Planned One Laptop Per Child Tablet

I’ve mentioned the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project before. It’s very interesting to me.

Originally the project set out to create a $100 laptop (that may have even been the original name of the project?). They did manage to create a functional laptop with quite impressive educational software, but the cost for the laptop remains $200. Recently the founder of the project, Nicholas Negroponte, announced plans for a $75 tablet computer with a 9″ touch screen. The touch screen would also be a dual-mode display, which can function like the Amazon Kindle and use little power in well-lit environments, or can be backlit like traditional LCD screens. Not only that, Negroponte hopes that the screen will be constructed of some sort of ultra-durable plastic rather than glass.

My question: Is this guy crazy? Granted OLPC paved the way for our current netbook market. But I don’t think the touch screen he describes has been done before. That’s a lot of features to pack into an inexpensive device… I don’t know, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Not at $75, anyway.

This reminds me of a few years ago when Negroponte made an effort to use Windows on the XO instead of Linux. Many of the developers behind the project disagreed with him. There is a great summary of the events (and the OLPC and Sugar projects) here. Negroponte may be a driving force behind the project, but he doesn’t seem to be 100% grounded in reality.

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