Asus Beat OLPC to the Dual Screen XO-2


While all we get from One Laptop Per Child on their XO-2 split screen design is a cardboard mock-up, Asus has gone an commercialized the idea as a dual screen laptop prototype.

A badass ebook reader

Asus is even kind enough to suggest uses for its new design:

Users can use the dual panel concept in a myriad of usage scenarios, for example as a conventional notebook with multi-touch screens, a virtual keyboard and touchpad; a multimedia hub, in which both dual panels could combine to form a larger display for widescreen entertainment; or an E-book mode in which users can hold the dual panel concept notebook just like they would a conventional book while flipping pages through intuitive gestures or by touch.

With its proven engineering prowess and lucrative leadership in the netbook market, expect the dual screen Asus laptops to mute any manufacturer excitement for the XO-2. Why deal with OLPC's continued stumbling when you have an Asus option?

And for those who might still be wondering why this dual screen laptop is exciting, I'll refer you to Pauli on Liliputing:

i don't see a laptop. i see a badass ebook reader.

Update: There's s very short glimpse of the prototype in action to be seen starting at 2min 11sec in this video from

The video also mentions that the right display was damaged during shipment (hence why it only displays one color) and that it's not yet known whether Asus will really bring this concept design into mass-production.

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Of course, it's a badass e-book reader.

The problem is, does education benefit from a badass e-book reader as much as it benefits from a laptop? Will we see kids scribbling their notes on paper with shiny e-book reader in front of them, just like they do it with regular books, because it produces less stress on their fingers than "typing" on a glass surface? How much of a benefit is it?

Well, for starters even the question of whether laptops actually benefit education hasn't really been answered thus far, so we're on somewhat shaky grounds here to begin with.

Personally I would argue that even "just" an e-book reader could be a very handy tool for schools (both in developed and lesser developed countries), if the appropiate content is available that is.

Also when it comes to this particular device it remains to be seen which route Asus takes it on. They could either go for something like a Kindle on steroids or rather decide to follow the XO-2 route which (on paper) is really a full-blown portable computer that simply replaces the hardware keyboard with a touchscreen and therefore opens up a whole host of new and interesting user interface possibilities. Of course it could also be something in between those two. :-)

"Will we see kids scribbling their notes on paper with shiny e-book reader in front of them, just like they do it with regular books, because it produces less stress on their fingers than "typing" on a glass surface?"

Actually, this is also the distinction between "active" and "passive" students.

Most educational systems are founded on the principle that the students are passive receptacles of "learning". When you have a group of 35 pupils and a single blackboard, that is indeed the only option.

However, I think you will be hard pressed to find even a single proponent for this kind of 1-way teaching among those who study child development.

So persisting in forcing students to remain passive when you have the tools, because "this is what we always did" is rather devious.

"You" did it that way because you had no other option.


I believe the XO-2 will be primarily an ebook reader and secondarily a generic purpose computer. At least that is what Negroponte said in a recent interview.

This is a good direction because the ebook market is going to explode and a rugged & cheap XO-2 may find its place on the market especially in the developing world.

If the XO-2 can go below $200 >> AND

Of course, I will think twice before I buy it because the XO-1 didn't really fulfill my expectations.

Reading about OLPC working on "A million digital books" certainly sounds like an indication that the XO-2 will be much more leaning towards an e-book reader.

However looking at the early CGI renders from last May ( I do get the feeling that the goal is to offer the best of two worlds combined in one device.

Interesting (if it's really true):

Engadget mentions that these prototypes are running on Windows 7

BTW, you can also find a gallery with some nice photos over at engagdet:

okay, so I found a video of the cebit, where they are showcasing this asus prototype:

honestly, olpc should should get off their behinds and start doing and showing something. pr and marketing are the keys to success in any company. if you want kids in developing countries to benefit from this development you have to brag about it and get the developed world interested as well. by just handing out blurry pics of a mockup you don't get anywhere.
this could be the device to get olpc going, an e-book reader, netbook and maybe the possibility of writing on the touchscreens, all of that in one cheap device. people everywhere would want it and this would get olpc the money they need to go further. but alas, as of now, it's just talk and no substance at all. while the initial ideas were grand, this ongoing apathy at olpc is just unnerving.

I saw a fantastic review of the Asus Eee Box. It uses the Atom processor and it can even hide attached behind your monitor. The Eee Box is a mini desktop PC and uses just about 20 watts too!

They have been waiting to long i bet the truth is that there possibal designs are outdated from when they started them and they have to reinvent the laptop to reflect new cost saving and energy saving techs, like everyone else said the longer they wait the harder it gets, i often wonder if despite the good rep this company gets if its not run by idiots cuz they have effectivly made a brilliant product and then denied it to everyone, the more they sell the more they can make the faster they can come up with xo-2. also for the "improvement" in learning potential that 2 screens adds, no to mention the nessiary redustion in durability that adds, i would argue that they should up it to 5 gb flash 1gb ddr2 1.x arm cpu and market it as olpc 1.5 the more people buy the damn thing the easyer it will be to give it away not to mention allow it to be BOUGHT FOR REAL PRICE BY INDIVIALS not 400 200 lots of poor people want this laptop in lots of countrys why should only weird countrys with overreaching aid schemes get it, mexico usa canada chili brazil argentina nicaragua sudan south africa egypt isrial jakarata russia polond japan mongola korea why cant they buy it


I would like to bulk purchase XO computers. Can give me the details contact person and email?

Awaiting for your reply.