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Portables Displays Education Hardware

2nd Generation "$100 Laptop" Will Be an E-Book Reader 286

Posted by timothy
from the xo-is-a-nice-reader-anyhow dept.
waderoush writes "At a conference sponsored by the One Laptop Per Child Foundation this morning, OLPC founder unveiled the design for the foundation's second-generation laptop. It's actually not a laptop at all — it's a dual-screen e-book reader (we've got pictures). Negroponte said the foundation hopes that the cost of the new device, which is scheduled for production by 2010, can be kept to $75, in part by using low-cost displays manufactured for portable DVD players."
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2nd Generation "$100 Laptop" Will Be an E-Book Reader

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  • by 1155 (538047) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:04PM (#23478082) Homepage
    Bye bye books. We'll miss you!

    Maybe schools in the states can get these and stop spending my hard earned cash on books. Oh wait, they already paid for them. I used the same book my mom used in high school (her name was on it!).
    • Re:Bye bye books (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:12PM (#23478282) Homepage
      Even if the schools did spend money on these devices, there would be no content to put on them. The same problem exists for the original OLPC project. Luckily they had Open Source software, and were able to get a working machine with no software cost, but I still don't think there's a lot out there in free textbooks. It's a wonder that the US Government just doesn't hire a few people to write some textbooks that they would use in their schools. For gradeschool and even highschool, the material is simple enough that it wouldn't take that much to get the job done, and then they could have textbooks for the cost of the paper, or if they used ebook readers, then copies would be free. Is there any particular reason textbooks are bought from third parties instead of just written once and used in all the schools?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by j-beda (85386)
        I have thought the same myself - surely basic texts need not change much from year to year, and big markets like Texas and California have to spend enough on textbooks that the cost of writing them "in-house" would be cheaper than purchasing them.
      • Re:Bye bye books (Score:4, Insightful)

        by digitalgiblet (530309) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:40PM (#23478816) Homepage Journal

        Hmm. Are you sure you want the government writing the textbooks?

        Currently local governments (or at least state governments in some cases) SELECT the textbooks, but there are options. There isn't that much competition, but in this case ANY competition is a good thing. Government written and mandated textbooks sound pretty scary to me...

        • Hmm. Are you sure you want the government writing the textbooks?

          To standardize curriculum? Yes.

          Currently local governments (or at least state governments in some cases) SELECT the textbooks, but there are options.

          Which is a dreadful disaster in many cases. Just look at Kansas and the creationists polluting local school districts to get their nonsense put into schools.

          There isn't that much competition, but in this case ANY competition is a good thing.

          Yeah, you either spend $0 on one book or $145 on the other book, if there even is a second book available in the subject, that's basically identical.

          Government written and mandated textbooks sound pretty scary to me...

          Is it for an actual reason or just the usual nonsense paranoia where we have to hate/fear anything that the government does without any rational reason to do so?

          • Re:Bye bye books (Score:4, Interesting)

            by digitalgiblet (530309) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:00PM (#23479222) Homepage Journal

            Government written and mandated textbooks sound pretty scary to me...
            Is it for an actual reason or just the usual nonsense paranoia where we have to hate/fear anything that the government does without any rational reason to do so?

            Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean the government isn't brainwashing you via their "official" textbooks.

            Be careful what you ask for.

            • So it's apparently not for any rational reason and just the usual paranoia. Thanks for clearing that up.
              • There really are people out there like Karl Rove, whose main purpose in life is to rewrite history and twist it to suit his philosophy. We need to be careful that school textbooks are not political tools that are easily and quickly changed to suit the whims of any current administration. Having said that, it's still possible that some day when oversight of government is suitably restored, it's conceivable that government could subsidize textbook authoring without mandatating a single textbook to all schools
          • Re:Bye bye books (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Ana10g (966013) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:28PM (#23479710)

            Currently local governments (or at least state governments in some cases) SELECT the textbooks, but there are options.
            Which is a dreadful disaster in many cases. Just look at Kansas and the creationists polluting local school districts to get their nonsense put into schools.
            While I agree that having the creationists polluting local school districts is a bad thing, this wouldn't solve it. The Kansas state government, in this case, would just write the textbooks in such a way that the creationists are still polluting the curriculum.

