The next generation XO laptop is due to go into production in 2013, offering the first
touchscreen ever provided by One Laptop per Child. In this article, the OLPC development teamÂ provides a behind-the-scenes look at the new laptop, revealing what features will be entirelyÂ new, and what good things will be preserved.
Two models are in development: the XO-4 Laptop, and the XO-4 Touch, a convertible laptopÂ with a touchscreen. The XO-4 Laptop follows the tradition of the XO-1.75, the current OLPCÂ laptop, but upgrades the processor and memory, can handle a longer-life battery, and adds aÂ mini-HDMI port to allow easy connection to monitors and projectors.
The XO-4 Touch is all that plus a child-friendly touchscreen that improves on the existingÂ display, keeping sun-readability and ease-of-repair. Both models can be requested with gridÂ membrane keyboard or mechanical keyboard, which the development team calls â€œchewyâ€ andÂ â€œcrunchyâ€.
Touchscreens in the sunÂ
Over the last few years, the development team has spent an enormous amount of time lookingÂ at touchscreen technology. It was a serious challenge to find a solution that would work well forÂ OLPC devices, keeping repairs simple, sun readability, drop and general child-resistance andÂ low cost.
They found the answer in Neonodeâ€™s zForce. It is an infrared-based touch implementation thatÂ works without adding a new layer of glass in front of the existing Pixel Qi screen, keeping sun-readability intact.
This approach avoids all the costs and complications in capacitive glass touchscreens. One ofÂ the complications is reparabilityâ€”capacitive touchscreens are glued and nearly impossible toÂ replace or repair. The zForce IR touchscreen can be easily replaced and repaired. zForce isÂ also power-efficientâ€”Neonode has worked hard to ensure that the power consumption is soÂ small that it does not impact battery life.
All touchscreens technologies are sensitive to dust and dirt to some degree. Neonodeâ€™sÂ zForce technology is especially good at handling wet and sweaty fingers, which confuse otherÂ touchscreens and touchpads.
Nobody else today delivers a touchscreen that is childproof, repairable and sun-readable.