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OLPC Unveils Plans For Tablets By 2012

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the take-two-they're-small dept.

Displays 102

adeelarshad82 writes "The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative outlined its product roadmap for the next three years, a plan that includes the release of tablet-based OLPC by 2012. During the next three years, OLPC plans on releasing two laptops, the first two years' priced around $200 and $150 respectively, before launching a tablet in 2011 for less than $100."

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102 comments

I hate to say it, (0, Flamebait)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538460)

Because I like the idea of the project(and my XO-1); but the only problem in the developing world that this proposed tablet is going to solve is thirst. They'll just be able to break open the press releases and condense the vapor inside into potable water.

what's the point? (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538548)

now that microsoft CEO/suspected cyborg Steve Ballmer nailed this thing, who on /. will care about it anymore? nothing to see here

Re:I hate to say it, (0, Flamebait)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538584)

But even that won't be enough to sustain them, 1 tablet PER CHILD can't condense enough vapour for a town.

This doesn't solve anything really. They have very little water. They have very little food.

I bet a majority of children who recieve a tablet will go to town and sell it so that they might be able to one day buy a goat.

Re:I hate to say it, (3, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538672)

Oh look, it's the obligatory "The whole of the African continent resembles the Serengeti, and everyone lives in a mud hut" comment.

NO U

Re:I hate to say it, (3, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538906)

Oh look, it's the obligatory "The whole of the African continent resembles the Serengeti, and everyone lives in a mud hut" comment.

Yeah, it would probably shock most Americans to learn that there are actual cities in Africa with skyscrapers and neon lights and cell phones. They just don't see those on National Geographic specials -- no doubt because Kenyan accountants aren't as colorful as herd-following Maasai tribesmen, to say nothing of not being very effective at arousing paternalistic western feelings.

A more constructive observation might be that creating jobs in Africa by manufacturing the damn things there would help to address the other problems that stem from poverty, to say nothing of getting around the excessive import duties that will otherwise make even $100 computers unaffordable to most Africans.

Now, mind you, there are Africans living in utter destitution, and we should by all means remember to help them out, too, but if we have higher hopes for our African friends than leaving them waiting for the latest UN food convoy, lending a hand to help their less-deprived neighbors build a stable urban life is a good idea. I'm not sure the OLPC is the way to do it, but it's not a bad idea, and certainly more productive than carping from the sidelines.

Re:I hate to say it, (2, Funny)

samurphy21 (193736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539220)

I agree.. We up here in Canada would love to have some tablets, but where would we plug them in? Our igloos have no electrical and solar chargers are out since we don't get sun for 6 months of the year.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

pwfffff (1517213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539340)

"I agree, EH.. We up here in Canada would love to have some tablets, but where would we plug them in? Our igloos have no electrical and solar chargers are out since we don't get sun for 6 months of the year, EH."

FTFY

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

g4b (956118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30542030)

Here in Austria we now invented flowing water.

We also import chewing gum now.

Still, no Kangaroos here. Thats another desert.

Re:I hate to say it, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30538960)

Oh look, it's the obligatory "The whole of the African continent resembles the Serengeti, and everyone lives in a mud hut" comment.

NO U

That's usually what happens when niggers are in control. Other fine examples of negro statesmanship include Haiti and that whole affair between the Hutoos and the Tutsis. The only reason why South Africa isn't a bunch of mud huts is because white people were in control for quite a while.

By the way, what's "NO U"?? Does it have some significance to you because it means not a damn thing to me.

Re:I hate to say it, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30539132)

You're a nigger

Re:I hate to say it, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30539880)

Can you really blame Westerners for this view of Africa? The extent of the reporting on Africa from NBC/GE/ObamaTV, CBS, and ABC is limited to the times that our celebrities jet over there with media caravan in tow to buy themselves a new baby nigger accessory

Re:I hate to say it, (2, Funny)

fche (36607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538814)

I bet a majority of children who recieve a tablet will go to town and sell it so that they might be able to one day buy a goat.

Certainly, it should help their private, er, social life.

Re:I hate to say it, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30539982)

But at least they'll have landfills comparable to the first world.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540654)

This doesn't solve anything really. They have very little water. They have very little food.

