Prisoners of Legacy

Is it right that impoverished third-world children have more innovative technology than corporate users Don't answer yet. First, take a look at the slew of recent news articles, reviews and blog posts about the XO, that little green educational laptop developed by the nonprofit organization One Laptop Per Child.

U.S. gadget hounds started getting their hands on the XO over the past month through the OLPC's "Give One, Get One" program, under which a donor paid US$399 for two XOs and got to keep one while the other one went to a third-world child.

The consensus: The XO has lots of neat, highly innovative features, including a radical new user interface and miraculously easy wireless networking. It also has a small screen, a tiny keyboard that makes touch-typing almost impossible and no support for MicrosoftMicrosoft Office. Oh, and it looks too cute for serious office use. Alles zu Microsoft auf

You might almost think it wasn't designed for people like us.

Now consider the other recent batch of reviews of a little laptop: The Asus Eee, a commercial product that also sells for around $400. That's if you can find a retailer with an Eee in stock; Computerworld's Eric Lai went to Taiwan to buy his.

Lai's conclusion: The Eee has some neat, innovative features. It also has a screen even smaller than the XO's, a shrunken keyboard, poor battery life, a fan that's too loud and, because it runs on Linux, no support for Microsoft Office. And it was designed for kids and women, so "cute" is high on the spec sheet, too.

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