The "XO" is a so-called "$100 PC" that OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) has developed. To find out the PC's true potential, Nikkei Electronics has acquired the XO using a "Give One Get One" program.
Content of the package box could not be simpler. The box only contained the main unit, a power supply, a thank you note from OLPC's Founder and CEO Nicholas Negroponte and a single-sheet simple leaflet, which contrasted remarkably with the thick manuals that usually come with PCs.
Written on the leaflet were no more than instructions on how to set up the PC before switching it on, an explanation of the external ports, two graphics of sample displays during operation and some directions for use. And the leaflet only says, "Access www.laptop.org/gettingstarted" for further information.
OLPC probably considered it does not have to give instructions on individual use, given a concept that the XO is basically handed over to children at a classroom and teachers directly give them instructions there.
The XO's appearance is really cute. Using white and green colors, which seem to be a perfect fit for a gadget, the XO is marked with its slightly loud logo. It looked so lovely that one of our female staff members cried out, "It's so cute!"
Its design includes a handle, which personally reminded me of Texas Instruments Inc's educational toy "Speak and Spell" (you must be of my generation or older if you can tell what it is.)
The way to open its display part was unique. If you pull up the hinges on both sides, you can open the display with the latch hook released. The hinges seemed to house wireless LAN antennas.
Behind the hinges were USB, microphone and headphone ports. An SD memory card slot was, however, located on the bottom surface of the display, which was slightly difficult to access. These were about all that can be used for external connection. Equipped with hinges, the display could rotate 180 degrees.
The battery system was housed underneath the PC. It had "Rechargeable Fe Battery" written on it. According to a reporter who knows much about batteries, this was apparently a Li-ion secondary battery that uses Fe as its negative electrode material.
Generally, many Li-ion batteries use carbon for their negative electrodes, but it is safer to use iron. OLPC must have employed a safer battery system because it cannot limit use environments of the XO, unlike standard PCs.
We usually start breaking down the target from here. However, we would like to focus on software mounted on the XO for a change this time. That is because we considered the XO simply used low-cost components, rather than inviting cost increases by insisting on packaging technologies.
- [OLPC XO] Original UI, Unique Operation [Part 2]
- [OLPC XO] Many Programming Education Applications [Part 3]
- [OLPC XO] Connecting to Network [Part 4]