We have been working on a new XO laptop for high school students — one with a larger and more responsive keyboard better suited to the hands of older students. And Uruguay’s Plan Ceibal, expanding into high schools across the country, will be the first recipient — they’ve ordered 90,000 of the first production run.
These XO-1.5 HS machines are largely the same as a regular XO-1.5: they are VIA machines with Sugar and Gnome desktops, running both Sugar activities and Gnome apps. Only the bottom half is different: they have ‘clicky’ rather than membrane keyboards by default, and the base has been redesigned so that keyboards are much easier to swap out or clean — there are two screws you can access from the battery compartment that release the keyboard, then you can pop it out. No more 10-minute teardowns!
The new machines will be shades of dark and light blue; the factory is still working on getting the plastics and dye selection just right. I saw an early stab at this design, and it was very sexy — but I haven’t seen the final keyboard model they are using yet. As a keyboard fanatic (I can get 70wpm on my XO-1), I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for the first one back in the office and will post a review for you.
Now that we have a half-dozen designs or models, we’ll need to come up with a better naming scheme… I’m taking suggestions for names and themes.