Nicholas Negroponte's nonprofit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project reported Monday that it has authorized mass production of its XO laptop. The decision triggers the supply chains of the some 800 parts used for the laptop that is targeted for use by children who can't afford traditional PCs.
The production runs are based on the release of OLPC's Beta-4 (engineering model.
In announcing the mass production approval, OLPC said the Beta-4 features three major innovations:
- Fully readable in bright sunlight, the B4 offers a paper-like reading experience for users. A new hinge lets users tilt the laptop's screen to take advantage of an optimum reading angle.
- Ruggedly durable, the B4 is constructed to tolerate severe weather and environmental conditions as well as falls from as high as five feet. "They can be used outdoors -- where children tend to spend most of their time, in the rain, sitting in a puddle or water after a downpour, or in a cloud of dust," the OLPC announcement stated.
- Powered by numerous alternative energy sources, the B4 laptops can be run by pull cords, solar panels, or multi-battery charges, among other measures.
The initial deployments of the laptop will feature AMD Geode LX processors. "Since the inception of the XO laptop more than two years ago, AMD has been committed to helping the One Laptop Per Child program succeed," said Gustavo Arenas, AMD's corporate VP for high-growth markets and innovation, in a statement.
Arenas noted that the B4 complements AMD's 50x15 initiative, which has a goal of enabling 50% of the world's population to have affordable and Internet-accessible connectivity and computing capability by 2015.
Other companies collaborating on the OLPC effort include Brightstar, BT, Citigroup, Chi Lin Technology, eBay, Google, Intel, Marvell, News Corporation, Nortel, Quanta Computer, Red Hat, SES, Astra, Underwriters Laboratories, and the global Open Source community.