This news makes me feel like a child again. As in: Waaaah, I want one, I want one. NOW. You might have seen the alien-looking, green-eared not-quite-$100-laptop in your community, under the hands of someone who had the foresight to jump on the buy two, get one deal intended to popularize the concept in the developed world while putting laptops in the hands of needy children. One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has abandoned the cute and childish look in their next model, the XO-2. In fact, the XO-2 may represent the future of computers, making the Macbook Air and the Kindle so yesterday. $100 Laptop E-book
The OLPC XO-2 looks and feels like a digital book, with text in the conventional format on both the left and right pages. Kindle user Mike Elgan remarked that the e-book is best left in a leather cover -- text on the right, leather on the left -- because it is simply more comfortable to hold. With this in mind, users will certainly appreciate the beauty of an e-book with the balance of a traditional book. And the XO-2 is small and light enough for a child to carry it everywhere, even strung around their neck.
$100 Laptop Keyboard Mode
But XO-2 goes well beyond merely storing the world's great literature for perusal. Turn one screen into a keyboard, and the XO-2 starts to look like a normal laptop. A mouse is redundant, since the monitor is also a touchpad. Let your fingers do the walking. XO-2 will certainly emulate traditional laptops in another respect: users are demanding that Microsoft Windows play on the machine. A year of development has succeeded to make the XO-1 XP compatible. XO-2 will most likely have dual-boot capabilities, hopefully retaining the option for open source operating systems for users that value OS over MS.
$100 Laptop for Two
XO-2's two touchscreen configuration lends itself easily to sharing. But the laptop for two will sip a mere 1 watt of power, compared to 2-4 watts consumed by the XO-1. Twice the fun for twice as long, or more. OLPC is hoping to keep this one under $100 (the XO-1 cost $188), projecting a price of $75 for large-scale educational buyers. The XO-2 is expected to make it to market in 2010.