Negroponte Unveils Second Generation OLPC


Just a few months after shipping the first laptops, the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) is getting ready for round two. Chairman Nicholas Negroponte just unveiled the second generation laptop, going by the name XO-2 or XOXO.

Xoxo, laptop.org So here’s what it’ll look like. (Note the Matrix-like picture language? Ah, good times.)

Needless to say, from what Negroponte has shown it’s pretty amazing. (Am I biased obsessed? Well, in that case I think I can live with it.) The new generation is roughly half the size of the current version (or rather: the whole new machine seems to fit into the foldout screen of XO-1), and it features a dual touchscreen. Basically, it just consists of a dual touchscreen. So it’s a premium e-book, or a dual Pong screen, or half keyboard, half screen. Either way, it looks like the future is now. Think Minority Report meets International Aid.

And while that’s good news for developing countries, it’s probably good news for the industrialized world, too, namely for us gadget geeks: Just as the OLPC project pretty much created the low-price laptop segment (like the Asus EEE), XOXO will also push the prices for touch screen devices all the way down. I so want one! However, it’ll be another few years, aimed launch is 2010, for a planned cost of $75 per piece. (Again, it’s unlikely that they’ll hit that price, but even if they manage to produces these machines for, say, $100, who’s going to complain?)

Gizmodo has a picture gallery and a concise write-up, more coverage available directly from OLPC.

Valley Trip Summary: Half-time.


I’m about half-way into my trip to the Bay Area, i.e. Silicon Valley, so I figured it’s time for a first summary. First of all, I’ve been neglecting this blog, and to some degree even Twitter. This isn’t just because I’ve been spending my time doing and seeing a lot of stuff and a bunch of cool folks, but also due to a certain lack of infrastructure.

Sounds weird? Well… just when I was packing my bags for this trip, I got notice that my OLPC Laptop had (eventually) arrived. Excited to try it out, I decided to take the risk not to take along my real laptop, and instead to rely on the little green kids laptop. Turns out, that was a bit optimistic. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it’s not exactly the perfect tool for today’s knowledge worker if you know what I mean. (No, not even when you work mostly web-based. Trust me, I tried.) The main problems I can see after just a few days are the tiny (and very soft) keyboard, browser performance and the pretty regular crashes when trying to open more than two browser windows. Again, this is not what this laptop was intended for, it’s just my experiences. On the plus side, the battery is great, it’s super light and the screen is simply amazing: You can read perfectly in direct sunlight.

What else, besides my personal geek issues? This part of the West Coast is absolutely gorgeous, even more so than I expected. What struck me even more, though, is just how well-connected and highly energetic the web and tech community in the valley is. Within just a few days, I’ve had the chance to meet a whole bunch of cool & interesting folks. Even during this short time, I feel like I’ve learned a fair bit about startup culture and how different it seems to the German secene. It’s almost a cliché, but practically every person I’ve met works in either tech/web, finance/VC or academia. The speed new connections are made here amazes me. On the other hand, once you just get outside and stroll through the streets of San Francisco, time seems to slow down and people seem very laid back. (Is it a sun thing, maybe, and the mild climate has a soothing effect?) I could totally see myself working here for a while.

Anyway, as soon as I have some more time (and a slightly bigger keyboard), I’ll write proper wrap-up. Maybe I’ll be able to post first thoughts on some of the brainstormings we’ve been doing already as well.

I’ll be in the Bay Area until Thursday; if you’re around and would like to meet up, drop me a note!

One Laptop Per Child Project Launches Social Media Campaign


One Laptop Per ChildAs I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, which aims at giving kids in developing countries a rugged laptop so they get easier access to educational material and so they get a chance to bridge the digital gap on their own.

If you’d like to support the OLPC project, there’s a great way to do so: You buy two laptops and it’s Give One, Get One. One of the awesome green things is mailed to you, the other one goes straight to a soon-to-be-hacking kid. (The program is available to U.S. and Canadian citizens only, so far, so to order from somewhere else, you’ll have to do so through friends in the States. Which, admittedly, can be kind of a pain.)

This Give One, Get One program is, of course, a fundraiser, but first and foremost a means to raise awarenesss. The OLPC project is also accompanied by a very solid social media campaign. As Chris Brogan has pointed out, this is a great example for how social media can drive social responsibility campaigns.

The OLPC campaign includes updates through Twitter, both for transparency (Peru just ordered 260,000 laptops) and to point out other supporting projects, such as Luminaire, a fundraiser by artists for OLPC. You can support OLPC through the Facebook cause, or even give this greenest of all laptops directly through Facebook.

There’s a joint story telling campaign by UNICEF, OLPC and Google, Our Stories:

The Our Storiesâ„¢ project helps people share the stories of their lives, no matter where they live or how their stories unfold. We’re providing resources to create and share personal stories from all over the world, starting with children in developing countries who are using One Laptop per Child (OLPC) computers or those who are working with UNICEF radio producers to record and share interviews. Children are asked to record the stories of elders, family members, and friends.

Personally, I’d still like to see what happens if you hook up the OLPC Laptop with Twitter. My idea? It’d go boom, in a good way. But that’s just me.

(If you speak German, you might also be interested in Markus Beckedahl‘s take on how the web offers good opportunities particularly small political organizations. Having been active in the online campaigning field for a long time, he knows the ropes and shared his insights in this interview he gave for my client Blogpiloten.de.)