First Look: OLPC XO-2

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I am here this morning in Cambridge, Mass., at OLPC's Global Country Workshop. Opening the conference this morning was OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte, who announced the second generation of the OLPC XO laptop, which will be called the XO-2. Negroponte didn't share many details about the XO-2's hardware, but the new system has two touch-sensitive displays. As you can see from the video and the pictures, the XO-2 will be much smaller than the original machine (half the size, according to the press release) and will have a foldable e-book form factor. "The next generation laptop should be a book,” Negroponte said. The XO-2 will employ the dual indoor-and-sunlight displays, which was pioneered by former OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen. The design will provide a right and left page in vertical format, a hinged laptop in horizontal format, and a flat, two-screen continuous surface for use in tablet mode. "Younger children will be able to use simple keyboards to get going, and older children will be able to switch between keyboards customized for applications as well as for multiple languages," the press release reads. The XO-2 will also reduce power consumption to 1 watt. According to Negroponte, the XO-2 is scheduled to be released in 2010. Negroponte ended his speech by announcing that the Give 1, Get 1 program, which allows consumers to give one laptop to a child in the developing world and get a low-cost laptop for themselves, will start up again in August or September 2008. [flq:d56ea0489c794d5e89041acbcf64a485]

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  • yoetama Says:

    electronic goods are good, especially if developed by the creative hands would be better and useful also not boring.

  • Huzaim Says:

    the product is maxaaa

  • JohSm Says:

    I was just wondering,

    iPad - did they steal the conceptual design partly from the XO3?

    Maybe Apple should give some of their enormous profit to this project or add an option to support the development of the XO3 for each iPad they do sell!

    When the XO3 was initially discussed everybody was thinking that it was impossible to produce such a product/device, today it's not! It's basically allready here!

    Why don't ask Apple to convert the iPad to an cheap XO3 / XO4 version:

    Make it more resistant to water / sunlight and smudge and attach a solar panel to it!
    (Simply an industrial version of the iPad)

    Remove some memory, less is cheaper!
    Replace the display panel, scratch proof, optimized for sunlight and outdoor usage!
    Replaceable battery, changeable higher capacity!
    Use cheaper components for wireless.
    Reuse the iPhone 3GS instead of the iPadchipset, maybe cheaper and it would not compete with the iPad performance.

    Use an open version of the "iPhone/iPad" OS, with free development tools but keep some compatibility!

    Then you are clear to go! (You don't need to re-invent it all.)


  • adetola adelu Says:

    I heard about xo,but yet to afford one for my children. you may be of help to get 3 olpc across to me,thanks

  • stella Says:

    wow,it is so cool!I am eagerly awaiting to see the face!

  • arg0 Says:

    multi-touch is not just software on common touchscreens. The commonly used touch-screens have a XY-electrode grid which suffers from "shadow" points in case of multi-touch, i.e. simultaneously pressing 1 and 9 on a touch keypad yields the same signal as pressing 3 and 7. Therefore, multi-touch on a normal display only works for very specific applications (when no triangle formed by any 3 multi-touchable points has a right angle and an edge parallel to the X or Y axis) and, on a keyboard, would require ad-hoc placement of keys, i.e. re-training.
    To make those touch screens true multi-touch, you need to read out electrode lines/columns individually, which in most cases requires changes in the electronics.

  • arg0 Says:

    A full virtual keyboard, besides the ergonomic issues, needs multi-touch, otherwise you'll have to settle for "sticky" modifier keys (shift, ctrl, alt...), which is awkward: e.g., think of uppercase letters, symbols, copy&paste...

  • Muse Says:

    I recall reading this 6 months ago, but now am working on a couple funded projects having to do with energy awareness in the states. We are buying netbooks because they are cheaper than creating custom hardware for the first stage roll-out. Second stage roll-out could by in the 1000s to 10,000's of units. The programmable touch panel for keyboard is perfect for our purposes.

    As for touch typing. Anyone my age isn't qualified to comment because we are too vested in the old way of doing things. I learned to touch type on a manual keyboard which had (and still has) the keys arranged to slow the typist down so that the hammers wouldn't get stuck. Attempts with more efficient arrangements, like the Dvorak or Maltron layout never took off. Such physical devices were too personal to share and not portable. Back when I worked on desktops systems all day, I had a split keyboard that worked well, but now I use a laptop, which means that typing is harder, once again. Fortunately, I have a Wacom tablet to ease the the cut, paste, and arrange tasks.