            There isn't that much competition, but in this case ANY competition is a good thing.
            Yeah, you either spend $0 on one book or $145 on the other book, if there even is a second book available in the subject, that's basically identical.
            Well, actually, using an E-Book in this situation wouldn't be free. It would be free to distribute and publish, sure, but not to write. I'd be really surprised if you could find someone (especially a state employee) to write an entire textbook for free.
            • Re:Bye bye books (Score:4, Insightful)

              by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:00PM (#23480260)
              The cost is not just in the writing but also in the peer review, editing, and re-checking of facts to ensure accuracy and completeness. That is why really good textbooks are relatively more expensive than their page count, material, and binding might suggest.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by LordVader717 (888547)
              It isnt the Kansas state government thats screwing things up, its the local districts. I doubt they will be willing to write whole textbooks.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mc_secular (1154919)
            Actually, the corruption problems (kickbacks from vendors; revolving door hiring policies, etc) are way bigger and more real than creationism or spooky government control. I work in an urban school district, and while creationism might be the textbook problem in Kansas, we spend a ton of money on textbooks recommended by insiders who will later go on to work for the vendors. Needless to say, that $ could go towards other things. The XOXO would be awesome for our district.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mr_mischief (456295)
        The form factor is that of a dual-screened eBook, but they have a popup touch-screen keyboard as an application. It's a computer, kinda like a super-sized Nintendo DS. There are pictures of if accepting typed input, of it being held like a book, and of it laying flat like a board game between two kids.

        I know the site listed in the summary is almost gone under the load, but there are lots of sites with news and pictures if you Google for "2nd generation OLPC". Two of them (spread the load!) are Laptop Magazi [laptopmag.com]
        • Re:Bye bye books (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mollymoo (202721) * on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:52PM (#23482232) Journal

          The form factor is that of a dual-screened eBook, but they have a popup touch-screen keyboard as an application.

          Arrrgh! There was some future computing expo featured on /. a few weeks ago that was full of touchscreen keyboards as well. It's a horrible idea. There's no tactile feedback and no give to absorb the impact, so your fingertips will take much more of a beating than using a conventional keyboard. Touchscreen keyboards are fine for, say, typing a few numbers at a checkout, but for anything like serious input they're just an awful idea.

          I never really understood why the OLPC project insists on reinventing the wheel. The mesh networking and screen were impressive tech, but why reinvent the computer desktop in the form of Sugar? Now they're going with an untried form factor. Just build a decent, inexpensive, robust laptop and ship the damn thing. I find it more than a little patronising that kids in less developed countries apparently can't be expected to use similar software to kids in the first world. When they grow up chances are they're gonna be using Windows, Gnome or KDE (or Aqua, if they're incredibly rich by local standards). They're all more like each other than they are like Sugar. I say start 'em young.

          • Re:Bye bye books (Score:4, Insightful)

            by kesuki (321456) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @11:23PM (#23487300) Journal
            OLPC is basically a way to stick big bills to small countries for 'educational laptops'

            in TFA OLPC 'complains' about how many countries thought they should have designed the whole thing around cellphone chipsets and displays (and inputs) to get even cheaper costs, and their argument is 'cellphones aren't laptops' typical imperialistic ideals...

            all you need is something that can display informational text that should be able to be changed slightly each year, and for each region...

            and possibly some way for the end user to take quizzes or tests on the material they read....

            India wanted $10 laptops, and they made their own program, and i have no doubt they actually used small cheap processors like the ones in cell phones to make their project. they only got down to $50 last i heard, but still OLPC were $200 devices, and this one 'will be $75 in 2010' India expects their 'device' to be a lot cheaper by 2010. (though there is little known about the project in India, I assume they will try to use as much cheap cell phone tech as possible)

            they also find the OLPC program to be suspect, why would you target grade school children in less developed countries to use expensive laptops that could be sold on the open market for three times the price paid by their countries for them as educational tools...

            why teach children in poor countries on computers, when it's not even standard in developed nations? I definitely agree with India's problems with the OLPC project, consider the countries that have welcomed the project,

            "Rwanda (G1G1 pilot)[42]
            Americas
            Haiti (G1G1 pilot)
            Mexico (50,000 laptops bought by billionaire Carlos Slim)
            Peru (270,000 laptops bought, now receiving laptops)[43]
            United States of America (15,000 laptops bought by Birmingham, Alabama)[44]
            Uruguay (100,000 laptops bought, now receiving laptops)[45]
            Asia
            Afghanistan (G1G1 pilot)
            Cambodia (G1G1 pilot)
            Mongolia (G1G1 pilot, now receiving 10,000 laptops"

