Albert Cahalan acahalan at gmail.com
Fri May 23 02:28:37 EDT 2008

John Watlington writes:

> The loss of a keyboard is mourned. But so much of the activities
> the young kids that OLPC is targetting do are more manual and direct.

Kids too young for a keyboard? That would be below school age.

> The desire to maximize display area (but clam-shell, not tablet, for
> protection while being transported) led to the proposed form factor.

Display area costs power. It is highly desirable to have color,
so you'll be needing a backlight.

I have to wonder about the quality of this device, both as a display
and as an input device. This touch-screen idea seems to have become
an obsession that ignores all logic.

As an input device, why should anybody believe it won't be as awful
as the touchpad? Will it need screen-cracking hinge-breaking pressure?
Will it be jumpy and uncontrollable? Is there an alternate design
for when the touch screen is found to be unworkable? There were clear
signs early on that the ALPS dual-mode device was defective, yet the
device wasn't abandoned. Same here maybe, with an unusable device
being put into production?

As a display, the design has obviously been compromised. You'll be
needing an extra layer, which will block light. Then... haven't you
seen the pictures of XO touchpads that were behaving badly because
they were **covered** in grime? Dirty screens don't function.
You can also expect lots of scratches unless sapphire screen coatings
are somehow cheap enough.

> I can think of a few ways to integrate a keyboard with this new design.
> But then we continue the huge production/logistical problem of
> generating keyboards (and spares keyboards) for each country.

For generating them, you could do something more like an ink-jet.
Then you don't have to retool the factory to change things.
Write a mirror image into the mold for durability.

A flex keyboard with hard keycaps would have been lovely to type on.
It can be done; you just need a hardness gradient like the squid:

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