OLPC Reveals XO 2.0, The Sub-$100 Laptop - InformationWeek

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OLPC Reveals XO 2.0, The Sub-$100 Laptop

The XO 2.0, which could sell for as little as $75, is a highly slimmed-down version of OLPC's current XO model and is designed for students that, in some cases, must walk miles to and from school.

One Laptop Per Child chairman Nicholas Negroponte on Tuesday unveiled a prototype of the charity's next-generation, low-cost laptop for poor students in emerging markets.

The device, called the XO 2.0, could sell for as little as $75, Negroponte said at an event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. "This laptop comes from a different point of view," he said.

Indeed, the XO 2.0 is a highly slimmed-down version of OLPC's current XO model and is designed for students that, in some cases, must walk miles to and from school. "Being small is very important," said Negroponte. "The current one is a little too big; it's a little too heavy."

The XO 2.0 features a touch-screen keyboard that can double as a second display when the device is turned on its side like a book, allowing use by more than one student at a time. "It's a totally new concept for learning devices," said Negroponte.

Negroponte said the second display doesn't add significant cost to the XO 2.0 because mass production has lowered prices for display screens. "We're piggybacking on the DVD market," he said.

Negroponte said the XO 2.0 will be ready for production in 2010.

Negroponte and other members of MIT's famed Media Lab launched OLPC in 2005 with the goal of making computer technology available to third-world students. In its efforts to reach a broader market, the group has, of late, shown willingness to work more closely with commercial vendors.

Last week, OLPC reached a deal with Microsoft under which Windows XP will be available as an option on the original XO.

Microsoft will charge OLPC a highly reduced Windows XP licensing fee of $3 per unit under a program Microsoft calls Unlimited Potential. OLPC said it now plans to offer XO models with both the Windows XP and Linux operating systems.

Microsoft said OLPC plans to start testing Windows XP on the XO starting in June.

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