            Nigeria was going to order a million, but then elections were held and they haven't solidified the contract, Nigeria the number one source of Internet crime, was the most interested in OLPC.... bah, there is no reason for less developed nations to buy laptops to train kids, it's all a con to get those countries to go into debt to buy things that won't help their economies, that will do nothing but create a cast of children who want fancy electronic gadgets that they can never afford... unless they're as corrupt as Nigeria and create a class of criminals who focus on stealing as much as possible from developed nations...

            if OLPC was serious about creating bare-bone education devices they would have modified cellphone style devices, instead of starting around a general purpose CPU with a complex operating system and complicated displays etc etc...

            computers were originally designed around micro controllers for microwave ovens, basic text parsing and display is easy and cheap if you don't encumber the device with a fancy OS...

            and for 'interactive textbooks' especially when you're targeting less developed countries, should focus on being as simple (and as cheap) as possible. OLPC isn't about bringing electronic textbooks to everyone, it's about making fancy electronic devices and teaching impressionable children to desire them...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mhall119 (1035984)
        Google open textbook [google.com] and you'll find lots of sources and initiatives for free educational texts.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lbgator (1208974)

        Check out WikiBooks [wikibooks.org]. They aren't quite there yet, but some of their stuff is quite good - and being a wiki, your inputs are encouraged.

        With cheap laptops/ebook readers on the horizon, and projects like WikiBooks / Project Gutenberg [gutenberg.org] I am hopeful that we are only a few years from prolific material availability.

        Also, slightly off topic - but since you mentioned schools I'd like to refer you to Lockhart's Lament [maa.org]. Do we even really need text books?

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          I didn't read that Lockhart's Lament that you linked to (I will later). But I have to say, that in a lot of instances, I haven't really seen the need for textbooks, especially in the K-12 school range. Up until high school, I don't really recall having many textbooks. Most of the information was provided by the teachers, and there was a few photocopied handouts for the most part. Once I hit highschool, mostly only math courses had textbooks, but for those it was mostly so the teachers could assign ques
        • Re:Bye bye books (Score:5, Informative)

          by timbck2 (233967) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <2kcbmit>> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:33PM (#23481886) Homepage
          I'll put a plug in here for the Distributed Proofreading Project [pgdp.net] [www.pgdp.net], a volunteer, web-based organization that processes books that have gone into the public domain into e-texts suitable for Project Gutenberg.

          It's a great project, and kinda fun (for geeks like us).
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AmishElvis (1101979)
        I'm not sure I like the idea of the government being the one to decide what my child learns in school. I know they do already to an extent with standardized tests, but actually letting government write the textbooks seems dangerous. It seems like it would lead to a lot of sugar coating of history. Also, I'm pretty sure we'd find "the cost of the paper" to be pretty expensive. Government is incapable of doing things cheaply.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        but I still don't think there's a lot out there in free textbooks.

        If you talk to any group of PhD students in any math department in the US, you'll learn that there are indeed a wide variety of text books (at least for higher education) available for free. There are even private bittorent trackers that are just for textbooks.

        Since the current US presidential administration is doing everything it can to prevent middle- and working-class youngsters from getting a higher education, it's quite reasonable to e

    • I can top that. I had my dads high school desk. He carved the answers to every test he took in that class into the suffice so I never had to study for a test ever! But my friend Laslo memorized every answer ever, that was more helpful.
    • by thermian (1267986)
      I wouldn't worry too much. Negroponte has pretty much handed over control of his project to Microsoft now, since he's demonstrated that if they want something he'll do it without worrying.

      With Microsoft at the helm we can all rest easy in the knowledge that the OLPC experience will soon become so complicated, restricted and slow that no-one will want to use them anyway.

    • Re:Bye bye books (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:43PM (#23478852) Homepage
      nope. it will never happen. Professors and their desire to rape the students by publishing slight revisions of their drivel year after year for insane prices are what keeps ebooks from being common.

      If I could carry my entire semesters books in one reader I would be in heaven. All college students would love this.

      • by nguy (1207026) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:16PM (#23481564)
        Nice theory. Except: the professors assigning the textbooks aren't usually the ones making the money from them.

