Even More Recent News:
OLPC XO 1.75 only draws two watts of power, finally charges via hand crank - Jan 9, 2011.
gives $5.6 million grant for XO-3 tablet
One Laptop's now shipping dual-boot: Sugar Learning for school, GNOME for more apps
One Laptop Set to offer $100 Tablet running Android
OLPC should have an XO-3 prototype ready by the end of the year (2010)
One Laptop Per Child - Android, meet Dr. Negroponte - ZDNet May 29, 2010
Recent News: One Laptop per Child targets Middle East and E Africa - "The partnership between One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and the East African Community (EAC) aims to deliver 30 million laptops in the region by 2015."
Update: New Concept Pictures of the XO-3, The $75 One Laptop per Child Prototype!
I'm sure you've probably heard of a netbook by now. They're devices that are small laptops with long battery life, and in the United States typically cost less than $500, sometimes as low as $250.
It turns out this trend of smaller laptops dates back long before 2007 when ASUS announced their Eee PC.
Apple's eMate 300 released in March in 1997, came before the time of widespread wireless networking ( Wi-Fi got its consumer start around 2000 ). Although the eMate did not take off in sales, it was sturdy, had a touch-sensitive screen, and the battery lasted an amazing 28 hours. (You can find a great read about the Apple eMate 300 here.)
There's a huge time gap between 1997 (Apple's eMate) and 2007 (ASUS's Eee PC). One visionary man, Nicholas Negroponte, from the MIT Media Lab, had a great idea he announced in 2005. The idea was to build a low cost, reliable laptop to use to aid in education of children in developing countries.From CNN.com "Laptops bring lessons, maybe even peace:":
The laptop was expected to cost about $100 each when produced in large quantities. While it wouldn't be as powerful as a $1000 laptop, its capabilities would be quite sufficient for schoolchildren.
The project, called One Laptop Per Child, became a reality, and has shipped about one million so far, although the cost, for the time being, is closer to $200 per laptop.
photo credit: Todd Huffman
From the Amazon.com XO "Questions -- Common Questions" page:
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is part of what got me so interested in making this entire web site.
The laptop, known as the XO-1, is already being used by other 30 countries around the world, and it can be adapted for learning around the world and is customizable to pretty much any language. It has built-in wireless technology running Wi-Fi compatible technology and runs at a much lower wattage than our netbooks, allowing the battery to last for quite some time.
The next major release of the One Laptop Per Child project is been envisioned for 2012 as a tablet-style learning device with color touch-screen. For the time being, while this new version is being developed, OLPC will continue to ship, service, and study the XO-1.It appears the leaders of the project, are quite pleased that their vision has driven down laptop prices to consumers (as we're seeing netbooks in the United States as inexpensive as $250):
in the interview BBC - dot.life: Can a laptop change the world?, Rory Cellan-Jones writes:
So it was something of a surprise when I met David Cavalllo who runs OLPC's operations right across Africa and he told me, "We don't want to be a laptop company." But, as we discussed the project's future over a beer in a Kigali hotel, I came to understand what he meant. One Laptop Per Child isn't really about hardware or software, it's about a philosophy of education. In any case, the idea of small low-cost laptops has proved so compelling that the computer industry has picked it up and run with it:
"If the market creates low-cost high quality machines, all the better - that's a huge success," Cavallo told me, though he appeared dubious that the likes of Intel would provide products that Africa could afford.
OLPC will now concentrate on making its laptops cheaper and even less power-hungry - and I got the impression that the shiny touch-screen prototype unveiled a year ago might never become a reality. But the real focus will now be on promoting the project's central idea, that children learn better when they are active and involved.
Some sidenotes on the project: The laptops were initially scheduled to drop to price of about $100 per unit, but in the current volumes appear to still be closer to $200 (hence Amazon asking $199 for one donation). Once there are enough donations for millions they will drop down in cost.
The screen of the XO-1 is only 7.5 inches yet an amazing 1200x900 resolution, better than some of our $300 netbooks here in the United States. For the technologically inclined, there is a great feature description of the XO-1 on Wikipedia. The laptop uses about 2W of power in typical use. Compare that to a 60W lightbulb or a 15W CFL efficient bulb... pretty amazing.
The XO-1 model laptops run a version of Linux, but may be able to run a specialized version of Windows XP.
My personal interest in the project is this. The newest netbooks coming out are beginning to have touchscreen capabilities, such as the ASUS Eee PC T91MT. Children are intuitive and the possibilities for learning through a touch-interface computer, light enough to hold, but responsive enough keep their interest, yet interact with their peers and teachers, could, in my opinion, completely revolutionize education.