Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Will the XO laptop computer technology revolutionize laptop computing?

One Laptop Per Child's XO (commonly referred to as the $100 laptop) is designed to change the world by bringing computing resources to children in the developing world. But the many innovations in the XO may also end up changing the world of technology.

Here is an article that takes a really close look at the OLPC project's XO computer, which is just about to go into production on a large scale:

Meet the XO
[...] Put simply, the XO is one of the most revolutionary computer systems that I've seen in some time. The entire time I was looking at the XO, I was thinking, why can't my new expensive laptop do this? The technologies that the OLPC's XO are introducing could go a long way towards changing the face of future systems, especially in the area of power consumption.

However, we shouldn't expect to see the OLPC start commercializing these technologies anytime soon. While there is still a possibility that XO's may be sold to the public at a price that helps subsidize their deployment to the developing world, Jepsen said that when people from Silicon Valley ask her about commercializing the XO's technologies, she says, "Get in line, you have a billion kids in front of you."

But simply by doing what they've done, the OLPC will change the laptops and systems that we will all be seeing in the near future. The XO is changing the rules of the game, and everyone will expect other manufacturers to start offering capabilities comparable to the XO (especially at premium prices).

In this article, I'll cover the core innovations I saw in both the hardware and software capabilities of the XO. By the end of this article you may be jealous of the computing resources that will be in the hands of some lucky kids in the developing world. But right now they need it more than you do. [...]

(Bold emphasis mine) The technology this machine uses is nothing short of amazing. The screen that is readable in bright sunlight is itself a marvel. But it's power usage and management is also amazing. It runs on such little energy, that a cheap solar panel can power it.

It runs on a average of 2 watts. It can go for 10 hours on a single charge. See the article for all the details, it's wonderful.

Will we have to wait forever for such a product to become available commercially? Perhaps not:

OLPC XO on Sale for Christmas Computer Buyers?!

Apparently it is being considered, as a way to fund the program. Wouldn't that be neat!

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