        Like it or not, good textbooks cost a lot of money because few people can write them and students are willing and able to pay those prices.

        Why are few people able to write them? Because tenure committees and university boards demand publications and grant money and that's what professors have to spend their time on. Writing a textbook is a career limiting move, and professors simply don't have the time to create their own teaching materials from scratch, given all the other obligations imposed on them.

        If you don't like that, go to a teaching oriented school, and/or complain to your university and state legislators that they should set different priorities.
    • As a service to our readers, Slashdot has translated the essential points of your post into modern English:


      bu bi buks we'l mis u! lol

      mebe skuls in the us can get thez & stp spending my hrd urnd $$ on buks. lol lol

  • by hansraj (458504) * on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:04PM (#23478094)
    I have some beach-front estate to sell. It is not near any beach and it is actually a chair.
  • Obligatory (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Uncle Focker (1277658)
    But can it run Linux?
  • by Etrias (1121031) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:05PM (#23478120)
    If you had read the article, the original, version 1 of the OLPC laptop will be $100. This new version has no price set in it's unveiling.
    • by PaintyThePirate (682047) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:12PM (#23478288) Homepage
      "Negroponte says the cost of this 2nd-generation device, which uses dual-touch screens with 16:9 aspect ratios, will be kept to $75."

      The plan is $75. That doesn't mean it's any more realistic than the original $100 goal for the XO-1. I'd be surprised if they could get it below $150 at launch. The only way $75 is possible is if companies are donating hardware to it.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I think it's possible. You can get a portable DVD player [walmart.com] for $80 retail. This thing has the same screen, probably doesn't have a DVD drive, but has some other internals that a different. Cut out the cost of the DVD licensing fees, and you could easily have an ebook reader using this screen for $75. Granted, I'm not so sure that these screens are the best for reading a lot of text. An eInk display would probably work a lot better. But it's definitely doable at that price.
        • I think it's possible. You can get a portable DVD player for $80 retail. This thing has the same screen,
          This thing has two screens, one of which is touch sensitive. What existing low cost consumer product uses touch sensitve screens large enough to work as a keyboard? Plus, I rather doubt that resolution that would be acceptable for a DVD player would be acceptable for a computer (or a book reader), hence using LCDs designed for DVD players may not be viable.
          • This thing has two screens, one of which is touch sensitive.
            So does my $170 Nintendo DS Lite with R4 expansion card.

            What existing low cost consumer product uses touch sensitve screens large enough to work as a keyboard?
            The on-screen keyboard in DSOrganize 3.1129 seems to work fine.
  • Soo... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:05PM (#23478126)
    OLPC's goals have gone from providing a platform that allows full intellectual expression and room from growth and development, to running XP so maybe kids and type a book report or something, to now merely being a way to passively consume printed media?

    And last week I thought that this project couldn't get any farther from good.
    • Re:Soo... (Score:5, Informative)

      by PaintyThePirate (682047) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:18PM (#23478396) Homepage
      Because it's shaped like a book, it must be a book, right?

      This is not a book. It's, I imagine, going to have an x86 cpu and an OS capable of running Activities already written for the XO-1, plus anything else imaginable.

      Negroponte's presentation showed two kids playing pong on one laptop and suggested the same could be done with games like chess or checkers, as one example. It is a laptop with two touchscreen displays, which is nothing short of amazing.
      • Re:Soo... (Score:5, Informative)

        by PaintyThePirate (682047) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:21PM (#23478444) Homepage
        Oh, I see where the confusion was. As usual, the Slashdot headline and summary are at best vague, and more likely completely misleading. There is better information here: http://blog.laptopmag.com/first-look-olpc-xo-generation-20 [laptopmag.com].

        That article also contains the news that Give 1 Get 1 will be restarting in August or September.
        • by bsDaemon (87307)
          Well, I went to the article that was linked from the summary and skimmed over it and looked at the photos. However, "E-Book Reader" is something VERY different from "book-shaped computer," which, if that is in fact what this thing is, might be sorta cool... i guess.

          however, under MS's thumb, its still going to be fairly useless.
      • Re:Soo... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:39PM (#23478798)
        Exactly. i played with an XO for the first time about three months ago and as I held it I thought "Why isnt this thing in the form factor of an e-book?" So much real estate is wasted on trying to make it a general purpose computer. Kids, in real life, wont be hacking code 90% of the time, they'll be reading ebooks for their studies. This form factor is a lot smarter for how these students are actually going to use them.

