OLPC Part 2: Nicholas Negroponte on the Mideast and the XO 3 Tablet—and Why He May Not Ever Have to Build It

10/7/10Follow @bbuderi

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places like Gaza or Afghanistan, where the governments can’t afford them. That necessitated coming up with a new way of getting them paid for, Negroponte says.

So how is this going? Progress, to date, is slow. “Both Gaza and Afghanistan are in process-nobody’s stepped up to the plate,” Negroponte says, perhaps allowing some frustration to show through. In the case of Afghanistan, he says, only 3,000 laptops have been distributed so far, with another 1,000 on the way. “The American government spends $2 billion a week on the war, and we spend $2 million a week on education [in Afghanistan]. It’s kind of incredible. So all the president of the United States has to do is move half of one percent from Column A to Column B and every child in Afghanistan would have a connected laptop.”

Gaza has seen a bit more success, but only a bit. Some 3,000 laptops have been distributed there as well, the last of the now-ended Give One, Get One program that donated one computer for each one purchased, Negroponte says. But OLPC is not allowed to talk to Hamas, which controls Gaza, “so it’s complicated,” he says. But that hasn’t daunted OLPC’s ambitions. The foundation wants to bring laptops to every child in Gaza and the West Bank, and to a large number in Israel as well. (All told, there are some 390,000 children in Gaza, 575,000 on the West Bank, and another 850,000 in Israel, Negroponte says.) That effort would cost about $300 million, he says, “which is not so big…it’s a manageable project.” What’s more, he adds, “We want to raise that by December 31st.”

To do this, OLPC is in discussion with other countries, trying to forge what Negroponte calls “bilateral-type agreements.” For instance, he says, “Maybe a Japan or Norway would help fund Gaza or Afghanistan,” he says.

XO 3— An Unbreakable Tablet Computer

XO3photoNext up was the XO 3. It was here Negroponte dropped the news of Marvell’s grant. The chipmaker will provide the brains of a tablet for the developed world that will hit the market sometime next year, with the XO 3 version currently slated for 2012. Negroponte says the requirements of the OLPC model—targeting children in emerging nations—make it harder to produce than the “first world” Marvell tablet. He then ticked off the core features envisioned for the XO 3:

—100 percent plastic: “So it will be unbreakable,” he explains. “That’s very key. It’s not soft, but it’s bendable. The way to make something unbreakable is to have it be bendable.”

—Super thin and lightweight: Comparing the XO 3 to the iPad, Negroponte says, “It’s … Next Page »

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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  • http://ARMdevices.net charbax

    Maybe this would be tge right time for OLPC and Marvell to develop mesh networking using the unlicenced 700mhz spectrum, this way, free wireless broadband Internet would reach the poorest most remote villages too.

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  • http://www.power2people.org/ efika

    “The humanitarian donation idea, he says, is almost “totally new.”

    no it isn’t , the Genesis efika PPC based SOC unit $99 was doing that plus giving their kit to Open source dev’s willing to port and write new code apps etc years ago,as was the concept of community bounties as found in the old amiga/AROS and later expanded by AROS etc.

    hell they even have that low cost potential ARM A8 laptop and self contained super low power 4watt or less micro box available to and for self hosted ARM development TODAY.

    see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOSluW6vHL8&feature=player_embedded#! and be amazed, shame their not being externally financed to make a new dual ARM9 ready for cristmas/new year.

    you or Nicholas Negroponte dont seem very informed about whats been out there for a long time now to mean exactly the needs outlined, but perhap’s now you and he may contact them and put some financing plan forward to them to make this cheap low power dual ARM9 with x264 1080P Encoding/steaming capability’s and meshed long range wireless 11N etc device potfolio together ASAP.

    oh and for information , its also got QNX RTP6 (AKA the new[/old as in to 2000 amiga initative that Ainc fleecy failed to pursue ]Playbook OS from RIM)ported to it too as Dan of QNX is fully aware of Genesis contribution in this and several other world projects others seem intent on getting the PR and credit for, shame.

    http://aros.sourceforge.net/

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=Twitter+,+%23efikamxandroid

    http://bbrv.blogspot.com/

  • efika

    oops, thats a typo, it should read “genesi” as in http://www.genesi-usa.com/

    but your 10 minutes left edit time didn’t seem to work for me first time, re-edit these and other typo’s in the original if you like.
    such as “whats been out there for a long time now to mean exactly the needs outlined” should read “…whats been out there for a long time now to meet exactly the required near and longer term needs outlined” “and later expanded by AROS etc” to read “and later expanded by genesi and their http://www.power2people.org/ etc” etc.

  • Paz

    Very Good from Paraguay!!!!