The developing world is not composed exclusively of places with "very little water" and "very little food", and, really, the parts of it that meet those descriptions aren't the principle target for the OLPC. The OLPC is targetted largely for countries where basic subsistence needs aren't the primary concern (if nothing else, because countries where those are the primary needs aren't likely to be able to purchase even cheap computers, though there has been some discussion of the possibility of other countries purchasing OLPC laptops for some of the poorest-of-the-poor countries.)

I think the country currently closest to deploying OLPC on a "one laptop per child" basis is Uruguay, which is -- while a developing country -- far from the kind of situation you describe.

Re:I hate to say it, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30541614)

I live in Peru, and I work with a number of Native Communities here. That is exactly what is happening with many of the OLPC's that get passed out. They get sold for nearly nothing to buy food, clothes, shotgun shells, or pirated DVD's. I get the joke, but there's a lot of truth in your post.

Re:I hate to say it, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30538646)

But, how can we show them goatse [goatse.fr], if they have no computer?

Get some priorities. They can drink when they're dead.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539728)

But, how can we show them goatse [goatse.fr], if they have no computer?

You print it out and erect a billboard?

Wait right there (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540754)

I'm sorry, but "goatse" and "erect" simply don't belong in the same concept.

Re:Wait right there (1)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547046)

Goatse is capable of destroying anything standing errect before it.

HA!

Re:Wait right there (1)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547054)

And spelling fail. I blame the remains of the White Russian in the glass before me, for noticing the red squiggly line under errect (Correct spelling being 'erect') in Firefox after hitting submit.

Note to self: use the 'PREVIEW' button next time...

Re:I hate to say it, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30538760)

Because I like the idea of the project(and my XO-1); but the only problem in the developing world that this proposed tablet is going to solve is thirst. They'll just be able to break open the press releases and condense the vapor inside into potable water.

I know! The entire developing world is living in mud huts with no electricity nor running water, while at the other extreme are first world countries with all the modern conveniences. Yep, there's nothing in between those extremes.

Really, someone should hit you with a clue-by-four.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538818)

Tablets are a solution searching for a problem. The XO-2 was supposed to be a 2 screen (top and bottom) touch-screen computer with no keyboard proper. This is basically a 1 screen version of that.

Now, perhaps the idea is to be a complete paper replacement, but IMO, a lack of physical keyboard just hinders a computer it for any serious use. You just can't input that well without a keyboard and the original design could always be update with a touchscreen without changing much else. They should have kept concentrating on getting the original one down as cheap as possible. Possibly with an ARM chip since they are getting so cheap, on something like a beagle board and making it so cheap that countries wouldn't even have to think about acquiring one. Way less than a $100 even.

Re:I hate to say it, (3, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538986)

> ..making it so cheap that countries wouldn't even have to think about acquiring one..

Exactly. But Negroponte is about PR and vapor, not producing actual solutions or products. It isn't a coincidence that he worked for the UN, a useless institution known for exactly the same flaws.

At his point it should be possible to build an ARM based OLPC style machine for $100 in quantity one, far less when sold by the cargo container.

And once you get past the poorest of the poor, where even basic sanitation is scarce and electricity is virtually unknown, most folks manage to wrangle a TV set. So why not build a $25 computer for them by tucking an ARM into a keyboard and using that existing TV as the output. Not as sexy as pitching a tablet that will likely never actually be built (like his last big idea) but my idea would get a computer into the hands of a billion people by this time next year if somebody ran with it.

Re:I hate to say it, (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540710)

Exactly. But Negroponte is about PR and vapor, not producing actual solutions or products.

So, ignoring the rest of what OLPC has delivered, the 380,000+ computers [worldbank.org] in the hands of Uruguayan students that have raised the average computer literacy of 8 year olds to the average level of 18 year olds prior to the project aren't "actual solutions or products"?

(And, yes, while XO are used, the local project is a lot broader than just getting OLPC laptops -- which is exactly the point of the OLPC project, to enable broader projects in the countries that use it.)

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

Acer500 (846698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30543112)

Exactly. But Negroponte is about PR and vapor, not producing actual solutions or products.

So, ignoring the rest of what OLPC has delivered, the 380,000+ computers [worldbank.org] in the hands of Uruguayan students that have raised the average computer literacy of 8 year olds to the average level of 18 year olds prior to the project aren't "actual solutions or products"?

