Intel Classmate PC vs One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)
One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is a non-profit project aiming at developing and deploying low cost computers among school children in the developing countries. This was initiated by United Nations Development Program (UNDP). For a very brief period, Intel was also a part of this project providing their own Intel chips for developing low cost netbooks. But now Intel produces Classmate PC, which is a similar computing device, aimed at the same target market. Intel Classmate PC and OLPC netbooks compete to gain popularity in developing countries such as Libya and Pakistan.
What is Intel Classmate PC?
Classmate PC (previously known as Eduwise) is a low-cost personal computer developed by Intel. More correctly, Intel only develops the chips using the Classmate PC reference design, and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) develops the netbook using these chips. This was an attempt by Intel to get in to the market of low cost computers for school children in developing countries in the world. Although these laptops fall within Information and Communication Technologies for Development project, Intel is in this for profit. These types of machines are categorized as a new class of netbooks.
What is One Laptop per Child (OLPC)?
One Laptop per Child is a project intending to develop and distribute low cost and affordable educational machines within the developing countries in the world. It is a project carried out by OLPC-A (One Laptop per Child Association, Inc.), which is a non-profit organization based in Miami, USA. Initially the project received funding from companies like Google, AMD, Red Hat, and eBay, who were also member organizations. The project focuses on developing and deploying its XO-1 laptops and the successors, at the moment. Nicholas Negroponte chairs the non-profit foundation called OLPC-F (One Laptop per Child Foundation, Inc.), which is focusing on raising funds and developing learning technologies for the future (which includes tasks such as developing the new OLPC XO-3 tablet).
What is the difference between Intel Classmate PC and One Laptop per Child (OLPC)?
Although OLPC netbooks and Classmate PCs are targeting a similar market, the two projects and their respective products have notable differences. In fact, Intel started producing Classmate PC laptops because they were afraid that OLPC netbooks (which used AMD) would steal the market share (with their very low prices). Intel publicly criticized the lack of functionality of OLPC netbooks, and now Classmate PCs are marketed against OLPC netbooks in countries such as Libya, Nigeria and Pakistan. The two projects have different goals. Intel Classmate PC aims to provide suitable Windows-based technology to the school children’s’ needs, while OLPC wants to go beyond the “desktop” metaphor and provide a more appropriate UI (called Sugar) for educational needs of the students. OLPC supplies highly customized hardware/software but Intel believes that developing countries need to have the generic PCs.
Classmate PCs use Intel Atom/Celeron chips, while OLPC netbooks use Via microprocessors. Classmate PCs offer a relatively larger display area, but OLPC netbooks offer a comparatively larger resolution. Classmate PCs come with Windows XP Professional along with a customized Linux distribution, whereas OLPC netbooks run Fedora with Sugar UI and Genome desktop environment. Classmate PCs have larger storage space (up to 16GB compared to 4GB of storage space in OLPC netbooks). Classmate PCs also weight less than OLPC netbooks.