Today we heard the news about the OLPC XO-2, the successor of the first OLPC model. Geekzone has an article (with photo) right here. You can see there that the keyboard is actually just an image on a second display. This second display - obviously touch sensitive - can also be used as part of the book-reading mode, in which you hold the device upright like a book in front of you. You literally see two pages at the same time, one being displayed right where there was the keyboard a moment before.
Very slick, and very cool. No more crumbs and dirt between keys either. But I wonder how good a keyboard with non-tactile feedback is for extended typing. And you certainly end up with lots of fingerprints on the touch-display. Still, the sheer smoothness of the overall device is very attractive and neat.
The OLPC also has an utterly impressive display technology, which allows it to be read (in monochrome) in broad daylight. I really would like that on my laptop. The energy consumption is very low as well.
Too bad that the OLPC project forgot its original commitment to openness and learning, and now states that it really never was about that and instead is only about getting as many laptops out as possible. For anyone following the project it is clear that this is a lie. But so here now they are putting Windows on the machine, even though they always said that it was about the children being able to see what is happening to their machine, allowing them to see the code of any part of the system and to tinker with it. Too bad...
I hope that it will be possible to easily install Linux on the new device, or that other ultra-portable vendors pick up this idea and display technology as well. It's too good to just remain restricted to a project that has lost its direction and betrayed its original goals.
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