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OLPC to get better-than-iPhone multi-touch

updated 02:35 pm EDT, Tue May 27, 2008

OLPC XO2 Multi-Touch

The One Laptop Per Child project's XO2 notebook will use an improved form of multi-touch display when it ships, says Mary Lou Jepsen of the display's creator company, Pixel Qi, in a new interview with Laptop. Instead of using an iPhone-like technique that sandwiches the touch-sensitive layer in between the glass and an LCD, the XO2 will use an in-cell touchscreen where the receptors are woven into the display itself. The process both saves money by reducing the production to a single part and also produces a brighter screen without the need for a surface layer.

Jepsen doesn't explain what apps on the child-oriented PC are likely to use multi-touch, though Apple uses multi-touch on the iPhone and iPod for zooming into images and websites.

The dual LCDs proposed for the XO2 also promise additional breakthroughs, including one of the largest screens to incorporate haptic (vibration) feedback for certain events as well as improvements to readability outside, where touchscreens sometimes suffer. These displays should also be extremely power efficient and will actually help OLPC reach its goal of one watt or less of average power use, according to the report.

News of the enhanced screen makes the XO2 the first notebook known to include a multi-touch display. While Apple and ASUS have already begun implementing multi-touch into their systems through the trackpads of MacBooks and Eee PCs, neither has yet announced plans to build the advanced input into the screens themselves.

by MacNN Staff



  1. gambit-7

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Instead of wasting money sending poor kids a laptop, why don't you send something more useful? Like - oh, I don't know - food?

    Even better: food that's not rice?

    If I was starving, and I had a choice of a multitouch laptop or food, I think I'd know which one I'd want.

  1. dagamer34

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Last I checked, OLPC is debuting the XO2 so that other people will copy their design, I'm guessing because they can't do it now either.

  1. rubik

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "better-than-iPhone" eh?

    I hate it when people compare a planned product's technology to a current product's technology.

    The iPhone will be improving too, and will probably have improved multi-touch before the next OLPC.

    The only difference is that Apple doesn't pre-announce things.

    Don't get me wrong, I like the OLPC project, but these kinds of comparisons are silly, especially when that's your headline.

  1. macentric

    Joined: Dec 1969



    A goal of a cheaper and better multi-touch interface is nice and all, but it may have to get left on the cutting room floor when push comes to shove in terms of the price of the notebook. As I recall the original XO was supposed to cost $100 but in reality has a BOM of just shy of $200.

    Will they be able to make this laptop fly at this price with these extravagant feature sets for a notebook built for 3rd world countries?

    They would be better suited to keeping the price of the educational tech cheap instead of pushing the boundaries of inexpensive notebooks. They seem to be forgetting the original mission of OLPC.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Of course these will actually ship with said technology. And the windoze 7 skins will make people want to buy vista too...

    Hey, wait a second...

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