There’s lots of talk going on about the OLPC XO‑1.75 now. A lot of it is inac­cu­rate.

I’ll quote John Watling­ton, VP of Hard­ware Engi­neer­ing at OLPC:

Dis­claimer: I’m VP of Hard­ware Engi­neer­ing at OLPC

ARM proces­sors pow­er­ful enough the sup­port the user expe­ri­ence we want­ed weren’t read­i­ly avail­able (at the price point we work at) four years ago, when work start­ed on the orig­i­nal XO design.

There were sev­er­al errors in that news arti­cle which I would like to clear up:

  • the XO‑1.75 will not have an 8.9″ screen, but will con­tin­ue with the sun­light read­able 7.5″ screen designed by Mary Lou Jepsen (now at Pix­el Qi) used in the XO‑1 and 1.5.
  • the $165 price is fic­tion (BOM price has­n’t been final­ized), but prob­a­bly not very far from the truth for the non-touch­screen equipped ver­sion. Please don’t for­get that since we don’t add any prof­it mar­gin, the lap­top price direct­ly depends on the vol­ume ordered.
  • the switch to ARM was com­plete­ly inde­pen­dent of any future sup­port for ARM in Win­dows. That sup­port was announced this week, while I’ve been pur­su­ing this ARM design for three years, with active devel­op­ment over the last eight months. Fur­ther­more, we are using the Mar­vell Arma­da 610, which won’t be sup­port­ed by Win­dows (if you believe M$).
  • Lin­ux has shipped, and will con­tin­ue to ship, on EVERY XO pro­duced. You can believe ran­dom com­menters, or you can believe the per­son who signs off on every SKU pro­duced.

I’ll also add that a lot of work has gone into soft­ware devel­op­ment, includ­ing port­ing Fedo­ra 14 to ARM and adding mul­ti-touch sup­port to the Sug­ar UI. This has been a long time in the mak­ing, and the announce­ment of Microsoft­’s ARM port is a coin­ci­dence. Sor­ry, no riv­et­ing con­spir­a­cies here.

Some media reports have been imply­ing that mass pro­duc­tion will start by mid-year. This is incor­rect. It may pos­si­bly be that the design is finalised by then, but plan­ning and tool­ing for mass pro­duc­tion and deliv­er­ies is quite an endeav­our beyond that.

If you want the real infor­ma­tion on the XO‑1.75, look at the OLPC Wiki page. Right now, they’re up to Alpha test mod­el 2. If you want to view or take part in the devel­op­ment dis­cus­sion, head over to the dev­el mail­ing list (strict­ly speak­ing, this list is for soft­ware devel­op­ment, but the com­mu­ni­ty are dis­cussing the hard­ware there too).

Speak­ing for OLPC Aus­tralia, it’s far too ear­ly to say what we’ll do about the XO‑1.75. I’m watch­ing it with great inter­est. Just as we com­plet­ed the world’s first deploy­ment of XO‑1.5 devices, I’m keen for us to do pio­neer­ing work and lead the way. If you want to be kept updat­ed and take part in OLPC Aus­tralia tech­ni­cal devel­op­ment, see our par­tic­i­pa­tion page.

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