I happen to be Uruguayan and currently live in Uruguay... and while I endorse the OLPC project in my country (Plan Ceibal), I'd say you're grossly exaggerating its results - we already had a very good literacy prior to it (as in, better than the US), and the XO itself might not even have been the cheapest option.

Though if the OLPC project had not existed, I doubt such a far-reaching and ambitious plan would have been implemented, so even if it was more PR than anything, it WAS important, in making the politician's minds open to the possibility (and it was a HUGE selling point for politicians of the current party in power at the recent elections which they won).

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30544982)

I happen to be Uruguayan and currently live in Uruguay... and while I endorse the OLPC project in my country (Plan Ceibal), I'd say you're grossly exaggerating its results - we already had a very good literacy prior to it (as in, better than the US), and the XO itself might not even have been the cheapest option.

The assessment from the study cited in the article I linked to might exaggerate the results, but note that the reference was to computer literacy, not literacy -- there's a pretty big difference between the two. (And, incidentally, the US has pretty abysmal levels of functional literacy, so if you are using any meaningful measure of literacy to compare with, I wouldn't classify "better than the US" as necessarily "very good" when it comes to literacy.)

and the XO itself might not even have been the cheapest option.

The XO may not be the cheapest (or even, what is more important, cost effective) option, perhaps -- though "might not be" isn't the same as a credible basis for believing that its not -- but certainly, the existence of the XO has spurred lots of efforts by big players in the hardware and software industry whose place would be threatened by widespread adoption of another platform to compete directly with it, and those other companies are defending long-term profit interests that go well beyond the immediate market for the XO and similar devices. But those other choices wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the OLPC project.

And, whether its necessarily the best product or the best solution, its hard to call the XO's that have been delivered, and what they have enabled, not a real product or a real solution.

Though if the OLPC project had not existed, I doubt such a far-reaching and ambitious plan would have been implemented, so even if it was more PR than anything, it WAS important, in making the politician's minds open to the possibility (and it was a HUGE selling point for politicians of the current party in power at the recent elections which they won).

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548030)

we already had a very good literacy prior to it (as in, almost as good as the US), and the XO itself might not even have been the cheapest option.

Fixed [cia.gov] that for you [cia.gov].

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539020)

Now, perhaps the idea is to be a complete paper replacement, but IMO, a lack of physical keyboard just hinders a computer it for any serious use.

Hmm. For the past 3000 years, we've been told the key to education is reading. For the past 30 years, we've been told the key to education is memorizing the UI for a recent version of Excel.

No keyboard means no ability to write, but despite the best daydreams of bloggers around the world, until you're educated you probably have nothing useful to write about anyway...

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540724)

No keyboard means no ability to write

Really? Because I can remember writing without a keyboard.

In fact, plenty of touch-sensitive devices without keyboards are designed for accepting writing as an input method.

Yeah (2, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539100)

I wish it were for real, but their history of late says anything but.

Sugar works fine on other platforms. At least we have that.

Re:Yeah (1)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547090)

Agreed. Great concept, I'll wait for someone else to develop something similar and release it. The two advantages of the OLPC stuff thus far has been rugged design (when closed, no ports are exposed, as well as being more towards the Toughbook-style design than the cheap flimsy laptops we're used to), and an open spec with Free Software. (I think they had to compromise on their wireless card, but their goal was 100% open)

Re:I hate to say it, (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539188)

The problem with the OLPC is the Negroponte is an ivy league moron IMHO. He could have sold it to the first world, gotten the economies of scale on his side, and used the profits to subsidize the third world sales, possibly even bringing the price down to $100 each like originally planned. But what does he do?

He tries to "force" charity with the G1G1 program, instead of selling to the first world in a normal manner (like we don't have poor kids? WTF?) and let the EEE and other Netbooks steal any momentum he could have had, he burns and pisses off the FLOSS community, which he frankly needed more than air to get decent performance out of such a tiny machine, by going with MSFT and putting XP on the things, which BTW as someone who has used every version of every MSFT OS, including WinFlip and XP Embedded, putting MSFT anything on a flash based device is suicide because MSFT never made an OS that don't hit swap like there is no tomorrow, and has just generally burned his bridges and missed every opportunity to make the OLPC into a true "laptop for every child".

