Hot on the heals of a few leaked concept images and the best guess commentary that followed, Australia's One Education has now officially released some details on an upcoming modular laptop project. Claimed so simple that a 4 year-old child could put it together with ease, the XO-infinity will act as both laptop and tablet while allowing owners to swap out component modules over the course of their primary schooling.
A Sydney-based One Laptop per Child spin-off, One Education has so far managed to get 50,000 XO models into the hands of disadvantaged children in Australia, while also training some 2,500 teachers on how to use the system. Now the organization is setting its sights on creating a device that can be used in any primary school in the world, and is designed to outlast childhood.
"We've been inspired by how children use our existing XO hardware but we've also been frustrated when aspects of the current XO didn't cater to the needs of different classrooms, grades or environments – let alone the fact that these needs are always in a state of flux," said One Education's CEO Rangan Srikhanta. "An ARM processor supporting Android may be right for children under 10, but a child in her last year of primary school could benefit hugely from the power to simply slot in a Linux or Windows supporting x86 module. That's one of the reasons why we went for modularity."
Details are still a bit thin on the ground, but we do know that the XO-infinity will be of a good size for small hands, yet big enough to host rich, engaging edutainment content. As you might expect for a child's smart device, the XO-infinity is being designed to withstand the inevitable knocks and bumps of daily use. There will be five open standard module types that will be used to form a full working unit when assembled. These will be the core system components, the battery, a camera unit, the touch-enabled screen and wireless module.
Aiming to reduce the ongoing cost and environmental impact of keeping technology up to date, it is envisioned that young owners will be able to update modules as needed and then subsequently trade, swap and donate parts with others. The expected lifespan of the modular laptop/tablet is reported to be 10 years.
One Education has announced that the concept stage of development has been completed and industrial design is now well underway, with electronics prototyping currently being worked on. When a fully functional prototype is ready for its world debut, a crowdfunding campaign will be launched to take the 2-in-1 hybrid into production and beyond.
The final cost of the XO-infinity has not been revealed, but One Education says that it will be cheaper than the current XO laptop. It's also not clear at this stage if the device will be made available outside of Australia.
Source: One Education
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