        Heck, Im still pissed there's no affordable e-book reader out there. I already have a couple of nice laptops and a nice desktop. I dont need another machine, but I would love a cheap (sub 150 dollar) e-book reader that accepted all sorts of formats and was easy on the eyes. I dont know why sony and amazon think the price point for these things is 300+ dollars. It 99 dollars or less. If the XO people do this it will be pretty revolutionary.
      • by xSauronx (608805)

        It is a laptop with two touchscreen displays, which is nothing short of amazing.
        O RLY? [newegg.com]



        yeah, not exactly the same. but a dual touchscreen device isnt that amazing. What will be amazing is if they can hit even $150 for this thing.

    • by bill_kress (99356)
      Completely gutted.

      I am kind of seeing one potentially good outcome. Perhaps they planned it, or fell into it accidentally.

      You spend all this money coming up with an OS that can run on a simple laptop, and the hardware research to build the laptop.

      Now like with software development, everything is much easy and much better the second time, but you've got all this debt and all this baggage and can't start over.

      So you see Microsoft in the corner trying to figure out how to stop you--you hand the company over t
  • ...because it seems it definatelly can be used as laptop, thanks to dual touchscreens. (and calling it E-Book reader...hm, I think we settled what that term means and XO-2 isn't exactly it...)

    I wonder what OS will be there...
  • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:10PM (#23478240) Homepage Journal
    Negroponte said the foundation hopes that the cost of the new device, which is scheduled for production by 2010, can be kept to $75, in part by using low-cost displays manufactured for portable DVD players...
     
    ... and in part by waiting until 2010 to make it. In two years you'll be able to buy a used first-gen iPhone, iPod touch, or Kindle for $75. At least he's aware of it: "Negroponte said the foundation plans to bring out the second-generation device by 2010. By that time, he added, the cost of the original XO Laptop will also have been brought below $100."
     
    Also, the "low-cost displays manufactured for portable DVD players" bit worries me some, since those displays don't have a particularly high pixel density. Who wants a 7, 8, 9" screen to read from that's only ~720x480? Yeah, it'll work, but it'll be far from ideal.
    • Also, the "low-cost displays manufactured for portable DVD players" bit worries me some, since those displays don't have a particularly high pixel density. Who wants a 7, 8, 9" screen to read from that's only ~720x480? Yeah, it'll work, but it'll be far from ideal.

      Here's there new slogan: "OLPC: Blinding Children Around The World".

      This doesn't sound like a conspiracy with Microsoft, this sounds like a conspiracy with the OPTOMETRISTS UNION!

  • Power usage? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coopjust (872796) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:10PM (#23478248)
    Doesn't the OLPC use a lower power screen? How does the battery life with these cheaper, power hungry screens? It would kind of defeat the purpose of this if you could only use it for an hour without plugging it in...
    • Re:Power usage? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Scrameustache (459504) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:38PM (#23478760) Homepage Journal

      Doesn't the OLPC use a lower power screen? How does the battery life with these cheaper, power hungry screens? It would kind of defeat the purpose of this if you could only use it for an hour without plugging it in...
      The system 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. âoeYounger 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,â the press release reads. The device will also reduce power consumption to 1 watt.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Grisha (15132)
        Interesting, given that they aren't touch screens... So he makes an analogy to portable DVD player screens, then says they plan on using OLPC displays, and _then_ says they'll be touch screens.

        So how can this possibly be had for $20 a screen? that's $20+OLPC Screen Cost + Touch Screen Cost = ???

        He has some effed up math.

  • Until they come out with an ebook reader that has a full color, 200+dpi (reflective, not emmissive) display that itself is letter-size or larger (or perhaps a tabloid-sized dual screen display that folds in half a little like opening a book), I'm just not interested.
    • Until they come out with an ebook reader that has a full color, 200+dpi (reflective, not emmissive) display that itself is letter-size or larger (or perhaps a tabloid-sized dual screen display that folds in half a little like opening a book), I'm just not interested.