So I hope when they go under, which with Negroponte at the helm they will, someone buys the OLPC designs and sells the OLPC to the world. Because there was some really great ideas like the mesh network, the daylight readable screen, and the crank for providing power when in BFN. But sadly it looks like Negroponte has done missed the boat and it will end up being ARM Netbooks [tomshardware.com] that end up breaking the $100 barrier and thus becoming the "laptop for any kid". Sad to see such potential wasted, but Negroponte has pretty much proven, at least to me, that he just don't have what it takes to lead the OLPC to greatness.

BFN? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539778)

Big Something Nowhere?

Re:BFN? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30541050)

Close, but it is Bum F*ck Nowhere, or as we say it here Bum F*ck Arkansas, where good luck getting your cell to work and the roads don't look like they have been worked on since Ike was president. That is why I never understood why he didn't push the OLPC for ALL the world's kids. Does he think there aren't poor Americans that would like a cheap netbook for their kids?

He should come down to the south, where we still have plenty of tarpaper shacks and I wouldn't use some of the schools in the delta for storing stray dogs. Believe me, we got plenty of poor kids that could use an OLPC loaded with textbooks or more likely educational software, since the publishers would never allow textbooks to be sold electronically here without enough DRM piled on top that you would need a quad just to decode them, and they would probably want 35% above textbook cost as well.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540218)

He could have sold it to the first world, gotten the economies of scale on his side

Possibly not. If I understand right, lots of the reason they can be as cheap as they can is that they don't have to pay patent royalties. Most often this is because they are a charity and not directly competing with the patent owner.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540230)

BTW as someone who has used every version of every MSFT OS, including WinFlip and XP Embedded, putting MSFT anything on a flash based device is suicide because MSFT never made an OS that don't hit swap like there is no tomorrow

I have Windows 7 installed on my Eee PC 901. All solid-state drives. Runs fine. It's a little sluggish at times, but perfectly usable. In other words, the cyanide isn't working.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540924)

Did you disable swap? Because there has always been that option. Also I only got Windows 7 in Oct and haven't tried it on flash, so maybe they have gotten better. Of course Windows 7 doesn't really come into this as we are talking about the OLPC which uses WinXP, embedded I do believe.

I have had to work on XP embedded machines and just like the other XP versions it just doesn't matter how much RAM you have (of course with the OLPC we are talking 256Mb which nobody in their right mind would want to run XP on) it is gonna pound the swap like a red headed stepchild. And since we are talking about a device which was intended for the third world, where I doubt easy flash drive replacements are on every corner it seems like the height of stupidity to run XP on such a tiny device with such a small solid state drive.

But I will agree Windows 7 is nice (I can only comment on HP x64, not starter, which would be the Windows 7 you would run on a Netbook) but I doubt VERY seriously you could cut Windows 7 down enough to fit onto the OLPC, and if you did it would probably thrash like mad. The OLPC was just made for an OS with more of a cell phone footprint than a true desktop OS. Hell I Wouldn't even want to run stock Ubuntu on that thing. DSL or Puppy maybe, but not a full desktop OS. It is just too tiny.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30552582)

I am using a cut-down build of Windows 7 Professional on the Eee PC. I had to vLite it because the flash-based Eee PC's boot drive is only 4GB (no matter which configuration you buy). Is the OLPC's smaller than that?

Yes, swap is disabled. It didn't seem to confer any advantage, and there's not really any space on the flash drive for it, so off it goes.

I really do use it as my carry laptop, though. It does what I need it to do (which is MS Office, e-mail, and Web, pretty much).

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30552902)

IIRC the OLPC..let me check...yep, it only has 1Gb! WTF? Hell I wouldn't run an Nlited 2K on just a lousy 1Gb, much less XP or Windows 7! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my Windows 7 HP X64, and am in the process of switching over all my families PCs over to Windows 7, but with specs as low as this thing has I wouldn't run anything past Win98SE! Just look for yourself [wikipedia.org], oh and Merry Xmas!

