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Portables Education Software Hardware Linux

First Look At Final OLPC Design 224

Posted by kdawson
from the thinking-of-the-children dept.
blackbearnh writes "At the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday, AMD hosted a presentation of the final Industrial Prototype (Beta 1) of the One Laptop Per Child XO Laptop. Linux Today has extensive reporting, including new photos and details about power consumption, networking, and the logistics of distributing and servicing what will be the largest rollout of any computing platform in history: 5 million units in the first year. This will represent nearly a 10% increase in the total worldwide laptop production for 2007."
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First Look At Final OLPC Design

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  • by Curien (267780) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @07:47AM (#17537756)
    Books are also very expensive. Even in mass production, a non-trivial book can cost around $20 each, and smaller run books are much more expensive due to (lack of) economy of scale.

    Not to mention that large-scale distribution is not inexpensive, especially in the market areas for one of these laptops (poor infrastructure makes shipping more expensive). I imagine a government could actually save a good amount of money (if the laptops prove successful and long-lasting) by giving school children one of these laptops and then just having digital textbooks.
  • What about heat? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Yeti.SSM (869826) <yeti@ssm.atlas@cz> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @07:48AM (#17537770) Homepage
    Just wondering... What happens when somebody forgets the thing on direct sunlight (which is IMHO quite likely with kids)? Won't it damage the LCD or battery if left there for a while?
  • by BigTom (38321) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @08:26AM (#17538094) Homepage
    And that, in a nutshell, is why the next generation of US and European kids are going to be serving coffee and noodles to the highly motivated, well educated immigrants who will be doing all the real work by then.
  • Out of touch? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hodr (219920) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @08:53AM (#17538470) Homepage
    "You have to look at this through the needs of a child [in the developing world]. A child doesn't want to play the latest video games. he wants to be able to read a book."
    - Bletsas

    They may be in the third world, but believing that most children would rather read an e-book than play a video game seems a bit out of touch. And before the rabbid Lemony Snicket and Harry Potter fans chime in, a couple things to keep in mind are that not all children can read, and of those who can and want to read, books tend to occupy less of their time [anecdotal I know, but seems intuitive] than most other activities (including playing video games).
  • by rbanffy (584143) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @09:19AM (#17538774) Homepage Journal
    Remember that even if the electronic edition costs the same per child, the non-trivial costs of transportation will be removed from the equation.

    If you take out some or part of the cost of printing, the deal becomes even sweeter.

    This is a win-win situation - the price of the books go down because they don't need to be printed. This means more books are sold at a possibly higher profit margin. The books can get as large as needed because they are not on paper - encyclopedias can grow to unlimited size. The children have more books because the government can afford more and thus, I hope, the children get a better education and economy improves. And because they don't pollute when are made or transported, the environment wins.

    Come on... It's an easy sell.
  • by kfg (145172) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:19AM (#17539632)
    The way that an ebook is delivered removes that experience from the equation.

    The way books are delivered removes that experience from much of the world.

    KFG
  • by Da_Weasel (458921) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @11:37AM (#17540976) Homepage

    In addition, Bletsas indicates that the units have been designed around low-failure operation, with no moving parts. For example, the motherboard sits directly behind the LCD, avoiding the need for a failure-prone connecting cable.
    So then how is the keyboard on the lower portion of the device communicating with the mother board? Is is using a low power radio transmitter or something? What about the touchpad? And power from the battery?
  • by carpeweb (949895) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @01:58PM (#17543722) Journal
    An abundance of (interesting) reading material is a pretty fundamental tool in developing literacy.

    I agree; but I didn't learn to read just by sitting next to a pile of books. People read to me, etc. Note that I didn't claim putting books on the machine was a bad idea. I'm just questioning whether it's sufficient and also pointing out that the discussion of which specific literature might be best, regardless of whether it shows how erudite other posters might have been as wunderkinds.

    TFA indicates that the UI is language-free.

    TFA was also not written by anyone with experience teaching children in developing countries how to read. I'm not one of those, either. I'm just suggesting that consultation with those types of experts seems more important than, again, debating which specific sophisticated literature was most important to which specific child genius here in the developed world. Also, language-free doesn't mean culture-free. That doesn't mean it won't work, just that such basic considerations might be key determinants in the success of the concept. I'll bet you don't have any trouble mapping objects on your Windows screen to "objects" of your intellectual domain. I don't really know which of them is too tightly bound to developed-economy culture to be meaningful to an illiterate child in Libya, but it wouldn't surprise me if some meaningful fraction of them don't find the icons "intuitive".

    I posted this comment mostly because I saw the thread running into the realm of "well, when I was 2 months old, I read ...", which has little to do with the prospects for educating the developing economies, as a public policy proposition. I'm sure 20 years from now, some superstar rags-to-riches success story will in fact be profiled as having been inspired in his/her journey to the top of the Fortune Global 1000 by reading Ayn Rand on his hand-cranked PC. But the masses won't be educated simply by putting books on the machine (again, something that I think seems like a pretty good idea, but not a sufficient one in and of itself).

    Related response to the next criticism of my OP ...

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