While that price goal had not been met by the start of 2008, the XO is a reality -- a fully featured laptop with a color screen and wireless connectivity that runs a new graphical user interface on top of Linux.
Hilights of the technology include instant "mesh" networking between laptops without the need for an external server or Internet, a unique low power/low cost color display that can be used as a monochrome reflective screen in daylight , a measly 2 Watt power consumption rating (compared to 25-40W for a typical laptop), a rugged case designed to withstand harsh conditions, a web browser based on the Firefox engine, a word processor, and email offer through Google's GMail. Educational software includes programming languages based on Logo, Smalltalk and Python, a music construction set that turns the XO into a synthesizer with the typewriter keys serving as a two-octave keyboard, plus word processing, drawing, calculation and measurement applications. A built in camera takes still and video pictures or records audio. The machine has no hard drive or other moving parts, but has a gigabyte of flash memory, an SD card slot and three USB ports, which can be used for storage devices as well as etxernal keyboards, mice and measurement devices.
While the computer is not available for retail sale, a Christmastime 2007 "Give One, Get One" program allowed supporters in North America to purchase a computer for a child in the developing world and buy one for themselves, for a total investment of $400, half of it tax-deductible. Wiki, mailing list and Web bulletin board systems allowed users to form support communities for machines they purchased through the non-commercial project. The Beta-1 release began in late 2006, followed by a Beta-2 release in February, 2007. Quanta Computer has been contracted to manufacture the XO-1.
According to Wikipedia, here are the specs as of March, 2007:
- CPU: 433 MHz AMD Geode LX-700 at 0.8 watt, with integrated graphics controller
- 1200×900 7.5" diagonal LCD (200 dpi) that uses 0.1 to 1.0 watts depending on mode. The two modes are:
- Reflective (backlight off) monochrome mode for low-power use in sunlight. This mode provides very sharp images for high-quality text.
- Backlighted color mode, with an effective resolution that is asymetricly reduced in complicated ways. See below for details.
- 256 MiB of Dual (DDR266) 133 MHz DRAM
- 1024 KiB (1 MiB) flash ROM with open-source LinuxBIOS and OpenFirmware
- 1024 MB of SLC NAND flash memory
- External SD card slot
- Wireless networking using an “Extended Range” 802.11b/g wireless chipset run at a low bitrate (2 Mbit/s) to minimize power consumption.
- Marvell 8388 wireless chip, chosen due to its ability to autonomously forward packets in the mesh even if the CPU is powered off. An ARM processor is included.
- Dual adjustable antennae for diversity reception.
- Water-resistant membrane keyboard using a fairly conventional (QWERTY in the US International localization) layout. The multiplication and division symbols are included.
- Dual five-key cursor-control pads; four directional keys plus Enter
- Touchpad for mouse control and handwriting input
- Built-in color camera, to the right of the display, VGA resolution (640×480)
- Built-in stereo speakers
- Built-in microphone
- Audio based on the AC97 codec, with jacks for external stereo speakers and microphones, Line-out, and Mic-in
- 3 external USB2 ports.
- Power sources:
- DC input, ±10–25 V
- 5-cell rechargeable NiMH battery pack, 22.8 watt-hour (82 kJ) capacity