Rest In Peace, Ridiculous Dual-Screen OLPC XO-2

Rest In Peace, Ridiculous Dual-Screen OLPC XO-2

It has always been an unspoken fear — or assumption, even — that the dual touchscreen followup to the original OLPC, the XO-2, would never come to pass. But we let the dream live! Until today. The XO-2 is officially scrapped.

Almost worse than the news that we’ll never see this folding, hybrid LCD/e-ink budget computer in the flesh is how the news was delivered: By Nick Negroponte, in a low-profile interview with Xconomy, as if it everyone already knew:

2.0 (the XO-2) has been replaced by two things: 1) model 1.75, same industrial design but an ARM inside, 2) model 3.0, totally different industrial design, more like a sheet of paper. No cost connectivity will start up with the ITU in Geneva. It has been the slowest piece.

Right, so all those mockups, all the talk of focusing on the next generation product, all that hope, dashed and replaced an incremental upgrade — to a faster ARM processor, from the current model’s AMD Geode — and vague promises of a 3.0 product:

3.0 is a single sheet, completely plastic and unbreakable, waterproof, 1/4″ thick, full colour, reflective and transmissive, no bezel, no holes. 1W. $US75, ready in 2012

This from the guy who just vaporised a year and a half of build-up for his last project with a passing comment, so take it with a grain of salt.

Whatever happens next — and mind you, things aren’t looking too great for the project as a whole — this is a sad situation. As ambitious as the project was, and as little chance as it ever had to come to pass, it was a rare phenomenon: it was genuinely cool, tied to a reputable organisation and conceived with a good cause in mind. And now it’s dead. [Xconomy via OLPC News via Liliputing]