Business, Hardware

One Laptop Per Child dumps AMD, opts for VIA


It is a matter of public knowledge that netbooks as we know today were deemed impossible by largest players of current netbook market. We won’t forget conversations we had with some key industry players [S, V-level execs] who claimed that Nicholas Negroponte’s vision of a notebook for kids for $200-100 was ludacris and too cost prohibitive.

Fast forward to 2009, and we have posh-looking aluminum-cased netbooks selling for $350, while OLPC project didn’t exactly live up to its expectations. The foundation is operating inside its legal limits, but its current hardware partners just weren’t up to the task of supporting a non-commercial project and creating a commercial aspect of the project, driving the costs down.

Thus, OLPC decided that future development of the project would be best sorted if the Foundation ties up with a player that is successful with their commercial platform. Given that the choice was between their previous partner, Intel with their competing standard Classmate PC and VIA.
John Watlington from OLPC released details about OLPC XO-1.5 via his WAD list, writing about the future development of the platform. John also noted that this change has nothing to do with OLPC Gen2 laptop, that is slowly progressing for 2010-2011 frame.

For starters, VIA is in – AMD is out. The XO-1 v1.5 will continue to use most of its hardware components, but will be based upon VIA C7-M processor, inside OLPC’s thermal envelope [1.5-5W], meaning we’re looking at clocks of 400 to 1.0 GHz. Memory got expanded to 1GB of DDR2, while storage will be either 4GB or 8GB. Chipset used is VIA’s standard with its C7-M CPU, the venerable VX855 – single-chip solution that supports  HD audio and video, USB and other system interfaces.

You should read the rest of the story, it is quite a smart move on OLPC’s side – AMD is no longer supporting their hardware platform due to the sale of that division to Freescale, and its Neo platform isn’t capable of working inside XO-1 hardware limits.