OLPC XO-1 WinXP Edition: Slow Start-Up But Shows Promise

After Microsoft and the OLPC project made their OS deal official, we all knew Windows XP was going to end up on the XO-1 notebook.  Laptop Mag scored an invite to check out the system, which will begin shipping with XP as a dual-boot option in September.  XP runs from a separate SD card hidden behind the screen, and currently the XO-1's own internal 1GB of flash memory is not accessible.  Start-up speeds are lower than promised, too; Laptop Mag have a video of it in action, but all you really need to know is that where Microsoft promised 50 seconds, it actually took 1 minute 24 seconds. 

Connectivity looks less impressive than with the original Sugar OS, supporting the standard Windows WiFi functionality but not the Linux OS' ability to create and join mesh networks.  Software speed is another potential handicap, as while some apps load relatively quickly – for instance Internet Explorer at 5s – others drag significantly; Word 2003 loaded only after 42 seconds.

Laptop Mag say they think XP on the XO-1 has promise, but that it's not ready for prime-time.  In their favor, the OLPC team are still working on the implementation, and things could speed up before it actually releases.  Still, I wouldn't be surprised if young people using the netbook would eventually default to using Sugar aside from when Microsoft compatibility is essential.

While with OLPC, Laptop Mag also discussed the XO-2 follow-up to the original laptop.  The company still stands by its original renders, which suggested the XO-2 would feature a dual-touchscreen design with multitouch and haptic feedback.  Apparently they're already working on the hardware internally, as well as the software, while PixelQi are investigating different screen technologies.  OLPC expect to have the first working units – which will be around the size of a book when closed – in 2009.