    With a dynamic keypad, multi-touch, and some coding Python, I will personally make sure that such a device has a Maltron-style layout, where each finger has one column and each thumb has one row. Match that with predictive autocorrect, and you'll have text input arrange that is *easier* than the status quo, not less!

  • superman Says:

    seems pointless to send starving kids laptops.

  • Maxim Says:


    personally I think its a great idea, however its a bit to little to late. now before you all start jumping out of your seat pulling hair and calling me an idiot, read to the end... :)

    the dual screen PC is not an innovation, there were attempts to produce just such a device in the past by Asus and other companies. now that doesn't mean its not a good idea, just a good old idea.
    second, i see a lot of people saying the low power device availability is a problem. well i have to disagree, there have been and will be in the future many low power consuming devices out there that can be integrated into this kind of device and today processor technology is making advancements at an astronomical rate so is not difficult to imagine this computer in action well sooner then 2010.
    three, people can complain all they want about DVD screens been low rez and low quality, but i for one think that portable DVD screens are good enough. there are many models out there that can be used and besides, there are plenty low cost solutions out there.
    four, multi touch... well for some reason people think that multi touch is some sort of miracle invention that cant be duplicated since apple came out with the iphone, well brothers and sisters here it is. multi touch IS SIMPLE SOFTWARE, if a 14year old kid on youtube can make his tablet become a multi touch with just a few software changes, or a guy can make a multi touch sketch pad out of a shoe box then its that simple!

    in short, the guys at OLPC have promised to give us Star trek like computer of the future.. well i salute them for that. but lets all remember that the technology to do so was around for far longer then we realize, the reason it wasn't implemented till now is pure economics, why bother market a new type of invention if the old one has not yet paid of its dev. costs...

  • JohSm Says:

    Two more options to att to the XOXO :

    First why don't use a cheap longrange radio transmitter for the datacommunication (As an alternative to the wireless chipset.) Back to basic cheap FM/AM transmitters, coudn't you use a built in "CB-Radio / WalkiTalki" and lower the transmission rate to 75 or 300 baud to get a longrange wireless chat network?

    Or maybe just build in an AM and RTTY receiver that gets information and news feeds/updates world wide on some fixed frequencies around the globe....

    Then information and news would be easy to distribute at a low cost!

    In the 3'rd generation i guess a "XO-3 model" would also incorporate a LCD projector as the sizes of those now are really small, a GPS receiver and Memory card reader to hold add on programs / books etc


  • Doesn't Matter Says:

    I think it is a brilliant Idea, and where I live - Dubai UAE.. it would work wonders... I myself am a westerner, living here, but this is a brilliant idea, and I would definately buy on in an instant.

  • Fredrick Amankwah Says:

    PLeaze Send ME A LAPTOP

  • Karama Says:

    Find like minds at the XO Users Group -

  • suana Says:

    alguin sabe si se comercializan en argentinaq. quiero una ya!!

  • Olav Says:

    Too bad OLPC got corrupted by M$.

    The modified linux OS looked so easy to use for children.

  • kamranovna Says:

    "I’ve been using an XO for a while and I can see it’s potential to profoundly affect education around the world, when it’s finished. It is not yet the complete article (no ebook activity for starters), dodgy keyboards, two ’spare’ touch pads and a physical design that rapidly looses it’s strength and robustness after a couple of disassemblies (by the way, removing the keyboard from a regular laptop is far, far easier than doing the same with a XO)."

    1) it reads .pdf files -- what more ebook do you want?
    2) disassemblies?!? Who, especially in the market they were designed for, does that? I've had mine since they first came out, have commuted and traveled internationally with it, still looks brand new. Of course, I'm not taking the thing apart repeatedly...

    @all the naysayers who've commented:
    I handed mine to my twelve year-old niece, and in fifteen minutes she was programming little things in the python activity. She had no problem figuring out what to do with the xo, or in learning from using it. As for myself, I put OpenOffice on it, and use it as I would a regular laptop. For about $500.00 less. So yeah, I'll be more than happy to try the new one out.

  • superdrochka Says:

    Hack again?!

  • markb Says:

    Of course the OLPC foundation can do whatever they like, but by holding such public showings they invite comment.
    I've been using an XO for a while and I can see it's potential to profoundly affect education around the world, when it's finished. It is not yet the complete article (no ebook activity for starters), dodgy keyboards, two 'spare' touch pads and a physical design that rapidly looses it's strength and robustness after a couple of disassemblies (by the way, removing the keyboard from a regular laptop is far, far easier than doing the same with a XO).

    why not spend time and effort completing the XO 1 project, rather than diverting precious resources on the next-big-thing, unless the XO is already considered obsolete?

