Negroponte Unveils an OLPC Laptop E-Book


Negroponte of OLPC fame, unveils the 2nd Generation OLPC Laptop, which is an E-Book. I'm not sure I'll get one (or even if I'll be allowed to buy one [1]), but I like the idea. I'm still quite happy using my Gemstar (RCA) REB 1100 for all of my e-book needs.

While I like what the OLPC organization has done and continues to accomplish, there are a couple sticking points for me. First, their laptop is very under powered by today's standards. Although that is probably fine for their intended audience, it does make me not want to own one myself. Plus if you use it as intended, you're using their SUGAR interface which is new and limited – in the sense that you can only run applications specifically designed to run under SUGAR.

Some great things have come out of the OLPC project. They were very innovative with the display technology, which requires a lot less energy to power than normal laptop screens. Also, their mesh network concept seems like a good idea.

On a bad note, they've recently decided to support Windows on the OLPC devices, which I think is a very bad idea. A main point of the OLPC project was to foster openness and freedom, two ideals that Windows does not support – at least from a technical perspective.

On the e-book topic, researchers at Maryland and Berkeley Universities have created an interesting e-book reader that lets you flip the pages. That's a feature I don't think I need or want, but it's interesting.

[1] The original OLPC laptop cannot be bought directly. You may buy them for children in other countries, or donate to the project only.

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Tags: hardware olpc technology