      Letter-size or larger, huh? If you're looking for childrens books, I'd suggest staying with the real thing. They often have lots of fun popup thingies you can play with. If more adult fare is what you're after, maybe you want to rethink your
      • by mark-t (151149)
        I'm not so much into children's books as much as PDF's that are usually formatted for 8.5x11". Granted, I don't need color for every page, but because it's not uncommon for the types of articles that I like to read to have color plates attached, it's damn nice to see the pages in color for the ones that need it.
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:13PM (#23478318)
    Fool me twice, shame on me.

    I have nothing but rage and contempt for Negroponte and the OLPC project. I will not support a project that betrays its contributors by abandoning the principles that motivated them.

    Windows on the OLPC is an outrage and clear evidence that the OLPC project is no longer about helping children and only about making money and creating a new form "Microsoft Tax" for the poor and developing nations.

    Its bullshit. Its like giving money and time to a charity called "one meal per child" and find out it has decided to use your contribution to bring dollar off coupons for McDonalds happy meals.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Greg_D (138979)
      Really? Rage and contempt? Over a value priced computer aimed at educating kids who otherwise would never get to use ANY computer?

      You should see a mental health practicioner and get your priorities in order. Your stupidity is clouding your view of reality.
      • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:25PM (#23478524)
        Really? Rage and contempt? Over a value priced computer aimed at educating kids who otherwise would never get to use ANY computer?

        Yes, helping Microsoft expand its monopoly is bad for the world. Its bad for the industry. The amount of money and control that Microsoft exercises because of its monopoly has ruined the ISO, destroyed companies, and kept back innovation in the marketplace.

        Selling "Windows" when they could give away free software is not a good will gesture.
        • by hansraj (458504) *

          Selling "Windows" when they could give away free software is not a good will gesture.
          What do you "mean"? Is there some other "side" of the "story" we are not "aware" of?
      • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:39PM (#23478786)

        Really? Rage and contempt? Over a value priced computer aimed at educating kids who otherwise would never get to use ANY computer?

        As has been pointed out repeatedly, "educating kids" is an utter impossibility when OLPC+Windows combination is involved. The term you are looking for is "indoctrination". It is so for many, many reasons mentioned already a million times here, not the least of them the lack of any useful free "educational" software for XP, never you mind the storage for it on the OLPC.

        Using "ANY" computer, "education" does not make. If that was the case, a far more cost effective way then the OLPC would be to simply ship used throw-away computers that clog our city dumps here (some of them far more powerful then the OLPC will ever be) to Africa in bulk.

        You are confusing granting haphazard access to some fraction of the Western commercial technology, which requires a (very expensive) ecosystem of other commercial technology to be useful and which will never be available at the prices those kids can afford, with "educating" them. This is a purely corporatist view of the world and if it were up to people like you, education in the West would consist of giving kids a brand-name calculator (with no instructions) and calling it a "mathematics and electronics course" and as the parent poster insightfully mentioned, "a cooking course" would consist of a bunch of McDonalds coupons, etc and so on.

        And there is of course the wee little bit of the matter of active mis-representations Negroponte has engaged in over the years on behalf of the OLPC project, but I guess that is far too esoteric for you to grasp.

        You should see a mental health practicioner and get your priorities in order. Your stupidity is clouding your view of reality.

        In the light of the actual facts you should take your own advice on this.

    • Windows on the OLPC is an outrage and clear evidence that the OLPC project is no longer about helping children and only about making money and creating a new form "Microsoft Tax" for the poor and developing nations
      No it is clear evidence that the momentum for Windows can't be ignored. Just like OLPC kept an x86 compatible CPU instead of going with something more efficient for the embedded market.
      • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:22PM (#23479634)
        No it is clear evidence that the momentum for Windows can't be ignored

        Windows has no momentum, it is an obstacle. Vista is a joke. People are sticking with XP. Macintosh is starting to out-sell Wintell on high end desktops.

        The *only* reason Windows hasn't been abandoned by its disgruntled users is because of Microsoft's continued illegal actions in maintaining its monopoly. All too many users say "I hate it, but have to use Windows."

