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OLPC heir reveals modular laptop design

'Infinity' allows kids to swap out components, even the screen

One Education, an Australian offshoot of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, has opened preview sales for an heir to the XO computer.

The “Infinity” has a modular design so while the quad-core, 1.5GHz CPU is baked in, it's possible to replace the battery, camera and just about anything else thanks to the presence of three ports. The screen's replaceable too, so that one can add a touch panel or upgrade resolution as future modules emerge.

The first models will ship with Android Lollipop, with Linux and Windows versions promised real soon now. USB-C provides connectivity and power. WiFi and Bluetooth take care of comms.

One Education's thinking is that the OLPC's XO is lovely, but that kids will outgrow it and want better machines. By making the Infinity modular, it's hoped kids will not only upgrade their machines but then downcycle their old modules, thereby making it cheaper for younger kids to get their first machine. Or kids could swap components.

Modules will be ranked by Type, Generation, and Performance Level. The first is self-explanatory, Generation will describe when it was made and Performance Level describes grunt.

The design of the Infinity is sufficiently advanced that early tests have occurred and the results have made One Education sufficiently confident that they can bring early models to market. If you're keen, the organisation's site is replete with options to reserve one of the first 1,000 devices. You'll need between US$249 and $299 to secure your rights to a purchase, but there's no indication of exactly when a device will trouble your post box. ®

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