lamented that the current soft approach was, "treating the symptoms, and not the illness."

Re:Let them eat laptops! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32848560)

Sounds like she grew up a little bit.

It also sounds like there's a little more growing left to do.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#32847300)

Right, because the movies you learned from had only two kinds of people - those who have basically anything, and those who are starving.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 4 years ago | (#32847588)

No, I learned that from living in America.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (5, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | about 4 years ago | (#32847322)

I live in Thailand and there are plenty of kids here who could use these things. Upcountry get a lot of donated books for example in learning english, that's great except they're all different books so learning in the classroom is extremely difficult. Also no one wants to teach there because it's in the middle of no where.

Giving kids a computer with ebooks that have all the same material and/or can speak out english to help them pronounce better would be a huge win. Even cost isn't an issue, the Thai government has already wasted billions on useless thrown away ID cards, this would be a drop in the ocean.

Re:Let them eat laptops! (2, Informative)

gmuslera (3436) | about 4 years ago | (#32848400)

Can't say that the experience in my country has been a wild success, but still things has changed since most school children here in Uruguay got their XO, and not just for the children.

And if well it went for children for most social classes (they were deployed in all public schools, so some private schools didnt got them) somewhat chokes you to see poor children on the streets playing with them or browsing internet close to places with free wifi.

How many (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | about 4 years ago | (#32847250)

How many children have the OLPC already? Three? Wouldn't it be better to focus on cheap production methods instead of adding the latest fad?

Re:How many (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847338)

Excellent point; it would make sense to get devices - ANY devices - into kids' hands. Surely the costs on the original XO must have come down significantly in the three years since it's inception. The hardware certainly seemed future-proof enough.

If the point was to get developing nations used to taking advantage of information technology, why are they trying to hit a moving target when the old, proven technology would still be a better fit? Or are they betting that iPads will start replacing desktops in offices by the time the emerging economies have matured?

Bottom line: I want my $100 OLPC, it was a great idea with more than good enough hardware. Where is it?

Re:How many (3, Interesting)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#32847422)

Actually, the move to a Via x86 chip was motivated also by cost cuts (and few other hardware changes due to them too, certainly - simplified touchpad for example); initially used hardware simply wasn't getting cheaper anymore. It's like with EDO - SDR - DDR - DDR2- DDR3 memory.

Move to ARM will also surely cut costs. Tablet has a potential of cutting them, too - much simpler mechanically, for starters.

Re:How many (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#32848256)

Just because hardware doubles in speed / capacity for a given price point every few years, sadly does not mean that the price halves for a given speed / capacity. It would probably cost the same today to build a 500 MB hard drive as it would to make a 5 GB one. There are just baseline manufacturing costs that don't really care about technological sophistication or a lack thereof.

The XO-3 [blorge.com] looks like a proper jump in that direction: no keyboard, no folding screens, no rabbit-eared Wifi... all of the baseline manufacturing costs reduced. Really, the only thing you're compromising on in a tablet versus a laptop is the keyboard, and the XO's keyboard is legendarily terrible.

Re:How many (5, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#32847348)

According to various sources, 1,494,500. While that is a bit low when considering the 3 year span, it still is a pretty large number of kids who wouldn't have gotten any shot at technology otherwise.

Re:How many (1, Funny)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 4 years ago | (#32847554)

Woah woah woah! Now, those look like "facts" and "numbers". If you can't blurt out baseless opinions and mindless gutfeel like the rest of us, you have no place here!

Re:How many (2, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | about 4 years ago | (#32848218)

So actually the project is a succes. I always thought it was a total failure due to the constant bickering, the interference of MS, etc. I stand corrected. Thanks you.

Re:How many (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#32848658)

Depends on how you measure success. It achieved a lot more than not doing it would have achieved. It achieved a lot less than their goals. With a project like this, I don't think you can really measure its success meaningfully in any time period shorter than a decade, and probably two.

Re:How many (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 4 years ago | (#32848746)

According to "various sources", 1,494,497 of those devices have quit working, so "3" is probably closer to the number in active use.

Re:How many (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about 4 years ago | (#32848224)

My thoughts exactly on reading this.

The whole point of OLPC was to provide internet access, textbook e-reading, paperless word processing, and some joy, to impoverished children, in a form that is both durable and affordable to charities and 3rd world government schemes. How does multi-touch help with any of that again?

