OK, now we're just getting silly. The revamped XO laptop prototype is out, as proposed by the OLPC project. (One Laptop Per Child) The last version got bogged down by infighting between its developers over the choice of operating systems, utilities, software, and of course, the ultimate cost of the units themselves, which skyrocketed over time. Interest is the unit is still high, of course, as many people are captivated with the idea of giving impoverished children worldwide a better chance at an education. OLPC unveiled the XO2 laptop yesterday, and its look, specifications, and pricetag are unbelievable. Literally unbelievable, if you ask us.
The new version loses the green rubbery keyboard, sporting instead a single square display hinged at its centre.
This allows the device to be split into two touch screens that can either mimic a laptop with keyboard or the pages of a book.
"Over the last couple of years we've learned the book experience is key," he said.
The idea is for several children to use the device at once, combining the functions of a laptop, electronic book and electronic board.
"It is a totally new concept for learning devices." said Prof Negroponte.
The new machine will also be more energy efficient, half the size of the first generation device and lighter to carry.
So a dual flatscreen touchpanel laptop the size of a hardcover book, ultralight, immensely durable and using next to no power, with enough horsepower to store 500 hundred ebooks and still function as a computer is going to cost seventy-five bucks in two years. You'll forgive us if we have our doubts. I have an alternate suggestion. Buy a barrel of ink, a printer from Craigslist, a pallet of paper, go to the Gutenberg Project and download 500 public domain masterpiece books, then buy a used pick-up truck to deliver them. It's not sexy, but it might actually happen.