  • yvonne Says:

    this is so cool i cant wait for this to come out i want one so bad !!!

  • Internet? Says:

    MAN, Im wondering IF there is internet on it!! WIll someone plz answer my question?! like does it have google and email and stuff like that on it??????????????????????????????????????????????????????? I think it does but Idk for SURE ........ I WANT ONE SOO BAD, (only if it has internet)

  • Touch what? Says:

    The XO1 had a keyboard with key spacing sized for children's hands, so that they could learn to touch type while they were learning about their computer.
    The XO2 has a keyboard that could only be thought up by adult males who didn't take typing in high school and whose only real means of communication is their PDA. Thus, to them, a touchscreen keyboard is really cool because it is just like the one they are used to, only larger.


  • Ptk Says:

    except a little'd be 8.5" by 11" by 3/4 " when folded...and it'd only have one touch screen....

    we got it to come out to about $165 to manufacture, though...

  • Ptk Says:

    F____!!! THIS WAS MY IDEA!!!

  • SomeDude Says:

    Yes this is all good, but will it blend?

  • AccountabilityThisTime? Says:

    How about making sure the Get 1 side of the equation gets all the advertised features as the Give 1 side of the equation?


    Oh great, this will be good for the kids to use the handcrank. SURPRISE, no handcrank in your Get 1 sucker.
    Ooooh solar panels for when you are tired of cranking; SURPRISE haven't confirmed but most likely missing.
    Reflective screen for outdoor viewing; SURPRISE haven't confirmed but most likely missing.
    G Shock protection; SURPRISE better not drop it; there is a warning to that effect (BUT THEY KEEP ADVERTISING IT WITH A BALANCING ACT ON THE KID's HEAD) You know our kids don't have that kind of practice. WTF?

    No, I didn't tell the kids my frustrations. They had to wait like 4 months to finally get their Christmas present in April; so why deny them of this somewhat useful device because it wasn't as feature rich as advertised, and also came 4 months late?

  • James Says:

    This form factor should have been explored a long time ago, and I'm glad that it is being explored now. But Asus or Sony will come along and make a better version, which will allow for Linux to easily be installed on it, and OLPC will be stuck with Windows, which won't help kids a bit. Microsoft's behavior towards people in developing countries is disgraceful; charging them for something, even though they have hardly any money already.

  • Gearman Says:

    Finally the screens are cheap enough that we can have two screens and a real digital book.
    We have been working for this for a long time, and it is wonderful to see.
    We have now reached a new major point for the industry on our way to digital paper.
    We have to get the battery right and the 32gb sdhc cards are available just in time.
    The next question for the industry will the ssd catchup to the sdhc card for cost per meg.
    I hope some one puts the US Air Forces Academia's e-book Program on it(Fastreader)!

  • 25+ Computer Tech Says:

    In over twenty five years in the computer industry, I have seen all kinds of devices come and go. Many of which have already been mentioned here, so I will not elaberate too much.

    In all of that time, desktops turned luggables turned portables, in turn to the first true laptop, the lowly Toshiba T1000 and so on. I also have dyslexia, that has caused myself no end of abuse and suffering. The only way I was able to learn to spell better was with a computer with spell checking while typing. This was long after I left school where it would have really made a difference. (Thanks to Google for a handly spell checker!)

    Growing up in Canada many times I ate only one meal a day. I daydreamed technology and continue to do so from time to time.

    OLPC XO-1 concept I came up with years back while still in grade 11 after finding all of the tests that I had to take in a high school business course were horribly degraded from many generations photocoping. As I went I retyped many of the tests and got no thanks for my extra work. We had a prototype computer education system installed. I found it nearly useless and I think that company went under. However times have changed and technology changed with it. If copywrite would olny permit to digitize the US Government's Liberary of Congeress... Even a decent public library would do wonders!

    I remember the hardships of school. From coping 11 backboards of hand written techer's notes due to a budget shortfall for everything from paper to overhead projector light bulbs. I had no money for any activity the school wouldn't provide for free.

    This double screen touch screen would have been ideal for much of my education. Multiple choice tests where one screen can be the question and the other a writting platform with a calculator for math, wow life would have been a breeze. How about reading a book on one side and taking notes on the other? Many times double screens would be useful in business work and sharing a computer with two people working on the same project would be excellent. Anyone use an electronic whiteboard at work yet? How about a elementery class in Texas with a buddy partner in Boston?

