OLPC spin-off unveils modular XO-infinity design

February 23, 2015 | 12:27

Tags: #education #modular #nicholas-negroponte

Companies: #olpc #one-education #one-laptop-per-child

One Education, a spin-off from One Laptop Per Child Australia, has pledged to launch a new education-centric laptop dubbed the XO-infinity and boasting a clever modular design.

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project was the brainchild of philanthropist Nicholas Negroponte, and made headlines back in 2006 for its laudable and self-explanatory goal. Its first device, the XO-1 laptop, became publicly available in a give-one-get-one programme in 2007, but failed to get the traction for which the programme had hoped. In 2008, Intel announced it was leaving the OLPC board to concentrate on its own low-cost Classmate PC project, and in 2009 the OLPC was forced to slash its workforce in half and enforce salary reductions in order to stay afloat. Despite this, and a programme which saw its designs released under open-source licences, the company has remained active with a tablet unveiling at CES 2012 and remains a going concern led by two non-profit organisations.

Now, however, the OLPC programme has impending competition from one of its former divisions. One Education is a spin-off of One Laptop Per Child Australia, and it has announced its own spin on the concept: the XO-infinity. Based on the same founding principles as the XO-1, the XO-infinity is a modular design which allows the user to replace or upgrade any of five modules that make up the system: the core, with storage and CPU; the battery; the camera; the display; and the wireless radio.

The company claims that the modules, technical details of which have not yet been made publicly available, are based around 'open standards already in use by a variety of major manufacturers.' The modular nature of the XO-infinity improves on the XO-1's design, it further claims, by allowing increased flexibility: a touch-screen interface can be used without a keyboard as a tablet, while a cheaper non-touch display module can be used with a keyboard dock to reduce costs. It has been suggested that both ARM and x86 core modules would be produced, offering the option to run commercial operating systems including Google's Android, Linux, and Microsoft's Windows, alongside the project's own fork of the Sugar Learning Platform dubbed XO-system.

One Education has mock-ups of the concept on its official website, while the company has told The Register that it intends to show off a prototype later this year ahead of a planned crowd-funding campaign.
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