The XO-1 is first notebook PC from the One Laptop Per Child project. The mission of OLPC is:
“To create educationalÂ opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. When children have access to this type of tool they get engaged in their own education. They learn, share, create, and collaborate. They become connected to each other, to the world and to a brighter future.”
Ambitious. But without ambition you’re not going to change the world. So was Nicholas Negroponte successful? This can be considered a scientific (and economic) experiment but it is not. Success will come from the children who receive the XO-1. Have they benefited? Are they learning? And do they enjoy learning? Are these children exposed to tools and concepts that help them and enhance their chances of breaking out of poverty? I don’t know if these questions can be definitively answered, but my guess is the answers are more positive than negative.
Nicholas Negroponte’s original vision was to sell $100 notebook PCs to the parts of the world that are not as fortunate as others. The XO-1 ballooned to a $200 notebook PC but there are some very interesting features such as a dual-mode LCD: black and white for high-resolution content and a slightly lower resolution color screen.
OLPC also launched its now signature Give One/Get One (G1G1) program where you purchase the Xo-1 for $399 to give a laptop to a child in the developing world and you get one too. For $199 you can simply give a XO-1 to a child in the developing world. OLPC has stated the G1G1 a success with over 150,000 XO-1s produced in 2007. 2008 results have not been announced but given the economic woes I’m not sure what to expect.
Negroponte might get another chance at making his original vision of a sub-$100 notebook PC a reality. He and OLPC is working on the next-generation XO-2. It will have a dual-screen and cost just $75. The XO-2 can be used in portrait mode to be used like a book and in landscape mode to be used like a traditional notebook PC.
Hardware development will be open sourced–the opposite of how the XO-1 was developed. Open source hardware development was decided to catalyze greater adoption. The displays will have touch capabilities and the display that will be used as the keyboard will have haptic feedback.
In an interview with The Guardian he states:
“One important thing about the XO-2 is that we’re going to do it as an open source hardware programme. The XO-1 was really designed as if we were Apple. The XO-2 will be designed as if we were Google – we’ll want people to copy it. We’ll make the constituent parts available. We’ll try and get it out there using the exact opposite approach that we did with the XO-1.”
For $75 the XO-2 will definitely be a huge success. Not only will it be the perfect e-book reader it will be the netbook that will out-netbook all other netbooks, including Sony’s P. Why? If you can use a display for a keyboard, support for international keyboards will be a non-issue. As an e-book reader the dual screen cannot be beat since it will feel just like a book. Start up the G1G1 program and I’ll take 5: one for each member of my family.