It sounds like it's just going to drive the price up, add an extra point of failure, and add a feature that even 99% of "1st world" consumer products hasn't bothered with.

Re:How many (1)

naz404 (1282810) | about 4 years ago | (#32848536)

If you've actually gotten your hands on an OLPC XO unit, when it's rotated into e-reader tablet mode with the keyboard hidden, it ***NEEDS*** a touchscreen since the corner keypad & navigation buttons (mapped to cursor keys, pgup, pgdn, home, end) become useless when you need to do some mouse moving & clicking.

It's just very natural given its design.

Next, in terms of apps that can be developed, a whole new world opens once you shift to multi-touch as opposed to single-touch screens (piano & drawing apps for the kids, etc).

Moreover, in terms of schoolwork, scribbling diagrams is one of the thing that students do with paper notebooks.

The concept of the OLPC XO is that in the long run, because content is digital, it will be cheaper than the combined cost of books & school materials (pencils, notebooks, etc) over the years.

Re:How many (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#32848650)

No. The OLPC project took a lot of flack from the uninformed over the decision to make the entire stack open source, but this is one of the reasons. The project only has to focus on the new design, because anyone can make the old design due to its open nature. I was at a talk a couple of years ago by Alan Kay, who said that the nice thing about being a non-profit is that they want people to steal their ideas. If a country wants to have a few million of XO-1 laptops, they have the designs. If they have the manufacturing capability, they can build them themselves. If they don't, they can send the designs to a factory in India or China to do it. If they have the required local talent, they can tweak the designs and improve them.

One of the goals of the OLPC project is that it should become self sustaining. They want future generations of the laptops to be designed and built by people who learned about the technology from playing with the earlier generations.

Sign me up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847306)

Cheap netbook with a touch screen, runs Linux on ARM, readable outdoors? Sounds perfect; how much and when? Hopefully the price will be a bit closer to that $100 mark.

OH NOES (1)

rubies (962985) | about 4 years ago | (#32847314)

Multi-touch aimed at children in third world countries. Is it a laptop or a seedy, illegal tour of Bangkok?

Error in the summary/title/etc; RTFA (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847382)

The title and summary of the story contradict themselves.

Title: "OLPC's XO-1.75 Laptop To Have a Multitouch Screen"

Summary: "OLPC will also add a multitouch screen on the next-generation XO-3 tablet"

The title is wrong; the summary is correct. Multitouch in XO-3. XO-1.75 will only have a touchscreen. Way to edit. I'm sorry for RTFA, I'm new here, won't happen again.

Re:Error in the summary/title/etc; RTFA (1)

Flyerman (1728812) | about 4 years ago | (#32847472)

If you're going to post, might as well get an account.

Re:Error in the summary/title/etc; RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847614)

"Steve Jobs" would be already taken. But thanks for posting.

Books? Paper, Pencils, Teachers? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847506)

I have always disagreed with this project. I think there is so much more to learn using books, paper, pencils and good teachers.
The whole project is very misguided. All you're going to teach those kids to do is use technology that the rest of their country can't afford anyway, so as soon as it breaks they will have lost any gain they had. /grumble grumble

Re:Books? Paper, Pencils, Teachers? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847536)

I saw it that way until I realized that they were giving a Hitchhiker's Guide to the people who were most in need. They each have the sum total of all human knowledge. So kids in developing countries would be able to go as far with that as they wanted.

Worth a shot, no?

Re:Books? Paper, Pencils, Teachers? (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 4 years ago | (#32847642)

Only if each OLPC comes with a towel.

Re:Books? Paper, Pencils, Teachers? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32847678)

A babelfish would be more useful, though not as comfortable to use.

Re:Books? Paper, Pencils, Teachers? (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 4 years ago | (#32847684)

It is the good teachers part that is hard. Just think about when you were in high school in a first-world country, how many of the teachers were actually good? How many actually knew much about the subject they were teaching. Now, if we can't even get good teachers in the first world for competitive pay and those teachers are highly educated, then how do you expect the third world to get good, accurate, and native teachers? With the internet, even though a teacher might not be an expert at some subject, the teacher -can- connect to experts and show their students it on their own laptop. Some things can't just be explained with pen and paper, for example, how would one explain the sound of an electric guitar to someone who has never heard it? Videos and the like are very good tools to cater to the uneducated masses, after all one only needs to look at the first world to see that. Books are also very expensive for what you get. The internet is nearly limitless when it comes to scale, if someone really wants to study something like Macroeconomics, you aren't going to get a good book that can walk someone through all stages of expertise from an introduction to advanced studies, but with the internet it is easy.

