It’s gift-giving season, everyone, but before I bombard you with my personal salivation picks, let me start December with a salivation trip with a twist: materialism married with charitable intentions on a grand scale. I had talked about the launch of the OLPC before, and I wanted to inform you about other tiny laptops that made waves this season, thus this eeePC/Intel Classmate/OLPC XO-1 two-part series.
While the Asus eeePC and the OLPC made waves and more than puddles of drool the world over, Intel’s Classmate PC, while surely a newsmaker, made a pretty silent entrance, compared to the other two. Asustek’s eeePC was a marketing success, because the low-end market (more like the hobbyist market) was tapped effectively, and the OLPC was a humanitarian/charity success, news of Intel’s Classmate PC, because it’s a cross between the eeePC and the OLPC, was dwarfed in comparison.
I guess there’s something about a product that can’t define itself well that turns people off. Because while the eeePC was clearly a consumer machine, and the OLPC was definitely for charity, this one is a cross between the two.
Personally, I would wish that the OLPC had its “Give One, Get One” program on a permanent basis, so I can get my own while sending one to a needy kid out there at any time I want, no rush. As it is, I guess I will have to pray for $400 by December 31st this year, so as I can snap up my own “copy” (for lack of a better word).
While both have the nifty function of stylus input for the OLPC, and a wireless pen function for the Intel Classmate PC, for me, the difference between the Classmate PC and the OLPC XO-1 started with the fact that the XO-1 actually has a video camera! While the Classmate PC is pretty much faster, in theory, at least, because of its CPU speed, and it’s prettier, actually, you just have to admire the fact that the OLPC Project engineers were able to squeeze in a video camera on something that will cost only $200 to buy.
The Intel Classmate PC, on the other hand, has a starting market price of $225. The machine they used at CNET’s review and demo has a configuration reportedly worth $350. Though it’s faster and is prettier, I am all for video, and any laptop that has a webcam at a $200 price tag is always a winner in my book.
What’s more is that the OLPC XO-1’s monitor can be swiveled on its hinge, then turned into a tablet PC! Coolness! But I’m beside myself in confusion, as while the OLPC surely is tops in engineering, the “horns” or its antennae, and the lime green and white motif are so not me. The Classmate PC is more attractive to me, aesthetically, as it is covered with stylish leather that comes in funky white, blue, and, according to Dan Ackerman, an orangey-pinkish hue. The leather is removable and you can change it, and when you take it off, it reveals an SD card slot. But that sure doesn’t beat the swivel function for the XO-1 that turns it into a tablet!
The original OLPC XO-1 design would have included a manual power option, but before the roll-out, Negroponte opted to keep the laptop powered conventionally, with an adapter and an option of NiMH or LiFePO4 batteries.
Both laptops are geared for developing countries, and they are both built around a charity/humanitarian program that involves the cooperation of both the companies that designed the programs, and the governments that choose to cooperate with them.
I sure would like both laptops. And since I told you that I needed a Windows-based lappie, I’m thinking, I might as well get the Intel Classmate PC! But that’s after I catch the December 31, 2007 deadline for the OLPC XO-1.
Are you interested too? Just click this sentence to get to the Give 1 Get 1 Program.
Ahh, in this day and age, it sure is easier to be humanitarian while feeding your materialism. 🙂