Do $200 Blogging Laptops Make OLPC Obsolete?

Jan 8th, 2009 | By | Category: Commentary, General, Microblogging

Check out this $200 blogging netbook from Freescale:

Created in concert with Pegatron, the reference design features the i.MX515 processor, Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system, a new power management IC from Freescale, the SGTL5000 ultra low-power audio codec and Adobe Flash Lit software, Adobe’s Flash Player for mobile phones
and devices.

Integrating an ARM Cortex-A8 core and manufactured using 65-nm process technology, Freescale’s new i.MX515 provides up to 2100 Dhrystone MIPS and can scale in performance from 600MHz to 1GHz. Advanced power management features included in the i.MX515 processor, such as a dedicated, hardware-based video acceleration block, allow for extended battery life and eliminate the need for fans or heat sinks.

The i.MX51 is one of the only processors to offer both OpenVG and OpenGL graphics cores, thereby enabling 2D and 3D graphics as well as Flash and SVG for enhanced user experiences. Video created for the Adobe Player is one of the leading video formats on the Internet today. Working with Adobe, Freescale plans to enable the Adobe software to run on the processor’s dedicated OpenVG graphics block, thereby extending battery life and enabling netbook web browsing experiences as rich and responsive as those on traditional PCs.

Freescale’s netbook reference design is available now. Volume production for the i.MX515 device is planned for Q2 2009 to power netbooks designed for the 2009 holiday shopping season.

These devices are wimpy – but they are also cheap, cute and good enough to stand in for real laptops for a lot of chores – like blogging and micropublishing.

In related news – the One Laptop Per Child project has announced that it’s laying off half of its staff. The OLPC laptop obviously has different goals than these netbooks, but can the non-profit continue to make laptops when they’re being undercut by mainstream devices?

Do you think that these cheap netbooks make the original focus of the OLPC project obsolete?

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No Responses to “Do $200 Blogging Laptops Make OLPC Obsolete?”

  1. I actually think you ask a ridiculous question here. The original focus of the OLPC project is about learning, not making a cheap notebook that a company can profit from school systems. These devices, cheap as they are, are not built on the principles of learning and collaboration. In fact, the very name netbook suggests that their only use is for the Internet, publishing (blogging), and productivity. Those are not the fundamentals behind the design and development of the XO laptop from OLPC.

  2. Ian H. says:

    Nicholas Negroponte said at the outset of the OLPC project that part of the goal was to get other companies into the same space in order to have more options. That soured a bit when Intel launched its Classroom PC, which was designed specifically to compete with the XO, but I think that the OLPC foundation still has a mandate to fill which is not being covered by Asus, Acer, MSI et al.

  3. James Lewin says:

    Good points – but don’t you think this fundamentally challenges the idea of building cheap OLPC computers?

    The OLPC project may have to morph to adapt to the fact that companies can advance technology faster than a non-profit.

  4. Rich says:

    75% of my home computer use is searching, reading and communicating online, activities that require little processing power or memory. With more applications becoming online services many may opt for simple, cheap devices for connecting and comfortably typing.

  5. Brian C. Smith says:

    @James Lewin No. It does not fundamentally challenge the ideas behind the OLPC. The OLPC wasn’t create for developed countries. While OLPC may have gotten the ball rolling with this, I’m still wonder why everyone uses it as a measuring stick. It’s a learning machine (for more read Seymour Papert’s The Children’s Machine)

    If we look at this from the standpoint of speed and cost the “netbooks” win. No doubt. But again, there are deep fundamental differences between why the XO was developed and why “netbooks” are taking off. I guess I’d like to see a hybrid here.

  6. Ich denke, Ihr Blog brauchen ein neues wordpress Vorlage. Downalod

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