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Kicking off a gen-1.5 development process: Updating the XO hardware

XO + Tinkertoys(Box and Tinker) = Directional Cantenna OLPC is excited to announce that a refresh of the XO-1 laptop is in progress. In our continued effort to maintain a low price point, OLPC is refreshing the hardware to take advantage of the latest component technologies. This refresh (Gen 1.5) is separate from the Gen 2.0 project, and will continue using the same industrial design and batteries as Gen 1. The design goal is to provide an overall update of the system within the same ID and external appearance. In order to maximize compatibility with existing software, this refresh will continue with an x86 processor, using a chipset from VIA. The memory will be increased to 1 GB of DDR2 SDRAM, and the built-in storage will be 4 GB of NAND Flash with an option for 8 GB (installed at manufacture). The processor will be a VIA C7-M [1], with plans on using one whose clock ranges from 400 MHz (1.5 W) to 1GHz (5 W). The clock may be throttled back automatically if necessary to meet thermal constraints. Read the rest of this entry

Making Books Transparent

Sayamindu and I have been contributing over the course of the year to a Bookserver initiative to define how digital texts are indexed, discovered, and distributed.  The Open Content Alliance organized a conference yesterday and today in San Francisco to help us move forward with Bookserver development, improve the draft specification.  It was an inspiring event, with a lot of good working code and interfaces to share with one another.  Brewster throws a mean party, and when he announced he was hosting one last night to celebrate the launch of the Bookserver project and the Archive's move into a beautiful new space in the Presidio, some 500 people turned up.  I was pleased to run into Mary Lou, with four laptops sporting new Pixel Qi screens - low power, and yet so very hot. I spoke about what OLPC is doing with this new specification - Sayamindu's modified "Get Internet Archive Books" activity was the first client application to use the developing spec and beta book servers - and we spent some time brainstorming ways to improve OPDS.  It's an open group and process - all input is welcome.Read the rest of this entry

PixelQi update: 3Qi display enters production

When I joined OLPC in 2006, the first thing that blew my mind was the open collaborative process  used across the project.  The second was Mary Lou Jepsen's incredible  sunlight-readable screen. When the first prototype came to our machine lab, I used to stop in every day before heading home, to spend a few minutes looking at it or using it.  The displays have a delicious matte quality (the original prototypes had a similar glossy one) that makes anything displayed on them look like a work of art -- not unlike the efRead the rest of this entry

Pixel Qi in the limelight, Notion Ink speaks

Pixel Qi is showing off at Computex this week in Taipei, and Charbax just posted a detailed interview with Mary Lou Jepsen from the floor.   Look for the "Qi" button at 0:25, and serious geeking out on the physics and fab process starting at 5:00... and for the rest of the video! (For a quicker soundbite, he also posted this side-by-side iPad / iPhone / 3Qi comparison video yesterday.)
[caption id="attachment_1776" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Notion Ink's Adam tablet, with 3Qi screen"]Notion Ink's Adam tablet, in portrait and landscape[/caption]
Pixel Qi are having a good quarter.  They are offering a variety of display options, including wide-view, anti-reflective coating, and a capacitive touchsreen. And they have started winning industry awards. More details, and a Notion Ink interview (they say their Adam tablet will release on time in a few months), after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Pixel Qi hack kit on display at MakerSHED

Make and Pixel Qi are (finally) offering a 10.1' Pixel Qi hacking kit for $275. It is guaranteed to work smoothly with the Samsung N130 and Lenovo S10-2 netbooks. You can coax it into working well on many other machines with a 10.1' display, but it may not always be a perfect fit. If you try it on another model, let us and the Make folks know how well it fits. Congrats to the Make team for making this available! I can't wait to try this out on a few spare machines.Read the rest of this entry