OLPC sets roadmap for big bang in 2012: Will it remain relevant?

One Laptop Per Child initiative set to release XO 3.0, a device "well below US$100" and utilizes a design that mimics a piece of paper. Will it still matter?

The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) has outlined its future roadmap, including plans for the XO 3.0, a device “well below US$100″ and utilizes a design that mimics a piece of paper. The aim of the XO 3.0 is to leapfrog previous generations. Will it matter?

The OLPC made a big splash and has distributed laptops to 1.4 million kids. But it lacks the distribution heft of larger players—think Intel’s Classmate effort. The larger question is whether the OLPC can provide a leapfrog device that’s more than two years away (statement, Techmeme). Meanwhile, will the OLPC be relevant in two years?

A few years ago such as question would be ridiculed. Today, the OLPC is in a different light. Christopher Dawson highlights the conundrum. He named the OLPC's XO laptop the best and worst in education tech for the decade--an assessment I agree with. Dawson explains:

The One Laptop Per Child efforts singlehandedly created the netbook market segment, drove Intel to create its outstanding Classmate PCs, innovated on the user interface and power consumption fronts, demonstrated how not to run a business, and proved that without support and infrastructure, all the constructivist learning theory in the world was only marginally useful.

In a statement, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte lays out a roadmap that's full of incremental upgrades. Negroponte is hoping others follow the OLPC design.

Read more of "OLPC sets roadmap for big bang in 2012: Will it remain relevant?" at ZDNet.com.

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