I’ve seen the $200 XO Laptop mentioned several times in the past couple of weeks and I was just wondering what the whole deal is behind it. What is it for? Can I buy one for myself? Please explain!
Why sure, I would love to! No, in all honesty, I think this topic is so cool and it would be my pleasure to tell you all about it. This question comes just in time for the holidays too! I’m sure many of you have already started your Christmas shopping (and as you should, there are only 48 days left until Christmas!) and after you read through this article, you may want to add one more thing to your shopping lists. Read on for all the details!
First of all, this whole thing comes from the “One Laptop Per Child” (OLPC) project that was presented a couple years ago. When it first started, the project team’s goal was to produce $100 laptops for the children living in third-world countries. The laptops are fully functional and they provide a new learning environment for children who would probably never be able to afford a laptop on their own. The OLPC project has been very successful in reaching their goals, but this year, they had to raise their price point to $200. It’s still for a good cause though!
So, what exactly is the XO laptop? Well, the laptop itself is about the size of a textbook, it’s very light weight, but very durable as well. The outside shell even comes with two antennas (also known as ears) that provide wireless Internet access for the children. They come with a 433 MHz AMD processor, 1 GB of memory and they’re all equipped with the Linux operating system. All the XO laptops are green in color and they’re very modernized in appearance. Below is an example of what one looks like. Cool, huh?!
As you can see, the LCD screen that comes with it (7.5 inch, high-resolution) sort of swivels around and it’s built so that it can be viewed in the bright sunlight. Another great thing about these laptops is that they are very power efficient. They only use two watts of power, which is a lot less (almost 30 times) than the typical laptop. They can also be recharged by using a hand crank, pull cord, pedal, solar panel or car battery, which comes in very handy for places where electricity is not always readily available. The XO laptops also come with a built in microphone, a speaker set and a touchpad for browsing around. The software suite that also comes along with the laptop includes a Web browser, word processor, multimedia tools and programming tools. Talk about loaded!
Now, I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that this wouldn’t be very realistic for your own use, but they are the perfect learning tool for children who have never worked with computers before. They are designed to help those children develop their learning skills for the technology part of the world, which is very important in this day and age. The XO laptop is very much meant for children only, as there are no CD/DVD drives and the keyboard is very small. Because of that, the average adult may have trouble typing with it. Another downfall is that the laptop cannot work with the Windows operating system as of yet, but the OLPC foundation said they are working with Microsoft on making that happen in the near future. Let’s just hope that doesn’t raise the price too much!
After hearing all of this, some of you may be wondering if you can purchase an XO laptop for yourself. Yes, you can buy one for your own personal use or to give as a gift, but you need to keep in mind that your time is limited. On November 12, 2007 the OLPC group is starting their “Give 1, Get 1″ program. This program allows you to purchase two of the XO laptops for $399 (in U.S. funds). With that, you can save one for yourself or your child and the other will be sent to a child in another country. How cool is that?! Like I said, this program launches on November 12th and it’s only expected to be open for two weeks. So, if you’re thinking about giving this awesome gift this holiday season, you’ll want to be making some final decisions soon. To be a part of the “Give 1, Get 1″ program, you can sign up on the XO Giving Web site here. You will then receive an e-mail prior to the launch date with some additional information.
I guess that’s about all I can tell you for now. I really think this whole thing is a great concept and I hope you all have enjoyed learning about it. It’s just something that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, especially around this time of the year. Check it out today and give something back this Christmas! : )