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

RMS Eats Toejam (1693864) | more than 4 years ago | (#30541540)

he burns and pisses off the FLOSS community

My hero! More people need to tell those pretentious trolls in the FOSS community to get stuffed. The world would be a better place for it.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

blinking_at (126502) | more than 4 years ago | (#30542132)

He could have sold it to the first world, gotten the economies of scale on his side, and used the profits to subsidize the third world sales, possibly even bringing the price down to $100 each like originally planned.

What prevents some other organization/company from producing OLPC laptops? Suppose someone approached OLPC with a request to license the designs and manufacture them for sale, with perhaps some part of the profits going back to OLPC?

In fact, Negroponte's comment seems to indicate that he would be fine with someone else manufacturing the OLPC 3. This might mean that you could actually buy one directly.

Re:I hate to say it, (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30543060)

because MSFT never made an OS that don't hit swap like there is no tomorrow

They did. It's called Windows CE. It used a fixed amount of memory, so it won't page to disk/flash.
I wonder why they chose XP over CE on the OLPC devices. Because CE would be a better fit here.
Then again, CE is just similar to desktop Windows, and barely compatible (besides some special readers for MS formatted files, and ActiveSync to transfer those).

Re:I hate to say it, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30541848)

" I like the idea of the project(and my XO-1); but the only problem in the developing world that this proposed tablet is going to solve is thirst. They'll just be able to break open the press releases and condense the vapor inside into potable water."

Really?
I think the problem is too many people for the remaining resources, just like in the rest of the world.

perhaps they could stick a condom dispenser on this thing and include a planned parenthood video in several different languages.

AC Unveils Plans For First Post by 2010 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30538474)

adeerintheheadlights writes "The One Frosty Per Post (OFPP) initiative outlined its product roadmap for the next three years, a plan that includes the unleashing of a first post by 2010. During the next three years, OFPP plans on releasing first posts to the entire Slashdot user base, before launching a massive deuce in 2011 for less than $100."

Re:AC Unveils Plans For First Post by 2010 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30538690)

a massive duece was elected vice president in 2008.

Tablet for $100 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30538520)

"before launching a tablet in 2011 for less than $100."

Wait, I remember this one!

Re:Tablet for $100 (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538622)

OLPC announces vapour-ware.
ASUS releases actual product a year or two before.
OPLC never materialises.

The cycle continues.

Re:Tablet for $100 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30538634)

The question is, will Arrington sue? After all he must hold the patent on having "thought of that there nifty gadget" first.

pre-doom stock inflation (1)

Draque (1367509) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538608)

This is clearly just a ploy to inflate their own stocks before planet X smashes into the earth in 2012. They don't even need to develop anything at all!

Re:pre-doom stock inflation (1)

sajuuk (1371145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538648)

I still wish we could tag stories on /. with "2012."

Re:pre-doom stock inflation (2, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538878)

What's stopping you? I make up tags all the time ... sometimes they even persist and the story stays tagged that way for hours or more.

Re:pre-doom stock inflation (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538998)

What's stopping you? I make up tags all the time ... sometimes they even persist and the story stays tagged that way for hours or more.

Really? Not once have I ever applied any tag, not even the more standard/common/generic ones, refreshed the Slashdot main page, and seen my tag still in place. My personal user page shows that I used such a tag, but not the main page. I have Excellent karma, frequently receive mod points, and otherwise don't appear to be on any shitlists. I have never received a good explanation for this. Someone somewhere is able to tag stories and have it stay on the main page, else I wouldn't see them there. But not me.

Re:pre-doom stock inflation (1)

sleeper0 (319432) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539906)

I think you need more than one person to apply the tag before it hits the article summary. Tagging appropriate articles with slashvertisement will often (but not always) show up on the article for a short period of time until an editor blocks it. I assume someone else has added it too when it does show up, but I guess I don't really know.

Re:pre-doom stock inflation (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30543544)

IME, you've gotta catch the stories pretty early. Once there are even 20-30 comments it's probably too late for a single instance (yours) of some clever or unique tag to overcome all the other tagging that's already taken place. And unless the tag is genuinely relevant and/or funny, nobody else is going to mimic it and it'll disappear pretty quick.

Reliance on technology as an end in itself? (2, Interesting)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538756)

I still am not entirely sure about this project -- there seems to be more of a reliance on technology as an end in itself, simply crossing fingers for some kind of digital third-world transformation to occur.

