Sugar Labs have released v.2 "Blueberry" of their Sugar on a Stick virtualized OS, intended for deployment in education settings. Originally released in public beta back in April, the platform was originally developed for the OLPC XO-1 notebook but subsequently spun out for any Windows, Mac or Linux computer.
“Wow! So you just pull two fingers apart on the screen to zoom in on the site?” This was my mother’s reaction last week to seeing the power of pinch-to-zoom on her new iPhone 3GS. Yes, just last week my mother, a successful business woman but a technophobe at heart, discovered that the iPhone has a little thing called multitouch! You know, that small feature that made Apple’s first phone go down in cellphone history. And her amazement didn’t stop there; she was blown away by every phone feature from the Notes application’s “cute” handwriting font to the “cool” animation of the trash can that sucks down messages like a “garbage disposal.”
OLPC chairman Nicholas Negroponte has revealed that the twin-display OLPC XO-2 2.0 project has been scrapped, in favor of an updated - but cosmetically identical - revamp of the existing 1.0 XO-1 model and a new, model 3.0 that has "totally different industrial design, more like a sheet of paper". Speaking to Xconomy, the outspoken exec also sought to redefine the initial, well-publicized aim of "the $100 laptop" in terms of total cost of ownership: $1 per child per week to buy, maintain and connect the machine.
The OLPC project has had a welcome injection of orders from a market that was once among their most-vocal critics. The Indian government have bought 250,000 XO laptops, after their attempts to create a $10 laptop rival failed; the challenge began after a successful 2007 trial of the OLPC's machine in which 20 XO units were placed in a Maharashtra school.
Pixel Qi is working on a new display that includes three different functions into one convenient product. It would feature color and black-and-white modes like the XO-1, but also have an e-paper mode for an easier-on-the-eyes experience.
According to the company's chief, Mary Lou Jepsen, the new screens would eventually have touchscreen features. The goal here is to make a screen that can be read under full daylight, use the least amount of power possible and do more than just show images.
There's a real desire to add touch functionality. While Pixel Qi displays have been used primarily in OLPC notebooks so far, they can now also be used in products for other companies, though who they are is not yet known.
Part of the OLPC project's appeal has been its innovative Sugar OS; now Sugar Labs have released a public beta of Sugar on a Stick (SoaS), which allows anybody to create a portable Sugar environment that will run on any computer. Fitting onto a 1GB USB memory stick, SoaS combines a compressed version of Fedora 11 with the Sugar Labs amendments.
OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte has revealed that the OLPC XO-2 - the dual-touchscreen sequel to the XO-1 - will be released with an open-source hardware design. Describing the approach "as if we were Google", compared to the first-generation notebook which was "designed as if we were Apple", Negroponte says that all hardware components - including the dual displays and the touch-sensitive, force-feedback, haptic keyboard - will be available to third-parties to develop.
A collaborative team between the Indian governments ministry of science and ministry of technology will unveil a super-low-cost computer on February 3rd, as part of the country's $10 laptop project. Specifications of the notebook - which is intended for education use - are unconfirmed, but unofficial sources suggest it will have 2GB of memory, both ethernet and WiFi connectivity, the ability to expand the storage and low power requirements of just 2W, all in a small, portable package.
Delays in shipping have caused Amazon UK to begin informing OLPC buyers that their notebook orders may be cancelled. Sales began back in November, after the OLPC partnered with Amazon to restart the Give 1, Get 1 project where buyers purchase two XO-1 notebooks, one for themselves and the other donated to a child in a developing country. However, automated emails from Amazon citing delays in OLPC shipping the XO-1 have suggested that delivery delays in excess of 30 days will see the order cancelled.
Pixel Qi, the company formed by ex-OLPC CTO Mary Lou Jepsen, have been talking up their super-efficient display technology and the impact it could have on mobile device runtime. According to Jepsen, Pixel Qi are currently working with notebook and e-book manufacturers on applications using a color and video capable e-paper, with power demands a fraction of traditional LCD screens.