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BBC Overview of OLPC XO

The BBC summarizes the OLPC project and its now-finalized XO hardware.

Very unique constraints have led to unprecedented design ideas. However, I think many of these ideas will be proven by the XO and then adopted by more mainstream computing devices.

Among those ideas: “To ensure the laptop is robust and can be maintained as easily as possible it omits all moving parts. It has no hard drive, CD or DVD drive. As it also packs a low power processor it has no cooling fans… Instead of a large hard drive the laptop has 1GB of flash memory, similar to that used in some digital cameras.”

For energy efficiency, components can be shut off while other parts of the computer remain active: “The off-the-shelf processor is designed to be energy efficient. Unlike a standard chip, which remains active even when nothing changes on screen, the AMD processor is able to shut itself down, only waking when it is needed… To conserve as much battery power as possible the wi-fi adapter can operate even when the main processor is switched off or asleep.”

Other clever features include its custom Linux-based OS, screen that can switch to black-and-white mode for readability in daylight, human-generated power options, and replaceable keyboard to accommodate many language layouts.

Also take a look at some of the stress testing currently underway to ensure the XOs can withstand real-world conditions.

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