Laptop Computer

Manufacture Period: c. 2007-10

Model: XO-1
Serial No. 00101071126110095137

Was it the charming green or the odd XO symbol which caught your eye first? Maybe the Shrek-like antennas? Whatever it was, this piece of technology goes by the name XO-1 and comes from OLPC (One Laptop per Child). OLPC is a non-profit organization started by MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte in 2005 with the goal of bringing computational technology to the Global South.  

First on the market in 2006, the model displayed below was briefly available for public sale via a donation program called “Give a Laptop. Get a Laptop. Change the World.” Through this initiative someone could pay $400 to receive their own XO laptop and for one to be donated to a child via the OLPC program. The marketing push to be a children’s product is highlighted by the durable design, bright colours, and remarkably small keyboard. Built to last, the XO-1 was one of the first marketed products to take advantage of new lithium battery chemistry– now being used widely in technology—with up to 24 hours of use in a single charge.  

OLPC would fall short of their worldwide goals, with handshake promises falling through, and being later criticized for their simplistic approach and technological solutionism. Since its introduction there have been several models of the XO laptop, with the last being introduced in early 2013. The initiative and level of accessibility has been overtaken by comparable products, like Google’s Chromebook, with no new products since the XO-4 Touch. Although not having the wide educational adoption the organization hoped for, the XO line is a physical representation of the goals the organization still strives for in supporting learning through technology.  

Loaned by Prof. Tracey Lauriault

Thursday, January 12, 2023 in
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