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Second Generation One Laptop Per Child Due In 2010.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on May 20, 2008

I just received this release from OLPC passed on to me by fuseproject’s Yves Behar. Fascinating. Check out the image.


Second-generation XO laptop will continue to break through technology and cost barriers to deliver affordable learning tools for children in the poorest countries

Cambridge, Mass., May 20, 2008 – One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organization focused on providing educational tools to help children in developing countries “learn learning,” announced today that work is already underway on a second- generation version of its revolutionary XO laptop computer. Leveraging new advances in technology, the primary goal of the “XO-2” will be to advance new concepts of learning as well as to further drive down the cost of the laptop so that it is affordable for volume purchase by developing nations.

“Based on feedback from governments, educators and most important, from the children themselves, we are aggressively working to lower the cost, power and size of the XO laptop so that it is more affordable and useable by the world’s poorest children,” said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop per Child. “The delivery of the first generation XO laptop has sparked tremendous global interest in the project and provided valuable input on how to make the XO laptop an even better learning tool moving forward.”

“One Laptop per Child and the XO laptop are crucial to the fulfillment of the proposed UN Ninth Millennium Goal: to ensure that every child between the ages of 6 and 12 has immediate access to a personal laptop computer by 2015, said, Nirj Deva, Member of the European Parliament. “It’s only through access to education that young people will be able to develop the skills necessary to compete globally and to develop the solutions required to break the cycles of poverty, disease and malnutrition. Learning unites the child with the world, binds the village into a community, and joins that community to the global village.”

The first generation XO laptop went into production in early November 2007, and there are approximately 600,000 units in deployment in a number of countries including Peru, Uruguay, Mongolia, Haiti, Rwanda, Mexico, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the US and Canada (as a result of the Give One Get One charitable giving campaign that ran last November 12 – December 31, 2007). Key goals for the XO-2 include:

• Cost Reduction – Set in early 2005, the original target price of the XO laptop was $100. Although that target has not yet been met (it is now at $188), it is clear that OLPC must aim for an even lower target price of $75. New developments in display, processor and other hardware and software technologies will make it possible to achieve the $75 target in the future.

• Lower Power Consumption – While the first generation XO laptop already requires just one-tenth (2-4 watts versus 20-40 watts) of the electrical power necessary to run a standard laptop, the XO-2 will reduce power consumption even further to 1 watt. This is particularly important for children in remote and rural environments where electricity is scarce or non-existent. Lowering the power consumption will reduce the amount of time required for children to generate power themselves via a hand crank or other manual mechanisms.

• Smaller Footprint – The XO-2 laptop will be about half the size of the first generation device and will approximate the size of a book. The new design will make the XO laptop lighter and easier for children to carry with them to and from school or wherever they go. The XO-2 will continue to be in a green and white case and sport the XO logo in a multitude of colors that allow children to personalize the laptop as their own possession.

• Enhanced Book Experience – Dual-touch sensitive displays will be used to enhance the e-book experience, with a dual-mode display similar to the current XO laptop. The design provides a right and left page in vertical format, a hinged laptop in horizontal format, and a flat two-screen wide continuous surface that can be used in tablet mode. Younger 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. The dual-touch display is being designed by Pixel Qi, which was founded in early 2008 by Mary Lou Jepsen, former chief technology officer of One Laptop per Children and a leading expert on display technology.

“It’s crucial that the design of the XO laptop produce something that is both highly functional and a lot of fun for children to use,” said Yves Behar, founder of the fuseproject, a San-Francisco-based design and branding firm, and the industrial designer of the XO laptop. “Children have an amazing capacity to let us know how they use the laptop and what they want. The design of the next-generation XO is in response to their passion for learning, for sharing with each other, and for self-expression.”

Availability of the XO-2 is planned for delivery in 2010. XO-1.5 will be released in the spring of 2009 with the same design as the first generation but with fewer physical parts and at a lower cost than XO-1.”

What do you think?

Reader Comments

Ravi Sawhney

May 20, 2008 8:28 PM

The concept could be great to see realized. We worked with Alan Kay in 1990 on his learning book concept which had many things in common. That would be 20 years earlier than the XO-1. As Alan has been quoted:"The best way to predict the future is to invent it". However the concept developed was driven by Alan's understandings in the creation of new paths expanding Children's cognition. It would be great to see concepts of how this initiative could be driven from user experience as opposed to design and technology.

bruce nussbaum

May 20, 2008 8:35 PM

yes, exactly. that should be the source of innovation in this case.


May 20, 2008 11:03 PM

These laptop ideas are great as press releases, but I see much smaller forms of computing and data manipulation going on today over here in South Korea, let alone learning application and pedagogy.

If Samsung can get its corporate governance act cleaned up, the mobile phone as learning appliance should be the dominant form factor. LG just announced a very large investment in product design a few weeks ago.

Education over here in South Korea is the best blend of eastern and western approaches to education I have seen yet.

The XO needs to be much smaller as the screen size does not need to be that large for children to manipulate and understand images and text.


May 21, 2008 2:23 PM

Hi Bruce,
I really love this project and feel disappointed when I continually read that the laptop has preformed below expectations, despite the tremendous need and fantastic design. I can't figure it out. Do you have insight as to why this product hasn't taken off the way that the design team had hoped?

ravi Sawhney

May 21, 2008 4:28 PM

What I was pointing everyone at is that we shouldn't conclude that any of these concepts are what the rest of the world needs or desires.

And...we might be discarding valuable assets of research and study by others than ourselves that could enhance our solutions.

If we came into this from the outside, the first task at hand would be to see what's been done and how to use it.

I suspect that researching past and present work in human cognition facilitated though devices for "the bottom of the pyramid" would be an eye opener.

Is there additional information on how and why delivering this technology will hit the mark?


May 28, 2008 4:42 PM

"It would be great to see concepts of how this initiative could be driven from user experience as opposed to design and technology."

Is this exactly what's happening with v2.0? It seems that in schemes like this, the design cannot be top-down; it must be a collaborative process to reach its intended aims.

I wouldn't be surprised to see many iterations of the OLPC, as its use becomes more widespread and it is blended with other learning tools and environments.

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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