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Pogue hearts the XO

"The New York Times'" top tech reviewer waxes poetic about the One Laptop Per Child device.

The $100, er, $200 laptop just got a glowing review from The New York Times' top tech reviewer.

Nicholas Negroponte's project to bring laptop computing to developing nations has been plagued by delays, price hikes and bad publicity. But according to David Pogue, the XO is "a wonder" to behold and a "technological breakthrough."

Writes Pogue:

"The truth is, the XO laptop, now in final testing, is absolutely amazing, and in my limited tests, a total kid magnet. Both the hardware and the software exhibit breakthrough after breakthrough--some of them not available on any other laptop, for $400 or $4,000."

He takes pains to describe why it will work for kids, not adults, and not we citizens of industrialized nations who are used to Windows machines.


"Most of the XO's programs are shareable on the mesh network, which is another ingenious twist. Any time you're word processing, making music, taking pictures, playing games or reading an e-book, you can click a Share button. Your document shows up next to your icon on the mesh-network map, so that other people can see what you're doing, or work with you. Teachers can supervise your writing, buddies can collaborate on a document, friends can play you in Connect 4, or someone across the room can add a melody to your drum beat in the music program. You've never seen anything like it."

Whether the actual device achieves what it sets out to do--making computing an integral part of educating students in some of the world's poorest nations--remains to be seen. There are a lot questions yet to be answered. But though he takes pains to laud the actual technology, while some might disagree, it seems the idea is really what he loves the most.