Chuck Lawton at Wired writes about 2 years of the XO, after getting his hands on one for the first time. Some of the review is the normal shock of changing window managers and interface styles, but he has a sense of how many details we have changed with education in mind.
What amazes me most through my experimentation with the XO is that attention to detail that the hardware and software designers have made when developing the product. To unthink how we do things and present the software and interfaces in a way that becomes intuitive to someone with out exposure to Windows is quite an accomplishment.
Two years ago, people were excited about the XO because of the prospect of a $100 laptop. But I think in that excitement, they missed the point. At the time, before the netbook explosion, all they were buzzing about was a cheap laptop. But the XO laptop is not a hardware experiment. What One Laptop Per Child has done is create an ecosystem whereby kids can learn through doing and sharing. They have organized a group of talented hardware and software developers and challenged them to invent something new. They have created a philanthropic organization to achieve their goal of production and distribution. The cost is only one part of the equation – a barrier that must be broken in order to make that ecosystem accessible. And it’s that ecosystem – their vision – that deserves more credit than many of the tech blogs are willing to discuss.
This promises to be a three part series with a focus on hardware next. I hope by the time it finishes he covers Sugar in more detail and uses in the classroom (which is where the intro seems to be heading).