    Imagine if people would get over needing copywrite protection for children's books and learning! Get over the need for text books and phtocopiers? The costs in transporting thousands of tons of paper for a single school is staggering! This has so many good ideas backing it!

    I have read articles stating that in India (several years back) a school might have ONE out of date school book for seven hundred kids in a mixed grade class. Now come back with the complete elimination of this by downloading an open use school book from the internet in to the computer's onboard memory allowing children to take a light, portable computer home and be able to work. Rather than walk ten miles with a few scraps of paper much less than even ten pounds of books as we do in North America.

    Not only would this save trees, technical costs in other equipment and physical plant sq. footage but it would be so nice to be able to see and talk over the internet in real time with schools world wide and share what we knew. Consider a virtual world communications where a person in Africa could have friends in Asia and Europe?

    North America has become like Xerox with the Graphic User Interface, dumped and forgoten. Apple picked up the torch and here we are and look at what it has changed. Computers have changed the world for business. Now let us do the same with children world wide.

    I wonder if that could be the first step to end political BS? If we allow small children to fourish and learn from each other... yes. I have seen children end bickering between parents. Why not try?

    If OLPC wants a free overview and dynamic bug finder please write! I will gladly donate time to debug any software including school lessons. I know that I was held back in school without a computer at home and even today this OLPC XO-2 would be damn good in my daily life. In my own museum, I have DEC AlphaStations, DEC VAXs, PCs galore, a PDA or two, and even a "Top of the Line" Tandy TRS-80 Model 102 with 32kB and a Vic 20. All of them I use from time to time, all have good points and many, many, many bad.

    How about putting away the differences and politics with all other crap and do something to help the world.

    This OLPC XO-2 is available today off the shelf but needs to be built by someone willing to take the devel by the horns and challenge companies. If we work together, it can be made better. How about the plastic battery from MIT circa 1998? That would make the case itself a battery, saving space and weight not to mention would have 10,000+ recharge cycles by spec. (Electric cars anyone?) As mentioned before, a solar pannel to recharge. How about using a USB port as a charging port and doubles for a keyboard (with spare USB Ports) and mouse?

    How about stop the gripping, BS, politics, posturing and bloody back stabbing and just do it!

  • Shannon Says:

    I don't see why multi-touch would not be possible since it is entirely software based. Granted the touch-pads that Apple use have upgradeable firmware but I would think it is possible to mimic the same effect with just software. At least to some degree. My brother and I experimented with the DS touchscreen to make a sort of multi-touch. It was working well until we lost interest.

  • mike morris Says:

    i want this i need know when sell it and where store too

  • TO Says:

    Needless to say, imagine the possibilities if a larger organization with greater resources adopted these techniques.

  • TO Says:

    I stumbled across an interesting community yesterday. From the looks of things, the multi-touch interface is quite viable and extremely cheap (a sheet of acrylic paper, a few LED lights from a dollar store and some coding) and there is a strong community experimenting with this technology to build personal cheap versions of extremely high end costly technologies (i.e. Microsoft Surface)

    Explore around:

  • joe riehl Says:

    this looks a lot like a project i worked on last year. I would love this product!

  • Rye Says:

    I had an idea similar to this when I imagined a laptop that can have built-in tablet functionality.

    Of course, this model's a bit tiny and concept for me, but I can't wait to see how this design creeps into the overall laptop market, and we start seeing it employed for more professional designs.

  • andreas Says:

    oh my god, did you see the mason sigil on the front? wow, the UN, the antichrist and linux on multi-multitouchscreens!

  • adriana ruiz Says:

    I'm so getting this computer it's soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cheap that's why I getting it

  • mike Says:

    I've been looking to buy an affordable one in Belgium for like a year now.
    This is like a pure teaser...
    As it looks like now, it can become a commercial platform.
    Guess asus, aplle etc.. will take the idea... EEEpc's ahead.. (even more)

  • Burned once - Says:

    Since I fell for the buy one scheme last year, why oh why would I dish out more money. Bet I can't even donate last years albatross.

  • Greg K Says:

    Looks interesting. A few comments.
    1. If they are using Windows, wow that's a way to cause a product to fail with all kinds of bugs. Although there's a few bugs with the first Gen XO at least there may be a chance at getting them fixed. Who wants to have Microsoft patching and updating your software with some kind of kludge with extra hassles.

    2. For the commentator above who said, "multi-touch", it's not going to happen, unless they cut a deal with Apple that has the patent for that. Why would Apple help OLPC build a WIndows machine.

