Will this laptop
change the world?
The One Laptop Per
When you Child’s XO may change
deployment around the world.
f i r s t s e e the face of future I recently had the opportu-
the XO, the systems nity to spend some time at the
thought that offices of the One Laptop Per
immediately jumps Child project, in Cambridge,
to mind is “kid’s toy.” Mass. I tested the final beta
With its bright green version of the XO, called B4,
color, built-in carrying and spoke with OLPC Presi-
handle, funny rabbit ears dent Walter Bender and Chief
and rubber membrane Technology Officer Mary Lou
keyboard, it looks like Jepsen.
something that Fisher- Based on earlier examinations
Price might produce. of the OLPC laptop, I expected
But when you pick to be impressed simply by the
it up, you realize how system’s economy, low-power
sturdy and well built the capabilities and wire-
One Laptop Per Child’s less mesh features.
XO is. And when you turn it But what I saw
on, you discover that you e x c e e d e d t h e s e
are connecting wire- expectations.
lessly to the Internet Put simply, the
and to other XO users XO is one of the most
who are creating a local revolutionary computer
network. You find lots of systems that I’ve seen in
software designed for kids, but some time. During the
you also find some groundbreaking entire time I was looking at
collaboration tools that let you work BY JIM RAPOZA the XO I was thinking, ‘Why
with others in ways that outshine can’t my new expensive laptop
some of the best corporate group- of the wattage considered “green” do this?’ The technologies that the
ware available today. for other laptop systems. OLPC’s XO are introducing could go
Oh, and even though the bright This is the XO, a system born a long way toward changing the face
sunshine is beating down on the when Massachusetts Institute of of future systems, especially in the
laptop screen, you’re having no Technology legend Nicholas Negro- area of power consumption.
trouble reading the display. In fact, ponte set out to build a $100 laptop However, we shouldn’t expect
not only is the bright sunlight not that could be distributed to children to see the OLPC start commer-
a problem, it’s actually a benefit and schools in developing coun- cializing these technologies any
because it is powering the XO tries. And while the finished XO time soon. While there is still a
through a small, low-cost solar product didn’t make the$100 target possibility that XOs may be sold
cell. Come to think of it, the XO price (it’s currently coming in at to the public at a price that helps
doesn’t need much power to begin about $175), it’s priced right for subsidize their deployment to the
with because it runs at a fraction mass distribution and is ready for [CONTINUED ON PAGE 46]