Instead of outcomes, they seem to be focusing on outputs, namely laptops distributed. But what are they supposed to do with them practically? Does it give them a pocket library, replacing books if not thousands of books? Will this help them with agriculture? Are there any structured curriculums for learning? Can it do anything with disaster recovery, like help locate food and water? Are there guides on it for setting up sanitation systems and preventing disease?

It seems just to be a bunch of vague educational programs wrapped in sweet talk without any specific outcomes intended.

If you want to see how this turns out, look at America's school system, for example, where there's been at least a 20-year focus on giving every child a computer for the sake of it. Granted, some school systems use technology in an excellent fashion. But how many billions were spent on computers that did nothing more than, on occasion, provide a replacement for typewriters when students needed to type a proper paper?

Let's hope the same doesn't happen here.

Re:Reliance on technology as an end in itself? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539086)

It seems just to be a bunch of vague educational programs wrapped in sweet talk without any specific outcomes intended.

Hasn't that been the American way of education for the past century? We turned out better than they turned out, maybe they should pragmatically give our method a try? An amazing amount of effort has been applied to avoid making that frank admission.

Re:Reliance on technology as an end in itself? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#30542842)

Because of course, apart from education, every other aspect of life in the US and Africa is identical so it must be that they're doing the education stuff wrong...

Re:Reliance on technology as an end in itself? (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539812)

I still am not entirely sure about this project -- there seems to be more of a reliance on technology as an end in itself, simply crossing fingers for some kind of digital third-world transformation to occur.

From the beginning, the OLPC project has been clear that it is an education project in which technolgoy is a means of enabling a particular mode of education, not a project in which technology is an ends.

Instead of outcomes, they seem to be focusing on outputs, namely laptops distributed. But what are they supposed to do with them practically? Does it give them a pocket library, replacing books if not thousands of books?

Yes, one focus of the project has been developing Free (libre) content.

Will this help them with agriculture?

Its not intended to, directly, though if it succeeds either in increasing the quality or (by being a more efficient replacement for other materials) reducing the cost (or both) of education, it is likely to do so as a secondary effect, but improving skill base and/or freeing resources.

Are there any structured curriculums for learning?

There is some work on those in some of the content projects, though, remember, that the prime focus of the OLPC has been to sell to national education ministries. Constructing structured curricula around the provided resources would remain the responsibility of those users, for the most part. (Also, the focus of the OLPC project has been on enabling constructivist education, which has less focus on structured curricula; still, its features are also useful for more traditional education.)

Can it do anything with disaster recovery, like help locate food and water?

Not that I know of. Nor is it advertised or promoted as a disaster recovery tool.

Are there guides on it for setting up sanitation systems and preventing disease?

There's at least one project [appropedia.org] for that, yes.

Re:Reliance on technology as an end in itself? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539870)

"If you want to see how this turns out, look at America's school system, for example, where there's been at least a 20-year focus on giving every child a computer for the sake of it. Granted, some school systems use technology in an excellent fashion. But how many billions were spent on computers that did nothing more than, on occasion, provide a replacement for typewriters when students needed to type a proper paper?"

US students have no real economic incentive to learn (being poor here is inconvenient but tolerable) while African students do.

Not every African will make good use of computers, but the point is to expose enough of them that some of the bright and motivated ones change the future.

Re:Reliance on technology as an end in itself? (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540678)

This is where the Intel Education foundation comes in. They pretty much spend all their time developing classroom and learning materials for teachers and students all over the world. At one point, Intel and OLPC were trying to make a deal to get this material on every OLPC, but that fell apart when they ended up fighting about poaching. Two organizations with laudable goals, and they end up in a bitch fight over territory and minor details.

Anyway, the point is there is more than a little bit of educational material out there but for the asking.

Dupe? (3, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538770)

Weren't these prices posted when OLPC first came out?

Negroponte, please.

Re:Dupe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30539010)

You've been saving that one for a while, huh?

Re:Dupe? (0, Troll)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539580)

Negroponte is a retarded fucktard moronic son of a bitch. Yeah, I'm aiming for troll, fuck that asshole.

