Rumors of OLPC's Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
Despite reports to the contrary, the One Laptop per Child project is alive and kicking.
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Yesterday, British tech news site Pocket Lint reported that the One Laptop per Child project was "officially pronounced dead." This bold proclamation was based on a post on the industry blog OLPCnews.com, titled "Goodbye One Laptop per Child."
Only problem is, the OLPC News post was anything but official. As author Wayan Vota himself quickly pointed out in Pocket Lint's comment section, it was an opinion piece representing nothing more than the opinion of the blog's staff.
That said, Vota's opinion piece seemed to be based on some good intelligence. His evidence? The OLPC Foundation's Boston office was closed, all the staff had moved on to other projects, the original XO-1 laptop (often referred to as the "$100 laptop") was no longer in production, and there was no organizational support for the hardware currently in use. It sounded like a pretty open-and-shut case. You can see how Pocket Lint could get confused.
Still, Vota also mentioned that OLPC's Miami office (the One Laptop per Child Association) remained open, servicing hardware deployments in countries like Rwanda, Urugyay, and Peru. That made us curious enough to reach out to OLPC for comment.
OLPC Association spokesperson Giulia D'Amico was quick to assure us that OLPC's mission to "help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege" is continuing unabated. Though she admitted that the Boston office has closed, she pointed out that software engineering and design of OLPC hardware has been transferred to a team at the FuseProject in San Francisco, headed by renowned designer Yves Behar.
D'Amico also confirmed that the XO-1 laptop has been phased out, but noted that "OLPC has ramped up production of the XO-1.75 and XO-4, as well as the XO-4 Touch." The latter two are hybrid Android/Linux laptops that were announced at CES 2013. Alongside these devices, the group is also producing the XO Tablet—an Android device aimed primarily at American children and sold at Walmart.
In other words, it would appear that though the XO-1 laptop is indeed dead, the OLPC project is very much alive.
[Ed. note: OLPCnews.com has since made another post, clarifying the situation.]