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Displays Education Portables

OLPC Unveils Plans For Tablets By 2012 102

adeelarshad82 writes "The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative outlined its product roadmap for the next three years, a plan that includes the release of tablet-based OLPC by 2012. During the next three years, OLPC plans on releasing two laptops, the first two years' priced around $200 and $150 respectively, before launching a tablet in 2011 for less than $100."
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OLPC Unveils Plans For Tablets By 2012

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  • Don't they know that the world is going to end that year? [] What are they thinking?

  • This is clearly just a ploy to inflate their own stocks before planet X smashes into the earth in 2012. They don't even need to develop anything at all!
    • by sajuuk ( 1371145 )
      I still wish we could tag stories on /. with "2012."
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MathiasRav ( 1210872 )
        I propose mmxii
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by oldspewey ( 1303305 )
        What's stopping you? I make up tags all the time ... sometimes they even persist and the story stays tagged that way for hours or more.
        • What's stopping you? I make up tags all the time ... sometimes they even persist and the story stays tagged that way for hours or more.

          Really? Not once have I ever applied any tag, not even the more standard/common/generic ones, refreshed the Slashdot main page, and seen my tag still in place. My personal user page shows that I used such a tag, but not the main page. I have Excellent karma, frequently receive mod points, and otherwise don't appear to be on any shitlists. I have never received a good explanation for this. Someone somewhere is able to tag stories and have it stay on the main page, else I wouldn't see them there. But no

          • I think you need more than one person to apply the tag before it hits the article summary. Tagging appropriate articles with slashvertisement will often (but not always) show up on the article for a short period of time until an editor blocks it. I assume someone else has added it too when it does show up, but I guess I don't really know.
          • IME, you've gotta catch the stories pretty early. Once there are even 20-30 comments it's probably too late for a single instance (yours) of some clever or unique tag to overcome all the other tagging that's already taken place. And unless the tag is genuinely relevant and/or funny, nobody else is going to mimic it and it'll disappear pretty quick.
  • Nicholas Negroponte plans on massive deflation of the dollar in 2012.
  • I still am not entirely sure about this project -- there seems to be more of a reliance on technology as an end in itself, simply crossing fingers for some kind of digital third-world transformation to occur.

    Instead of outcomes, they seem to be focusing on outputs, namely laptops distributed. But what are they supposed to do with them practically? Does it give them a pocket library, replacing books if not thousands of books? Will this help them with agriculture? Are there any structured curriculums for lear

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      It seems just to be a bunch of vague educational programs wrapped in sweet talk without any specific outcomes intended.

      Hasn't that been the American way of education for the past century? We turned out better than they turned out, maybe they should pragmatically give our method a try? An amazing amount of effort has been applied to avoid making that frank admission.

      • Because of course, apart from education, every other aspect of life in the US and Africa is identical so it must be that they're doing the education stuff wrong...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I still am not entirely sure about this project -- there seems to be more of a reliance on technology as an end in itself, simply crossing fingers for some kind of digital third-world transformation to occur.

      From the beginning, the OLPC project has been clear that it is an education project in which technolgoy is a means of enabling a particular mode of education, not a project in which technology is an ends.

      Instead of outcomes, they seem to be focusing on outputs, namely laptops distributed. But what are t

    • "If you want to see how this turns out, look at America's school system, for example, where there's been at least a 20-year focus on giving every child a computer for the sake of it. Granted, some school systems use technology in an excellent fashion. But how many billions were spent on computers that did nothing more than, on occasion, provide a replacement for typewriters when students needed to type a proper paper?"

      US students have no real economic incentive to learn (being poor here is inconvenient but

    • This is where the Intel Education foundation comes in. They pretty much spend all their time developing classroom and learning materials for teachers and students all over the world. At one point, Intel and OLPC were trying to make a deal to get this material on every OLPC, but that fell apart when they ended up fighting about poaching. Two organizations with laudable goals, and they end up in a bitch fight over territory and minor details.

      Anyway, the point is there is more than a little bit of educatio
  • Dupe? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @04:55PM (#30538770)

    Weren't these prices posted when OLPC first came out?

    Negroponte, please.

  • At 3x the projected cost, and 4x the timeframe..

    • by selven ( 1556643 )

      Hi, I'm from 2015. It's 7x the timeframe now.

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by aicrules ( 819392 )
        And my posting of a very appropriate XKCD got modded off topic...
        • Horrible when you try to post an overused meme in some attempt to effortlessly score karma and it all goes awry, isn't it? Yes, we know it's 'appropriate'. What you forget is that we've all seen them now. It's like the "Whazzup" thing from so many years ago. It got to the point where someone does it and everyone else in the room just kind of wanted to die.
          • I don't karma whore, it was just an XKCD that I had read moments before this article...seemed too much of a coincidence to let it go. But I'll try to conform to non-meme based postings in the future for your benefit.
  • This is about half the price of a PS3. Is it realy that good of a value for what you get, expecially since you cannot buy one in the US, just to mess around with, for that price.

    Oh well, just imagine a beowulf cluster of them anyway.

  • But in 2012 I will no longer be a child :(

  • by Capt.DrumkenBum ( 1173011 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @05:28PM (#30539074)
    For some reason everyone seems to think a tablet is the holy grail of computing. I can tell you, for most uses they don't add any value. I have owned two of them, and found both to be uncomfortable, and difficult to use. On the other hand, my HackBook Mini (AKA HP Mini 1000 with Snow leopard) gets used daily, and is an absolute pleasure to use.