        There is *no* practical reason to put Windows on the OLPC. It brings nothing to the table but additional cost. The only purpose for it is to satisfy a vengeful and corrupt monopolist.
  • right, so? (Score:5, Funny)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:20PM (#23478426)

    Negroponte said the foundation hopes that the cost of the new device, which is scheduled for production by 2010, can be kept to $75

    Is that 75 Real Dollars, or $75 Negroponte Distortion Field Dollars? And it'd be nice if the press actually took a stab at how realistic those "hopes" are- I mean, I hope that someday I'll shit strawberry-flavored lollipops while driving in my flying car, on autopilot while I bonk my supermodel wife...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by servognome (738846)
      Given how far the US dollar has slipped against other currencies $150 laptop would be close to a $100 laptop in 2000. Parts and labor in Asia is becoming more expensive when priced in US dollars.
  • WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveha (103154) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:23PM (#23478490) Homepage
    I'm just confused by this. My initial gut reaction is that Negroponte wants to completely scrap what came before, and put his own stamp on the project. But that makes no sense, because it was his project, and his stamp was on it already.

    They will be able to sell this new device for under $100, this time for sure. Okay, I'll agree that using standard DVD player screens might help. But why two screens then? Isn't the screen the most power-hungry part of the device? The OLPC screen has special power-management features; won't standard screens burn more power? And won't having two screens double the power?

    The article spoke of "dual touch screens". At first I thought this meant "multi-touch screens" but now I think it just means both screens will be touch screens. Even so, how do you make a standard DVD player screen into a touch screen?

    And once again. Why two screens? Yes, it looks more like a book. Big deal. This dual-screen design has a hinge! It's got to be easier and cheaper to make a slab tablet device, with maybe a hinged cover (note that a cover has no electrical connections and need not break a waterproof seal).

    So, no keyboard; just an onscreen virtual keyboard. I'm guessing no onboard camera, since none was mentioned and they are being aggressive about price. Not one word about openness of software stack... Negroponte just doesn't care anymore, I guess.

    The OLPC project hasn't just jumped the shark. They went out and found a new shark and they are jumping over it now.

    steveha
    • touch screen part isnt that difficult, it's been done on the eee.

      I would think you could put an on screen keyboard or just transcribe handwriting on one screen while using the other as a monitor. actually theres quite a lot of configurations possible a couple of sd card slots and a usb or two and it becomes quite an interesting device,battery life is the killer thou. As a first world product and access to an electricity supply it could be popular.

      maybe if one side had solar cells it could be self charging t
    • by Ugmo (36922)
      I believe screen price is a function of screen size but 1/2 size screen is less than 1/2 the price.

      Two small screens with a total area of 8 sq units costs less than one larger screen of 8 sq units.

      Using a virtual keyboard you still get to input data so maybe the "book" is the form factor not the function. In other words, it is still a laptop that can run programs and edit code, its just shaped like a book. I hope this is true or they should change the name from OLPC (one laptop per child) to something else.
  • I thought the current OLPC screens were special high DPI screens which were perfect for reading, as opposed to generic portable DVD screens?
    • I think they intend to use the current style of screens (from reading TFA), but that they expect the manufacturing tech that makes the cheap portable DVD player screens to lower the cost of those.

      There's plenty of equipment out there to work with 16:9 right now, and any special screen on a low-cost device is likely to be made on a tweaked version of existing equipment. It'd be silly to design a whole new manufacturing line from scratch if you don't have to do so.
  • Why after all this time can the current screens on the OLPCs not be made cheaper? In nearly 5 years the best they'll have improved on is lowering the price, and making it look worse and less functional? Surely they are trying to address some unique challenges, but this is horrid.

    The worst part however is that these screens simply suck! Think of the children! In 20 years we'll need One-Set-of-Glass-Per-Child (OSoGPC).
  • by whtmarker (1060730) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:41PM (#23478820) Homepage
    OEBPC doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
  • With current market trends, I'm willing to bet it will be a combination palmtop with cheap phone service/data plan attached, and built in software for coupon shopping/bargain hunting with a fliptop compartment on the cover that contains makeup space and a mirror.