Each student is different and even the best first-world teachers aren't experts in everything, the internet lets them connect to experts to teach things beyond what they ordinarily could.

Re:Books? Paper, Pencils, Teachers? (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 4 years ago | (#32847728)

I think there is so much more to learn using books, paper, pencils and good teachers.

Absolutely - but the key there is the good teachers.
Books, paper, pencils aren't much use if there's nobody to teach you to read or write.
And good teachers are much more expensive and much harder to come by than a bunch of little laptops.

Re:Books? Paper, Pencils, Teachers? (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#32848672)

Do you have any idea how expensive books, paper, and pencils are? My mother taught in schools in the UK, and they could barely afford the books, paper, and pencils that they needed. Teachers are even more expensive.

Yes, it would be great to be able to give these people all of that stuff. It would also be great to give them fibre-optic broadband, nuclear power plants, stable electricity and water grids, and so on. It's not even remotely economically feasible. The point of OLPC is not to give them the best possible help, it's to give them the best affordable help, and hopefully help them get into a position where they can give themselves the best possible help in a generation's time.

All The Cool features? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847540)

What ever happened to all the cool features?

Like mesh networking , solar panel, hand crank.

And all the kids in the small African Villages creating a huge network of knowledge?

And didn't they move to MS Windows for these things?

I thought that the humanitarian OLPC was dead?

Re:All The Cool features? (2, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#32848332)

Mesh networking works great.

As far as I know, the solar panel thing was experimented with, but not produced.

I had a friend at Red Hat who worked on the software for the OLPC. His version had a hand crank. For very real, very important durability reasons it was removed.

Windows is an option, though the default is still Sugar / Linux. I don't know numbers on how many of what have shipped.

1.5 million have shipped, mostly to South America and parts of Africa.

OLPC is still full of engineers out to help the developing world.

3D (1, Funny)

shird (566377) | about 4 years ago | (#32847564)

Seriously, no 3D? How are they expected to use these things without 3D?

If they really want to add something of value, add 3D and include a set of 3D glasses, it's clear this is where the future is headed. The writing is on the wall for 2D, OLPC needs to get with the times.

Lets hear it for glass displays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847634)

from what I have heard... glass is not a very durable material. Just saying... kids are hard on stuff.

Re:Lets hear it for glass displays (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32847672)

My son's DS and iPod touch seem to have survived okay.

Re:Lets hear it for glass displays (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 4 years ago | (#32848066)

"from what I have heard... glass is not a very durable material"

If it wasn't durable, I doubt they'd use it in cars, airplanes, HUGE buildings.

One windoze per kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847734)

Micro$oft charity...

one thing that amazes me (3, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 4 years ago | (#32847738)

One thing that amazes me is how persistent Nicholas Negroponte is. Despite having setbacks, scandals, poor reception of his devices, countries renouncing their support of his project, and as far as I can tell no real success, he still keeps on coming. I don't know if he will accomplish anything with this next model, but if there is anything at all that can be accomplished by giving children one laptop each, this man will accomplish it.

Re:one thing that amazes me (1)

selven (1556643) | about 4 years ago | (#32848748)

1.5 million orders [wikipedia.org] is "no real success"? I find it rather impressive.

Can't buy, don't care. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32847902)

So your project updates its product. Why should I care? You won't sell to me, because I happen to be born in a country that is not on your list. Market segmentation sucks, even if it's done by people who have philantropy shining out their asses.

New rule for American Schoolteachers: (1)

aqk (844307) | about 4 years ago | (#32847904)

Touch, but don't look!

Re:New rule for American Schoolteachers: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32848742)

Also works for the priesthood.

Where can they be bought? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 4 years ago | (#32847964)

It would be nice to be able to buy some, for testing.

Re:Where can they be bought? (4, Informative)

naz404 (1282810) | about 4 years ago | (#32848494)

They can't normally be bought except in large government-level quantities, but if you want to get your hands on one for testing, you can apply for the contributors' program. Basically you submit a project proposal on how you're going to use the units, and it's kinda like a grant except they send you laptop units.

You can volunteer as a developer and if you submit a good project proposal, there's a good chance of being sent some units.

You can check it out and apply here:
http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Contributors_program [laptop.org]
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