Giving us the kind of shock that's really not, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project has announced production plans for its hugely ambitious XO-2 dual screen netbook have been cancelled.
Speaking to Xconomy Boston, project founder Nicholas Negroponte admitted: "2.0 has been replaced". The reasons for this inevitably were down to cost, but he did say two models would now replace it. The first, dubbed 'model 1.75', is an evolution of the original XO with an identical outer shell, but new faster CPU provided by ARM.
The second is referred to as 'model 3.0' which is "a single sheet, completely plastic and unbreakable, waterproof, 1/4" thick, full color, reflective and transmissive, no bezel, no holes". Or in other words, a tablet. Negroponte said 3.0 would consume just 1W and could be produced for as little as $75 with a 2012 launch time frame. Naturally take this with a pinch of salt as the well intentioned founder does tend to get carried away at times by his own rhetoric - positive as it may be.
As for sales of the original XO it is doing well with Negroponte claiming 1.1m units were shipped with a sizeable "back-log of 400,000 - 700,000". Whether a backlog of such magnitude can be seen as a positive sign or proof that the non-profit organisation is struggling following a number of lay-offs earlier this year is up for some debate.
Then again it is hard to root against the OLPC project since it is so noble in cause and we continue to wish it well... even if the XO-2 never had a cat in Hell's chance of getting off the drawing board.