    I actually mean that semi-seriously
  • It's NOT an "eBook Reader", it's a laptop designed like scaled up Nintendo DS, a dual-screen clamshell. Calling it an "eBook Reader" is a travesty.
  • by no_opinion (148098) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @01:59PM (#23479200)
    New hardware is nice and all, but it's really of minor importance compared to the elements of the platform that should be there to help kids learn. I think there's a reason that the press never covers how fantastic and ground breaking the educational aspect is. The technology is interesting, but as far as I can tell, the educational aspect is an afterthought.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:05PM (#23479310)
    Despite all the knee-jerk reactions (including the author of the article) to this being a glorified e-Book... it is NOT. It is clearly much more than that

    It is a functional laptop in an eBook-like shell. Just look at the pictures. There is a pic of a kid holding the thing like a laptop with a virtual keyboard on the bottom display, and a game being played on the top display. This indicates that it has much more than eBook capabilities, and likely incorporates multi-touch capability.
  • ...Windows XP?
  • It saddens me that my $200 is going to be going toward 67 Windows licenses instead of something useful. With this 2nd gen XO.... I don't know. The screen looks too small to do anything with, kids or no kids, and there's no way they're going to get cost and power consumption down while keeping decent performance. No idea what Negroponte is thinking. I love my XO-1 (typing on it right now, with Xubuntu), but I have no intention of supporting the project in the future if they bow down to the M$ tax.
    • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:58PM (#23481192)
      > It saddens me that my $200 is going to be going toward 67 Windows licenses instead of something useful.

      The truly sad part is that it is just so obvious that the fix is in at OLPC. If it were true that they were having trouble getting acceptance because of Linux, and that a 'product' OS was needed to close deals, I can believe that part. The real world has idiots in it. But Steve offered em OS X for zero dollars and they refused on the ground it wasn't open source.

      And I remember the way they argued so irrationally when anyone suggested a non x86 CPU to lower power consumption when the ONLY reason to put an x86 in a machine like that was to keep the door open to Windows.
  • Smart (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yurka (468420) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @02:29PM (#23479724) Homepage
    Well, that's certainly a way to deal with all those XO keyboards falling apart - not having a keyboard at all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @03:16PM (#23480504)
    Bruce Perens predicted this [slashdot.org]:

    The purpose of OLPC is not to give third world kids a laptop. It's to give them books. You see, those third world countries don't have an annual budget of $100/student to buy kids textbooks. So, OLPC is an efficient means to deliver e-texts to those kids. ... Microsoft will partner with textbook publishers to make free or low-cost but time-locked and otherwise DRM-encumbered electronic versions of their textbooks available on OLPC.
    People associated with the project denied it, now it looks certain he was right.
  • Ignore the slashdot headline. Read Mary Lou Jepsen's blog, http://www.pixelqi.com/ [pixelqi.com] for the technical vision.

    Mary Lou's vision of the next generation of display technology is:

    - Daylight readable
    - Color
    - Fast enough for video
    - Embedded Wireless
    - Touchscreen
    - Embedded solid-state storage
    - Extremely low power (1 watt)
    - Embedded battery
    - Battery life measured in days, not hours
    - Embedded processor

    Mary Lou's point is that with a machine like this, who needs a heavy-weight OS? Just about everything one needs on the OS side would already be in the hardware.

    These are clearly the ideas behind what Nicholas is describing.

  • by nguy (1207026) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:05PM (#23481340)
    Well, after he sold OLPC 1.0 to Microsoft, how can he trump that for OLPC 2.0? Easy: sell out to Amazon. The device may be $75, but the DRM will be priceless. Instead of running Sugar on Linux, it sounds like it may run Amazon's reader on WinCE.

    Seriously, Mr. Negroponte, make up your mind what you want people to volunteer for. An eBook reader? A constructionist learning device? A low-cost laptop to sell stripped down Windows versions to the developing world? When you figure it out, maybe the volunteers will come back.

    But don't bet on it.
  • by BookRead (610258) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:44PM (#23482092)
    Working for a textbook publisher I can say that no one is currently worried about eBook options for textbooks (although I've been trying to tell them it's coming). OLPC seemed to me to be a potential game changer for education but I think it's lost its way. Falling into the MS reality distortion field was the first mistake. I think the proposed form factor is interesting but I think the hardware target is lame and uninspired.

    The big problem is that they leave out the content. Creating textbook content is key and requires a serious investment to match the curriculums. Yes, textbooks are expensive (and profitable), but much of the cost is in creating the content and customizing the content for each school. The problems with eBooks isn't the hardware it's having enough content. Amazon is semi-close with Kindle. Reading for pleasure will likely never happen with eBooks but it could work for education with enough of a commitment.

    Negroponte's close but, as usual, the Media Lab orientation is light on content and high on concept.

A motion to adjourn is always in order.

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