    3. It looks like they are creating a machine that's for kids but changing their design philosphy a bit and making it useless for 1st world (buy one give one) sponsors. For those of you lusting for one, take a closer look at the picture of the keyboard on the touchscreen. There's no querty keypattern there, but Alphabetic layout of the alphabet. If they don't have a real quirty interface or ability to use a normal keyboard it would make it much more useless for yuppies over here. I have a few of the first XO computers (as a buy one give one sponsor). They have some great features, but lack some horsepower as a "first world" device. The itouch is more powerful in many ways than an XO and cheaper, but the XO has things the itouch doesn't and visa versa.

    4. It looks like they are able to get hype and get excited about new hardware, but software is much more difficult.

    It's to bad Apple has kind of abandoned the programmable market when it comes to low level small devices. The iphone and iPod are limited in the OS, because of fear of piracy and people using the machines to their fullest. This is because Apple is making money by partnering with record and movie companies and is making as much or more money from selling tunes and movies as selling hardware. Because of this, Apple has divided loyalties and doesn't really produce a pure mobile computing product, but a product that delivers other "software" products. In other words, they are selling us another "cable channel" in your pocket. Because of this trend, Apple has kept themselves probably away from being a good partner of an Organizer like OLPC. It's almost like OLPC is trying to be Apple all over, starting from scratch and inventing hardware, but the "software aspects of it" they are forced to act "on the cheap" because they are not selling an OS but including it in the cheap (free) device. As such, they are left with Unix, Mac offers - if they exist which are geared toward selling itunes stuff, or Microsoft. Not much of a choice there.

  • Murat Kilciler Says:

    I would like to order OLPC xo-2
    murat kilciler
    karacihan mh kahraman sk talha st b blok 31/10
    karatay konya turkey
    telephone : 090 505 348 82 10

  • Onething Says:

    they could have just made flat keyboard back lit by led, that was touch sensitive, save on the battery and it would still look sleek.

  • Onething Says:

    It Looks nice but............i can only image what the battery life is on those.....image two screens being powered on for it to be used = not so portable..... I'm tired of people saying that touchscreen is new, its not its been around since the early 90's without the fancy interface. Now what would be cool would be a laptop with a hologram projected touchscreen.... I agree with alot of people on here typing on a flat surface is not that comfortable for extended periods of time. Its like tapping your fingers on a desk all day after a while it starts to hurt...

  • Oliver Starr Says:

    OLPC needs to sort out the XO first. Announcing a second Give one, Get one program while I am still waiting to receive the XO I bought BEFORE CHRISTMAS LAST YEAR is a total slap in the face.

    Seeing as how my transaction, from delays to being ingnored and then lied to by OLPC customer service I not only find it hard to imagine they can actually produce the new device I have sincere doubts about whether the Give One, Get One laptops that they were supposed to be sending out on behalf of the participants in that program last year actually arrived at their intended recipients.

    Think about it - no proof exists that the laptops we bought and which were supposed to be sent to the third world were ever sent, let alone ended up in the hands of the children that need them. When I have asked OLPC to provide me with proof that the "Give One" laptop that I bought did in fact get to a child in Cambodia my question was simply ignored.

    Add that to the frustration of still waiting for a device that I paid for last year and it all adds up to wondering if OLPC is really doing what they claim to be doing or simply starting a new laptop company using a fraudulent charity scam as a means of financing their efforts.

    If you're curious about my whole OLPC experience you can read about it here:

    Oliver Starr

  • Scotty Says:

    It's a good idea, but I think it would be hard to type without feeling the physical keys on a keyboard.

  • VHMP01 Says:

    @ asuseeeforever. You have to be kidding; this idea was sent by me in back in January to a Technology Research Lab, and believe me, it was not Apple.

    Anyway, the idea is not only for a Tablet with touch surfaces in which an external keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc. can be plugged in. Nevertheless, another version could also work on Desktops as a graphical plug in input interface.

    (Sorry for the typping mistakes).

  • VHMP01 Says:

    @ asuseeeforever. You have to be kidding; this idea was sent me by in back in January to a Technology Research Lab, and believe me, it was not Apple.

    Anyway, the idea is not only for a Tablet with touch surfaces in which an external keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc. can be plugged in. Nevertheless, another version could also work on Desktops as a graphical plug in input interface.

  • VHMP01 Says:

    @ asuseeeforever. You have to be kidding; this idea was sent by in back in January to a Technology Research Lab, and believe me, it was not Apple.

    Anyway, the idea is not only for a Tablet with touch surfaces in which an external keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc. can be plugged in. Nevertheless, another version could also work on Desktops as a graphical plug in input interface.

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