Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 17th Jan 2008 20:44 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems El Reg has an in-depth review of the XO laptop. They conclude: "There's a lot to like about the XO laptop. It's tough, it's great as an eBook reader, it has a big (for its category), high resolution screen. It runs silent and cool, has good battery life, and the clean design of the Sugar interface is easy to use. But several areas need work. The browser should be replaced by Firefox, and the Journal needs to support folders to match how people actually organise their work and play. Multimedia performance needs to be improved, which can hopefully be done through software. The XO needs a unified media player that supports all media types, along with playlists, and should be integrated with the UI. Most of these changes come down to the OLPC organisation placing more emphasis on real-world usability and less on their ideals of a perfect interface. If they can manage to do this, the XO laptop could be a great tool for learning and play."
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I remember very, very clearly how confused I was the first time I sat down at a Windows 3.1 PC. And when I imagine the same situation sitting down at a PC with the sugar interface, where all of the icons are *EXTREMELY VAGUE* and there are no words to tell me if an icon is going to do something good or totally f@!k everything up, I get the impression that the Sugar interface will make the feeling of being lost significantly *more* pronounced, not less.

Then again, I can't say, because even if I were to try Sugar out now, I'm not a real first-time user. The only way to test it out for real is to use real kids who have never touched a computer. Why they didn't actually test things in this manner *before* releasing this device to the masses is beyond me. It seems like things ended up being more about politics and getting to market in time to beat the competition, than about truly coming up with the ideal tool. (Of course, the main competition-- Microsoft--did absolutely jack-squat to make their product more suitable, so it's not like they're any better.)

Don't get me wrong, the hardware is incredible, no doubt about it. It's just the software that strikes me as half-baked. Hopefully it gets better *very soon*.

Edited 2008-01-19 19:27 UTC

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