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

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

Summary: The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) outlined its future roadmap, including plans for the XO 3.0, a device "well below $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?

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TOPICS: Laptops
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The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) outlined its future roadmap, including plans for the XO 3.0, a device "well below $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?

Gallery: OLPC 3.0 - under $100 laptop

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 (all resources). For instance:

  • XO 1.5 is based on the same industrial design as the 1.0. It will be based on a VIA processor instead of AMD and have more memory. The unit will be available for $200 beginning in January, but pricing will fluctuate with memory prices.
  • XO 1.75 will come a year later with the same design, but with a rubber bumper and an 8.9 inch touch screen. The chip will be an ARM processor from Marvell. Price: $150 or less.
  • In 2012, the XO 3.0 is expected to land and go for less than $100. OLPC is leapfrogging its two-page approach that was announced in May 2008. That 2008 design can be found in the latest Asus e-reader.

Simply put, the OLPC roadmap is one of modest change and a big bang two years from now. What's unclear is whether the computing landscape will render the XO 3.0 an afterthought for emerging markets in two years. What's also unclear is whether the OLPC can forge ahead without turmoil.

Some images to ponder:

Topic: Laptops

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  • Ring me up in two years

    If it is even being built anymoe.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Message has been deleted.

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

    Admirable goals but they are still using the same business plan and therefore destined to fail. Well that and that they want to use ARM processors which will limit the devices abilities to run any OS which will be a huge drawback. Perhaps Intel, MSI, Dell, and others will make a similar but better device (again).
    Loverock Davidson
    • The only OS that will not run on ARM is ...

      Windows.

      ARM support

      1) iPhones OS X
      2) Android
      3) Linux
      4) Symbian
      5) Chrome OS
      mrlinux
      • Exactly

        so it is limiting choice, a choice that everyone wants. If they do not correct this issue and continue to use ARM this tablet will be DOA.
        Loverock Davidson
        • WRONG...

          It will keep Microsoft from sticking their noses in it, so that it can grow.
          mrlinux
          • You are wrong

            without Microsoft it will not grow.
            Loverock Davidson
          • SHUT UP FOOL

            You of ZERO IT experience.
            itanalyst2@...
          • Nope. You are the one in the wrong...

            The whole point behind OLPC is to give these laptops away. This is a non-profit effort. Why would Microsoft try to get Windows to run on a pc they cannot make money off? This is to give a chance to children in developing countries to have some experience with technology. Don't be so ignorant.
            cdiazh
          • Uh, how much has it grown in the past?

            Oh yeah, it hasn't.
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Look, The Resident Racist Has Returned

            Going to make more comments about African children or how subhuman Europeans are?

            Can't wait for the next tirade from the Grand Wizard.
            itanalyst2@...
          • 'Tirade', or Diatribe?

            Or extremely narrow minded, insular, myopic, one trick pony?
            PreachJohn
          • What are you talking about not growing ????

            If it is the OLPC, then yeah MS muscled their way in and screwed up the whole thing.
            mrlinux
        • Unfettered CPU

          The only chip that Microsoft can't charge you to use is ARM. No wonder the MS party faithfull hate it so.
          whisperycat
          • Thats not true

            Windows CE runs on arm! EPIC FAIL!!!!!!!!
            jdbukis@...
          • Yes the old windows CE but not the newer windows mobile...

            Nice Try though .
            mrlinux
          • If it doesn't run Windows

            then people won't use that chip. Simple as that.
            Loverock Davidson
          • ARM processor's are used in a lot of devices...

            that people are using. How about all them there iPhones, it seems to be right popular :)
            mrlinux
          • :)

            Vista?
            http://www.arm.com/markets/mobile_solutions/armpp/24817.html
            Agnostic_OS
      • WINDOWS CE

        I put it in caps so you should be able to understand.
        jdbukis@...