OLPC XO Laptops Authorized for Mass Production


The One Laptop per Child organization (OLPC) this week authorized the mass production of its centerpiece XO laptop. The final model is based on the XO B4 (Beta-4) design. According to OLPC, the authorization begins a production process that will see the final laptops roll off assembly lines in October.

The stated objective of OLPC, which was started by MIT faculty, is to "design, manufacture and distribute laptops that are sufficiently inexpensive to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education." The pricing goal for the laptops is $100 initially, although OLPC, in it's announcement yesterday, did not specify a final price for the B4-based XO models.

It did, however, provide details on updated specifications for the laptops, which are designed for a wide range of scenarios--from rainforests to deserts, in harsh sun, dust, rain, and environments where access to electrical sources may not be readily handy. Some of these specs include:

  • A display readable in bright sunlight;
  • A new hinge for easy adjustment to the viewing angle;
  • Increased ruggedness, with a WiFi antenna that can withstand falls up to five feet;
  • Alternative power sources for the unit, including a pull cord and solar panel; and
  • Enhanced energy management with more than 12 hours of battery life in some conditions.

Some of the internal specs have also been upgraded since last we checked in with OLPC, including now a 433/333 MHz AMD Geode LX-700 processor, 256 MB SDRAM, 1 GB NAND flash media storage, improved graphics processing, and various other improvements.

According to OLPC, "The B4 machines are the result of a collaborative effort between OLPC, AMD, Brightstar, BT, Citigroup, Chi Mei Corp., eBay, Google, Intel, Marvell, News Corp., Nortel, Quanta Computer, Red Hat, SES Astra, Underwriters Laboratories, and the global Open Source community."

The organization said the B4 machines will continue to undergo testing around the world in pilot schools using B2 machines and by volunteers and developers.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at [email protected].

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at [email protected].

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .