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Negroponte Offers OLPC Technology For India's $35 Tablet 104

angry tapir writes "One Laptop Per Child wants to join forces to help develop the Indian government's planned $35 tablet. In a congratulatory note to the government, OLPC Chairman Nicholas Negroponte said the world needs the $35 tablet, and he offered the country full access to OLPC hardware and software technology."
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Negroponte Offers OLPC Technology For India's $35 Tablet

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  • by naz404 ( 1282810 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @05:46AM (#33108218) Homepage
    OLPC did not sell out to Microsoft. OLPC's policy is simply like this: If an organization buys OLPC XO-1 & XO-1.5 machines, they are free to do with them what they want, even install Windows should they choose (unlike the iStuff Apple does not want you tinkering around with and have to be jailbroken in order to do more stuff). You buy it, you own it and are free to install whatever software you want on it (whether open or proprietary), unlike a lot of gadgets today which you only seem to license from their manufacturers due to their DMCA and DRM hooks.

    Moreover, some governments requested that their machines run Windows, so how could Negroponte say no to that request from paying customers? (I don't think it ever happened though, haven't seen any XO-1s running WinXP in the wild. The XO-1.5s should be able to run Windows with their higher specs tho).

    I asked, AFAIK, NO ONE at OLPC has been working on Windows stuff, it was all up to the MS folks to make Windows run on the OLPC XO machines. The only work done by OLPC folks did to support Windows was to make the BIOS more compatible. One of the engineers at OLPC said that the changes the MS folks wanted to the BIOS would even prevent booting to anything else than Windows, so what the OLPC dude did was actually fix the BIOS so that it *could be* dual booted to both Linux and Windows as opposed to the MS folks' original plans.

    There's been a lot of hate thrown towards OLPC ever since the Windows thing, but really, everything they do is open source over there and nothing really came out of that Windows thing except negative public backlash.

    Now about selling to small deployments and individuals, IMHO this is something they need to do to make the platform survive. The smallness of the size of the developer crew at OLPC is simply ridiculous. More geeks need to be able to get their hands on these wonderful machines to get a healthy software and application ecosystem going.

    As for touchscreen, having monkeyed around with an XO-1 machine, I'd say it's a must-have when you twist the screen into tablet configuration. The gamepad buttons on it are simply not enough when you need to use the mouse.
  • Re: e-reader (Score:5, Informative)

    by naz404 ( 1282810 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:13AM (#33108306) Homepage
    Oh, BTW, I've been using the OLPC XO-1 I have with me as a PDF reader. A touchscreen would be amazing for scrolling, panning and zooming. The mousepad and gamepad arrow keys are pretty stifling. The touchscreen would be so intuitive for kids, and best of all, will allow them to take notes in traditional fashion and enable them to sketch diagrams for their notes, something a keyboard and trackpad won't allow you to do.

    As for OLPC tech, the Pixel Qi screen is a complete game-changer and something everyone else on the market doesn't have yet (can't wait for the Notion Ink Adam android tablet which will have it). It's simply amazing how you can switch between colored backlit LCD to black and white low-power sunlight readable mode which *extends* battery life. Moreover, even the backlit LCD mode is sunlight readable. If you take your device outside or put it under very bright lights, it will show up as black and white and is still readable as opposed to normal backlit LCD screens.

    The wireless mesh networking technology used by OLPC is also something I want to see perfected across the computing world. The OLPC XO machines were built so that you can chain a bunch of them across a long distance to share and piggyback an internet connection that's available to only one machine, kinda like smart dust.

    Another thing, I haven't tested it, but under ideal conditions (think line-of-sight straight highway with no obstructions), the XO machines are supposed to be able to communicate across 1 kilometer. I'd believe it though as the XO picks up a *LOT* of wifi signals that my phone can't see. Something like 30:10 ratio.
  • by JohnBailey ( 1092697 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:42AM (#33108384)

    India is trolling - it can announce $35 tablets, even $0.00 tablets, but it sure as hell can't make any for that price. The components alone cost more than $35, and that's when China makes them with slaves paid less than India will pay.

    Wow.. the guy compared prices for the iPad display, which is an expensive IPS panel, and the Kindle display which is an expensive e-ink display. Hardly an enlightening article, more a pratt blowing his own trumpet and being a dick head.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @07:40AM (#33108588) Journal
    The components alone cost more than $35. Govs around the world eat cost to provide work, skills, tech, exports and eduction. They hope to get it back in a generation.
    Look at India and its pharma - from generics and anti viral drugs to world class developers in a generation.
    They are hoping for the same with this device.
    It might be expensive but long term, India learns a real OS and builds it own skill base, free of MS 'charity'.
    MS and its 'gifts' are just a gateway drug for back end severs and contracts with user base growth from 'free for now'.
  • Re:Manufacturing? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @07:48AM (#33108618)

    Does India have any tech manufacturing base? No troll - sincere question.

    I know they've got keen engineering students who want that base to develop so they can work in it, but I can't think of any factories.

    Yes [indiamart.com], Dell [huliq.com] does smone manufacturing there.

  • by BangaIorean ( 1848966 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:35AM (#33108876)
    Actually, the TATAs underestimated the demand (don't ask me how and why - I don't know), AND had to move out of their planned manufacturing plant in the East Indian state of West Bengal. They threfore, have just one factory in the North Indian state of Uttaranchal to cater to countrywide demand. However, a new factory in West Indian Gujarat is almost complete, and once Nanos start rolling out of there, the waiting list will disappear :-)

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