[LINK] One laptop per child goes for the tablet
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Sat May 29 10:08:57 AEST 2010
One Laptop Per Child jumps on tablet bandwagon
May 28, 2010 - 4:50AM
The nonprofit organisation that has tried to produce a $100 laptop
for children in the world's poorest places is throwing in the towel
on that idea - and jumping on the tablet and Android bandwagos.
One Laptop Per Child's next computer will be based on chipmaker
Marvell Technology Group's Moby tablet design. Marvell announced a
prototype of the device this year and said it costs about US$99 ($116).
Nicholas Negroponte, founder of <http://www.laptop.org>One Laptop Per
Child, is optimistic his organisation will be able to keep the price
under $100 in part because Marvell plans to market its tablets widely
to schools and health care institutions.
"We want to see the price drop, and volume is the key to that,"
The quirky green and white XO laptop sold by One Laptop Per Child
(OLPC) to governments and organisations in countries such as
Afghanistan and Uruguay wasn't destined for such a broad audience.
OLPC had to repeatedly scale back expectations for how many of the
laptops it could produce, and it didn't get the price much below
US$200, twice the price specified by the device's "$100 laptop" nickname.
In 2005, Negroponte envisioned having built 100 million laptops in
about two years. Today, two million of the machines are in use.
The XO was also more expensive to produce than a tablet would be
because of its many moving parts and features meant to withstand
glaring sun, blowing sand and spotty access to electricity. In some
cases, OLPC had to change the XO's design by region. For example, the
physical keyboard had to be customised for students in countries that
don't use a Latin alphabet. It would be less expensive to change the
software behind touch-screen keyboards.
Marvell's co-founder, Weili Dai, said the company has also found ways
to cut costs in the way it's designing the chips.
The new tablets will have at least one, and maybe two, video cameras.
They'll sport Wi-Fi connections, multi-touch screens and have enough
power to play high-definition and 3D video. Marvel hopes to make the
screens 8.5 x 11 inches (21.6 x 28 centimeters), the size of a
standard sheet of paper in the US. Unlike Apple's iPad tablet, the
device will also work with plug-in peripherals such as mice.
Negroponte said he eventually wants the tablets to run some version
of the free Linux PC operating software. But the first generation of
the "XO 3.0" tablet will likely use Android, the mobile-device
operating system from Google, or something similar.
Although his group worked with Microsoft to get its Windows operating
system running on the XO laptops, Negroponte said the new tablets
will not use Windows 7 because the software requires too much memory
and computing power.
Negroponte said he plans to unveil the tablet device at the annual
International Consumer Electronics Show in January.
The One Laptop Per Child project has its share of skeptics who have
questioned the possibility of manufacturing a laptop for $100 and the
point of providing computers to countries that lack basic infrastructure.
Even so, OLPC's work turned competitors' attention to the growing
technology market in developing countries. Companies including Intel
came up with their own designs for inexpensive laptops for kids,
while other organisations figured out ways to turn regular desktop
computers into multiple workstations, drastically cutting costs for
school computer labs and internet cafes.
The scramble to produce inexpensive laptops for kids in developing
countries also helped prime the pump for the recent flood of
"netbooks," which are smaller, cheaper and less powerful than laptops.
Negroponte said the last few months have been a turning point for his group.
"People are no longer asking 'Does this work?'" Negroponte said. "The
one question I hear all the time is, how do I pay for it? How do the
This story was found at:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer
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