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Comparing the OLPC, Classmate and Eee 188

Posted by Zonk
from the choose-but-choose-wisely dept.
ZDOne writes "Small and inexpensive notebooks have been a hot topic in recent months as the Classmate, XO laptop, and the Asus Eee go head-to-head with each other for the low end/educational market. ZDNet has a look at all three systems, comparing the three platforms on multiple points of data to determine which of the three fits your needs. 'In terms of overall stylishness the Eee is the winner, but the XO and the Classmate are both more rounded and rugged, and come with carrying handles. The OLPC XO has the biggest screen, an innovative 7.5in. dual-mode transmissive/reflective LCD that can swivel from traditional clamshell mode to 'e-book' mode with the screen facing outwards, tablet-style (although it's not a touch-screen). The Classmate and Eee both have similar, rather cramped, 7in. TFT displays. '"
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Comparing the OLPC, Classmate and Eee

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  • by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:14PM (#22626564) Homepage
    I slapped XP on the thing and upgraded the ram to 2 gigs. The SD card slot has a nice 16 gig card in it with Doom, Doom 2, Quake, Quake 2, and Quake 3 installed. I run them at the low end resolution mode which fits fine on this screen.

    Oh wait, this is about educational use?? Uh... yeah I take my EEE PC to meetings and if I had this during college I'd have loved it for note taking. It's a sound educational tool that works great with my campus's wired and wireless access points.
  • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:17PM (#22626588) Journal
    Roads are obsolete technology. They suit horses and cars, and horses are looking like the safer long term bet than cars at this point. States shouldn't be investing in them, but rather in rail systems that are fed by a local renewable energy source, such that they can run forever without a fuel source, and people just get on and off as they see fit. But again, that doesn't result in ongoing leverage over the population, so no business would want to build it.
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:23PM (#22626626) Homepage Journal
    Hmm... I'll look into acquiring an XO.

    It happens that I studied Russian in college. After the fall of the Soviet Union, I had a similar idea, not so much to teach kids but to help exisiting Russian software engineers start software businesses so they could trade with the West.

    I happened to meet Esther Dyson when she came to speak at Apple, where I worked at the time. She had traveled extensively in Russia, trying to bootstrap the software industry. When I told her my idea, she grabbed my arm and imperatively said "Russia needs you".

    But in the end, I never acted on my idea.

    I have a good job with a good company, and great coworkers. But I'm getting old, and feeling very concerned about what I'm going to leave behind when I'm gone. I know none of my code is going to outlive me. I'd like to leave more of a legacy than having gotten a lot of other people rich by writing proprietary code for them.

  • Re:Bias? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brad_sk (919670) on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:25PM (#22626672)
    >7.5 > 7 ok..here we go - http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/03/asus-set-to-announce-9-inch-eee-pc-900/ [engadget.com]
    Eee PC's 9 inch version.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:33PM (#22626762)
    How is this comment modded interesting? It's ignorant and naive. Question for you- what is the cost difference between a basic paved road and the transit system you describe? Now ask yourself why nobody wants to build it.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:45PM (#22626932)

    Here's an idea--instead of giving African kids laptops and teaching them C, why don't you focus on some more basic stuff? God knows roads, medicine, sanitation, water, better farming techniques, industrial techniques, etc. are nowhere near as geek-tastic as getting these kids to write code, but which do you think will be more useful?

    In many places they have water and they used to have farms. Then the US (and other countries) dumped produce on their market below the true cost (subsidized) such that local farmers could not compete. So the local farmers were undercut, couldn't pay their taxes and are now unemployed and homeless. It isn't that they don't know how to farm. It is that they can't make enough money farming to get by. They might be able to compete despite the unfair price of imported food if they could use modern practices, but they don't have the industrial infrastructure needed to make the heavy equipment and fertilizers and irrigation systems and they don't have the capital to buy it. The money needed to fund such a project would be way, way, way more than what is spent on the OLPC project.

    Truthfully, there really isn't a better industry than intellectual property creation for high returns on low initial investment. This doesn't necessarily mean programming (in Python not C, since that is what ships with OLPC). Heck, people in some parts of the world could probably make a living with a XO laptop just by solving captchas. Then there is writing, video and audio creation, etc.

    The point of the OLPC project is not to just supply what is most needed today, but rather to augment the charity food, water, shelter, and medical care with the tools of education (for any subject) and with the cheapest possible way for them to create a sustainable industry that will allow their society to stop relying on charity and start building again.

    P.S. did you know Remote Area Medical, a charity that provides medical care primarily to Africa and east Asia has recently had to start working in the United States because so many Americans cannot get or afford basic medical care? Maybe the US should stop teaching computer science and focus on teaching medicine to more people?

  • Re:Bias? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xstonedogx (814876) <xstonedogx@gmail.com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @03:04PM (#22627158)
    You forget that not all inches are equal. Since the OLPC has a squarer aspect ratio (4:3) than the other laptops (5:3) the same seven inches actually means more display area for the OLPC. This difference plus the extra .5" for the OLPC give the OLPC a display area about 6 square inches larger than the display area of the other laptops.

    Add to that approximately three times the resolution (1200x900 vs 800x480) and it becomes pretty obvious that the OLPC has a much less cramped screen.
  • by SalesEngineer (640818) on Monday March 03, 2008 @03:39PM (#22627588)
    I put this comparison up weeks ago, mostly for friends who were debating which one to purchase ... http://siliconchef.com/2008/01/31/subnotebook-gladiators-part-2/ [siliconchef.com] Overall I think the EeePC is the more flexible unit for the typical computer user. The OLPC has some great features and concepts, but casual use is limited by design features that make it great for the 3rd world market.
  • Re:eee (Score:3, Interesting)

    by psychodelicacy (1170611) <bstcbn@gmail.com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @03:43PM (#22627644)
    I would disagree. I use an Eee for a lot of stuff because it's small and portable. It's obviously not good for graphics programmes, but I would never use anything smaller than a regular laptop for that anyway (and I wouldn't even think of using it for gaming!) It's fine for actually viewing photos. Word processing is perfectly good, especially if you're prepared to play with the settings to allow the text to fill the screen. Ditto email and web. I code on it too, and again the size doesn't cause a problem.

    I'm sure some people who've used an Eee haven't had as good an experience, and that's fair enough. But I would say don't write it off until you've actually tried it for a while. It takes some getting used to, but a month down the line I think it's one of the best purchases I've ever made.
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday March 03, 2008 @04:17PM (#22628024)
    This is very true. I recently got to play with an OLPC and was really blown away by what it was compared to what the online consensus of people who have never touched out.

    Its a simple education toy that only looks like a laptop. Its more of a specialized educational gadget like a speak and spell than a Dell. Its keyboard is tiny and only for little kid fingers. Its slow and has a very simplified interface. It cant do WPA and has no ethernet port. Its screen is like a very cheap version of e-ink.

    I dont see what this has in common with the eeepc. The eeepc is a ulw general purpose laptop. The XO is an educational device for children.

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

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