    Tablets seem like a solution in search of a problem to me.
    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @05:53PM (#30539274)
      Well they're not the holy grail of computing, but they're the natural evolution of the clipboard. A lot of tasks need to be done while moving around, not sitting at a desk. A keyboard doesn't work for those tasks because you'd have to support the netbook with one hand while typing with the other. Clipboards were invented as a combination desk + writing surface for these situations. Tablets are the same thing for computing.

      The problem IMHO is people are still trying to make tablets too much like a desktop computer. It needs to be small, thin, light, and of course cheap with rudimentary pen-based data entry. It doesn't need to be a super-powerful computer which can run the latest version of Windows and calculate Pi to 1 million digits in 30 seconds. The most processor-intensive task it should have to handle is handwriting recognition. In that respect I think an OLPC tablet would be closer to the ideal than the 4-pound $1k tablets on the market today (ebook readers are getting there too). Make something which can replace the clipboard, and businesses will buy them in droves, I think.
      • I have little doubt the businesses will find uses for tablets. But for that to happen they will need to be made much more rugged. Most businesses will buy an expensive rugged product over a cheep disposable product every time.
        Just thinking about it now, perhaps ChromeOS would be a good match for such a device.
        • by asaz989 ( 901134 )
          Good news, then - I've seen tablets in the construction/architecture business at work sites, and they seem pretty rugged to me...
          • by kcbnac ( 854015 )

            Panasonic Toughbooks? Yeah, but they start at several thousand dollars for the rugged ones...

            Personally, I'd just as soon buy 3 of these (even at the $300 they'll come out at) than spend 4 times that for the 'rugged' one. That, or I'd pick up a used Toughbook.

      • by Phroggy ( 441 )

        It doesn't need to be a super-powerful computer which can... calculate Pi to 1 million digits in 30 seconds. The most processor-intensive task it should have to handle is handwriting recognition.

        Calculating pi to a million digits is a lot easier for the average computer than performing good handwriting recognition.

        People have some pretty warped ideas about what is simple and easy vs. what is complicated and difficult.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I totally agree that tablets are not all they are cracked up to be (Keyboards ftw!) but in the context of the OLPC they make the most sense. They have the less parts/meterials and you have to remember that the OLPC computers are not used like standard laptops and are made to provide computing to people with minimal education and encourage interaction between the youngsters.

      They make music, draw and play games more than word processing in a very hands on fashion. Tablets are also very much like a book - th

  • by Artifex ( 18308 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @05:37PM (#30539150) Journal

    Different hardware models every year, different complete form factor when the tablet gets out... surely these people could take a page from the people who design for corporate laptop orders, and make a rugged model that simply doesn't change for 3-5 years? These poor countries have enough trouble paying for these up front without having to worry about not being able to cannibalize parts among the models when some break.

    Not to mention the possibility that the hardware user interface may change enough among the models to require some extra training for teachers of classrooms with mixed hardware.

    Oh, and will it will be harder to care for tablets, which don't have a protective cover over them when being carried around? They might be "unbreakable," but what about unscratchable?

  • by soupforare ( 542403 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @05:41PM (#30539180)
    How about we get the 1.5 and 1.75 boards/machines shipping before this absolutely insane concept gets press releases. Looking at the specs and mockups, I think Ol' Nick has completely lost it. He's doing more damage to an already ailing charity, someone needs to shut him up.
  • More photos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davide marney ( 231845 ) * <> on Wednesday December 23, 2009 @06:52PM (#30539766) Journal

    over at PC World []. Actually, I like the idea of the XO-3. Sure, it's totally blue-sky, but it's great to have at least one outfit taking a completely clean-slate design approach to mobile computing.

    I like the hinged-panel XO-2 and MS Courier better, however. I think it's just more practical to have one part of the screen that can tilt up into the light. That said, the ring thingy of the XO-3 is interesting, too. I hadn't really thought about the mechanics of trying to hold a panel with one hand while touching with the other.

    Remember 10/GUI [], Clayton Miller's 10-fingered touch screen interface? Imagine a flexible 10/GUI touch pad that could be pulled out from under the XO screen. That might be interesting.

  • If I can't buy it, and you can't buy it, then it's vaporware as far as I know.
  • "We don't necessarily need to build it," Negroponte told Forbes. "We just need to threaten to build it."

    CherryPal just announced it's Africa Netbook available for sale today through it's website for a retail price of just $99, something that OLPC had promised years earlier and failed to deliver upon. While it is certainly not developed to live up to the specifications of the XO, the Africa Netbook does boast:

    7-inch display

    400MHz processor

    256MB memory

    2GB flash storage

    Linux or Windows CE

    4 hour battery

  • It all sounds so fantastic, that all children should have access to a laptop.

    Well, recently I was in the tiny Pacific country of Niue, where every child actually has a laptop.

    More than that, basically the entire nation (of 1,500 people) is a wireless hotspot, so every child can access the internet.

    But don't be misled, the laptops given to the children perform about three functions. They do connect to the internet, but even doing something as simple as a google search is next to impossible, because the speed

  • If it is released December 20, 2012, make sure the games menu only includes "A nice game of Chess".

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI