OLPC XO: The Greenest Laptop Ever Made


Congratulations to Mary Lou Jepsen! In what I consider to be a under-celebrated achievement of One Laptop Per Child's Chief Technology Officer, she has succeed in designing one environmentally friendly laptop per child.

A dual-green XO-1 physical design

By combining the XO computer's power management, including the LiFePo4 battery, with its highly rugged yet low toxicity case, she earned an amazing triple play:

The XO laptop has earned the highest environmental certifications: it is in full compliance with the European Union’s rigorous RoHS(a) standards; it has qualified for Energy Star 4.0 Category A (the most stringent ranking); and it has received the US PC and notebook environmental ratings agency EPEAT Gold(b) rating, one of only eight laptop computers to do so.
In fact, the last we heard Mary Lou was working on a take-back policy with Quanta Computer so that no XO laptop will end up in a landfill - anywhere.

Now thinking of the conversations I've had with her, I know she'll credit her whole team of gifted designers for the realization of her hardware design dream:

"In developing the XO laptop, OLPC had the goal of creating a child-friendly educational tool that inspires creativity and learning for children all over the world," said Mary Lou Jepsen, chief technology officer at OLPC.

"But equally important for us was to produce a laptop that could be used in remote areas with unreliable or limited energy sources. The result is a laptop computer that has more than 10 times less environmental impact than the average laptop computer. It’s the greenest laptop ever made, and that's not just its color."

And looking at the following graph, all I can see is a Merry OLPC Christmas as the world's PC colors turns from red to green with laptops that idle at a single Watt of electricity instead of 70.

olpc energy efficiency

Looking at my new work ThinkPad T60, and remembering my days with the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, I cannot wait for Jepsen's OLPC product roadmap to give everyone the opportunity to be green in more than envy for her literally clock-stopping hot technology.

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Hi Wayan:
I think you understand the significance of this announcement more than most people in the media. The innovation that went into the power management and the build materials to make the XO Laptop the greenest ever is quite impressive. With the push on for green everywhere -- we think a lot of laptop makers will start to use some of OLPC's thinking.

Full disclaimer: I work with OLPC as a volunteer PR consultant.

"Some" of OLPC's thinking? I hope computer manufacturers fully embrace whole swaths of XO technology into every computer system. There is no need for the waste or the bloat of current technologies.

OLPC XO-1 isn't just environmentally kind to the planet, its also very safe for its users:

Behind the scenes another team (from UL, Quanta, and OLPC) has been quietly working for nearly two years on XO safety certification. The XO laptop is now fully compliant with UL safety requirements and has been thus certified. We have also been awarded radio, power, and system certification at national levels in several countries. We can now legally ship in US, Canada, Uruguay, and Peru, as well as many other countries. EU-wide approval is due in approximately a week.

We are still in the process of applying for certification in countries on each continent with the most stringent safety standards. Among many tests, we have passed Ul/IEC 60950-1 (notebook computer), ASTM F693 (electronic toys for children), UL 1301 (mechanical assembly requirements, including larger face dimension requirements for child safety) and UL 2054 (batteries), as well as a passing UL on-site inspection of the Quanta's factory. We have formal RoHS (low toxicity) certification from Quanta, and independent testing of RoHS compliance by UL.

Also, we have been safety approved for lap use - XO is the first "laptop" approved for usage on one's lap in many years. (The reason that most laptops are now called "notebook computers" is that they run too hot for safe lap use.)

Did the XO get EU certified? It's been a week...

I've used one of these computers, or I should say one of these computers sat on my lap while it broke. It's an ugly looking iPhone that wouldn't fit in Paul Bunyan's pocket. To say it's the greenest laptop would be a direct indication that you've never been to "powered green"

How interesting that a "Zach Davis" is listed as the Director of Marketing for PoweredGreen.

I'm not a fan of such outright shilling when accompanied by outright dismissing of OLPC. I've edited Zach's comment to remove the link. If readers want to follow his thoughts, they can use Google.

OMG the X O laptop is the coolest computer i have ever seen i want one so bad can you email me were i can get one

I dont think you can get one.