OLPC cuts price of XO 1.75 laptop to $165, power by half

OLPC's XO-3 will be a 9.7-inch touchscreen tablet and is due out in 2012

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) showed off the next version of its famous laptops on Thursday at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, saying the new price-per laptop has been reduced to US$165 each and power consumption has been slashed by half compared to the previous version.

The XO-1.75, with its 8.9-inch touchscreen, will start shipping in the second quarter of this year to countries around the world trying to bring schoolchildren into the computer age. OLPC was formed by professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a low-cost laptop for kids in poor countries to help make sure nobody is left behind in the computer age.

"The biggest obstacle has been power. We are pretty excited about getting a lower power laptop out there," said Edward McNierney, chief technology officer of OLPC, at a booth at CES.

The XO-1.75 is the first OLPC laptop to use chips based on processor technology from Arm Holdings, which has been a huge factor in reducing power on the laptop, McNierney said. The previous XO used an x86-based microprocessor, the kind made by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Via Technologies.

Using Arm-based chips halved power consumption to just 2-watts, he said.

The upcoming OLPC tablet, the XO-3, will come out in 2012 and use just 1-watt of power, he said.

The XO-1.75 laptop uses an 1GHz Armada 610 chip from Marvell Technology with Arm processing technology on board.

The new laptop takes a major step into the tablet-era for OLPC, McNierney said. The group put the entire motherboard, which holds the chips and other components, behind the laptop screen, leaving the other half of the laptop for the keyboard and battery. The move simplifies the design so the next step can do away with the bottom half and end up with a tablet.

The XO-3 tablet will have the same screen size as Apple's iPad, 9.7-inches, McNierney said.

"It's gotta be a full-sized device," he said.

OLPC also plans to make a cover to protect the tablet's screen. OLPC could put a soft, flat keyboard on the cover for easy typing and use a solar panel to solve the power issue.

OLPC has learned from experience that finding electricity is the main problem in getting the XO laptops to kids in developing countries. Many areas lack electricity, making it hard to recharge laptops. The group has come up with a number of novel ways to recharge the laptop's batteries.

McNierney recharged the XO-1.75 with a hand crank. It takes 1 hour and 47 minutes to fully recharge the battery by hand, he said.

The battery is made with lithium ferrous phosphate, which he said is safer the lithium ion. The OLPC batteries are designed to last for five years and slow-recharging is one way to extend the life of the battery, he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags processorshardware systemslaptopsdesktop pcsCESComponentsOne Laptop Per Child ProjectCES 2011

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?