Plans for a release... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538850)

At 3x the projected cost, and 4x the timeframe..

Re:Plans for a release... (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538872)

Hi, I'm from 2015. It's 7x the timeframe now.

Re:Plans for a release... (0, Offtopic)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538958)

And my posting of a very appropriate XKCD got modded off topic...

Re:Plans for a release... (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539362)

Horrible when you try to post an overused meme in some attempt to effortlessly score karma and it all goes awry, isn't it? Yes, we know it's 'appropriate'. What you forget is that we've all seen them now. It's like the "Whazzup" thing from so many years ago. It got to the point where someone does it and everyone else in the room just kind of wanted to die.

Half the price (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30538886)

This is about half the price of a PS3. Is it realy that good of a value for what you get, expecially since you cannot buy one in the US, just to mess around with, for that price.

Oh well, just imagine a beowulf cluster of them anyway.

The holy grail... NOT (4, Informative)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539074)

For some reason everyone seems to think a tablet is the holy grail of computing. I can tell you, for most uses they don't add any value. I have owned two of them, and found both to be uncomfortable, and difficult to use. On the other hand, my HackBook Mini (AKA HP Mini 1000 with Snow leopard) gets used daily, and is an absolute pleasure to use.

Tablets seem like a solution in search of a problem to me.

Re:The holy grail... NOT (3, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539274)

Well they're not the holy grail of computing, but they're the natural evolution of the clipboard. A lot of tasks need to be done while moving around, not sitting at a desk. A keyboard doesn't work for those tasks because you'd have to support the netbook with one hand while typing with the other. Clipboards were invented as a combination desk + writing surface for these situations. Tablets are the same thing for computing.

The problem IMHO is people are still trying to make tablets too much like a desktop computer. It needs to be small, thin, light, and of course cheap with rudimentary pen-based data entry. It doesn't need to be a super-powerful computer which can run the latest version of Windows and calculate Pi to 1 million digits in 30 seconds. The most processor-intensive task it should have to handle is handwriting recognition. In that respect I think an OLPC tablet would be closer to the ideal than the 4-pound $1k tablets on the market today (ebook readers are getting there too). Make something which can replace the clipboard, and businesses will buy them in droves, I think.

Re:The holy grail... NOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30539480)

You alluded to it, but I was also thinking that an e-book reader that had a touch screen would be a perfect digital clipboard. Just something that stores notes as plain text files and sketches as SVG files, and not as some shitty proprietary format that can only be read using a half-baked 3rd party Windows-only utility.

Re:The holy grail... NOT (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539504)

I have little doubt the businesses will find uses for tablets. But for that to happen they will need to be made much more rugged. Most businesses will buy an expensive rugged product over a cheep disposable product every time.
Just thinking about it now, perhaps ChromeOS would be a good match for such a device.

Re:The holy grail... NOT (1)

asaz989 (901134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30541132)

Good news, then - I've seen tablets in the construction/architecture business at work sites, and they seem pretty rugged to me...

Re:The holy grail... NOT (1)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547154)

Panasonic Toughbooks? Yeah, but they start at several thousand dollars for the rugged ones...

Personally, I'd just as soon buy 3 of these (even at the $300 they'll come out at) than spend 4 times that for the 'rugged' one. That, or I'd pick up a used Toughbook.

Re:The holy grail... NOT (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30541860)

It doesn't need to be a super-powerful computer which can... calculate Pi to 1 million digits in 30 seconds. The most processor-intensive task it should have to handle is handwriting recognition.

Calculating pi to a million digits is a lot easier for the average computer than performing good handwriting recognition.

People have some pretty warped ideas about what is simple and easy vs. what is complicated and difficult.

Re:The holy grail... NOT (2, Insightful)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539498)

I totally agree that tablets are not all they are cracked up to be (Keyboards ftw!) but in the context of the OLPC they make the most sense. They have the less parts/meterials and you have to remember that the OLPC computers are not used like standard laptops and are made to provide computing to people with minimal education and encourage interaction between the youngsters.

They make music, draw and play games more than word processing in a very hands on fashion. Tablets are also very much like a book - they can be easily passed around amongst a group of kids - which amongst the targeted cultures is very common, they share everything because they very aware of family and community.

