updated 10:15 am EDT, Thu March 12, 2009
OLPC XO2 Likely ARM Chips
The One Laptop Per Child project's CTO Ed McNierney today said that the organization's XO-2 notebook will most likely drop AMD's Geode processor in favor of an ARM-based, all-in-one processor. OLPC is "almost" set to implement a new chip and would make the switch both to reduce the power draw as well as to give the portable accelerated graphics and wireless without needing separate chips that would boost the cost. AMD's design is older and simpler by comparison.
The "XO-1 uses an average of 5 watts of power, and while most people think that's amazingly low, we think it's our biggest problem," McNierney says. By contrast, a typical ARM processor uses significantly less than 1W. Intel's lowest-power Atom processor uses under 0.7W.
Higher speed and more features will be necessary for the XO-2, which will center on dual multi-touch screens and may eventually include 3G or WiMAX to get Internet access without using the XO-1's signature Wi-Fi mesh networking. OLPC would lighten the performance load by using Linux, though Windows may not be an option given Microsoft's lack of support for non-x86 chips.
The XO-2 is also now scheduled to ship in about 18 months, or late 2010. It's not known how likely the system is likely to ship to North America, either as a stand-alone purchase or as part of an updated Give 1 Get 1 program.