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OLPC axes dual-screen XO, switches to ARM

updated 06:50 pm EST, Tue November 3, 2009

Company changing focus following layoffs

The One Laptop Per Child Association, the manufacturer behind the OLPC notebooks, has axed its plans to build a dual-screen XO device, according to an Xconomy interview with the group's founder and chairman, Nicholas Negroponte. The second generation notebook, originally announced in May of last year, has been scrapped as OLPC instead focuses on adapting the first-generation XO with updated internals.

Version 1.75 will retain the same basic industrial design as the current XO, although an ARM-based system-on-a-chip (SOC) component will replace the VIA CPU. Liliputing suggests that dropping the x86 chipset will effectively prevent the device from running Windows, although the earlier models were based on Linux.

The ARM design is claimed to reduce power consumption while allowing the graphics acceleration and wireless to be handled by a single chip. The XO-1 used an average of 5 watts of power, while ARM processors typically fall well below 1 watt.

Following recent layoffs, OLPC has begun to restructure its efforts. The non-profit group is now split into the Foundation, which handles efforts to expand educational efforts in developing countries, and the Association, which focuses on building the XO notebooks.

Although the Association has scrapped plans for the dual-screen XO-2, the engineers are already looking forward to the XO-3. Details have not been finalized, but Negroponte describes the third-generation device as a "single sheet, completely plastic and unbreakable, waterproof, 1/4-inch thick, full color, reflective and transmissive, no bezel, no holes." OLPC is aiming for power consumption around 1W and a price near $75, with models beginning to ship sometime in 2012.

by MacNN Staff



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