I think this solution has found its' problem.

lack of consistency = higher support costs (3, Insightful)

Artifex (18308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539150)

Different hardware models every year, different complete form factor when the tablet gets out... surely these people could take a page from the people who design for corporate laptop orders, and make a rugged model that simply doesn't change for 3-5 years? These poor countries have enough trouble paying for these up front without having to worry about not being able to cannibalize parts among the models when some break.

Not to mention the possibility that the hardware user interface may change enough among the models to require some extra training for teachers of classrooms with mixed hardware.

Oh, and will it will be harder to care for tablets, which don't have a protective cover over them when being carried around? They might be "unbreakable," but what about unscratchable?

Re:lack of consistency = higher support costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30559292)

the XO-1 and XO-1.5 machines are indeed identical externally, sharing the original rugged case. the planned ARM-based XO-1.75 will also share that case, though there may be some minor deviations. the XO-3 should really be considered a concept model, much like the XO-2 which it seems to be replacing. just as the XO-1 spawned a bunch of act-a-like products and effectively created the netbook market, the XO-3 should be seen as a challenge to the industry.

XO-1.5/1.75 shipping? (2, Insightful)

soupforare (542403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539180)

How about we get the 1.5 and 1.75 boards/machines shipping before this absolutely insane concept gets press releases. Looking at the specs and mockups, I think Ol' Nick has completely lost it. He's doing more damage to an already ailing charity, someone needs to shut him up.

Where have I heard this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30539330)

"..before launching a tablet in 2011 for less than $100."

Didn't they also promise a notebook for under $100? How did that turn out? How's the distribution of said notebook to the children in developing nations going?

Re:Where have I heard this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30541676)

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

can you actually buy an OLPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30539406)

last time I looked you still could not just buy one from them. maybe if they made them available for general sale the business model would work better.

More photos (2, Insightful)

davide marney (231845) | more than 4 years ago | (#30539766)

over at PC World [pcworld.com]. Actually, I like the idea of the XO-3. Sure, it's totally blue-sky, but it's great to have at least one outfit taking a completely clean-slate design approach to mobile computing.

I like the hinged-panel XO-2 and MS Courier better, however. I think it's just more practical to have one part of the screen that can tilt up into the light. That said, the ring thingy of the XO-3 is interesting, too. I hadn't really thought about the mechanics of trying to hold a panel with one hand while touching with the other.

Remember 10/GUI [10gui.com], Clayton Miller's 10-fingered touch screen interface? Imagine a flexible 10/GUI touch pad that could be pulled out from under the XO screen. That might be interesting.

Over at OLPC News (1)

cerebralpc (705727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540146)

"We don't necessarily need to build it," Negroponte told Forbes. "We just need to threaten to build it."

CherryPal just announced it's Africa Netbook available for sale today through it's website for a retail price of just $99, something that OLPC had promised years earlier and failed to deliver upon. While it is certainly not developed to live up to the specifications of the XO, the Africa Netbook does boast:

7-inch display

400MHz processor

256MB memory

2GB flash storage

Linux or Windows CE

4 hour battery

olpcnews.com

optimistic pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30540718)

Cause keyboards are that expensive.

One really crappy laptop per child (1, Funny)

NewsWatcher (450241) | more than 4 years ago | (#30540832)

It all sounds so fantastic, that all children should have access to a laptop.

Well, recently I was in the tiny Pacific country of Niue, where every child actually has a laptop.

More than that, basically the entire nation (of 1,500 people) is a wireless hotspot, so every child can access the internet.

But don't be misled, the laptops given to the children perform about three functions. They do connect to the internet, but even doing something as simple as a google search is next to impossible, because the speed is so slow.

If you don't mind using a keyboard that looks like a child's toy (huge letters that require a few fingers to press, thus making typing impossible) and a screen that is tiny, I guess you could use a notepad to write a school essay.

Perhaps they achieved what every third world nation seems to want, one laptop per child, and have bragging rights as the first place on earth to do this, but surely the next step should be "one half decent laptop per child".

Fuck Negroponte (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30542206)

Fuck Negroponte, fuck OLPC, the children can go to hell....

When is that laptop going to be released? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30553334)

Hopefully the laptop will be able to run duke nukem forever.

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