Here are a couple of things from the top of my Xmas wish list.
The GlobalLink was a device used by the characters on the TV series Earth : Final Conflict. The show had one good season before it was dumbed down and limped on for four more before being cancelled. The GlobalLink was a kind of video cellphone/PDA/mini computer with a decent sized screen which rolled into the handle when closed.
When I first learned of research into flexible displays some years ago, I figured that actual GlobalLink type devices could not be far behind. On his blog, Jamais Cascio notes similarities between the GlobalLink and Polymer Vision’s Readius ebook reader.
But it’s just a friggin’ ebook reader! Come on you boffins, you’ve been working on flexible displays for years now, but still the best you can do by way of what I’m looking for is the iPhone and the Blackberry? What is the hold up? I hope it doesn’t take as long as it took me to get a flip open Star Trek-style communicator. Back in elementary school, we would make our own communicators out of cardboard and tape. A button would be added for weight so they would flip open better. Now I have a clamshell mobile phone that would have been the complete envy of that long ago playground. But I had to wait decades for it!
Polymer Vision says
It is our mission to put a rollable display in every mobile device. To achieve that the company is working on colour and video capabilities which will be achieved in the coming five years. With those capabilities mainstream introduction will be a matter of time. (In interview with telegraph.co.uk.)
Five years! I guess that’s not happening this Xmas. But if Polymer Vision is going to drag its heels, perhaps LG Philips will have something out sooner.
Maybe next year.
You have probably heard of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative with its objective of putting $100 laptops into the hands of children in developing nations. These machines are now in production, though they failed to meet to meet their price target; instead, they will cost $188. The name has also changed, to the XO-1 Laptop.
But don’t look for these in a store near you. They aren’t for you (unless you’re a kid in a developing nation, perhaps one who has one already and is reading this on it even now. Hi, kid. Welcome to the internet). But generous folk who wish to buy one for donation will be allowed to purchase one for themselves as well, through the Give One, Get One program.
If you’re purely concerned with supporting the OLPC program, you could, of course, just donate $400, asking nothing in return. And if you’re just looking for a cheap laptop, you would probably be better off getting something more powerful at the same cost as two XO-1s, like the Asus eee PC.
The specs for the XO-1 are not impressive. The reason I want one of these things, as opposed to an eee PC, is that it’s really cool in a very geeky way. It’s a computer whose hardware and software both have been tailored to serve an important need. It’s not corporate crap shoved on bleating masses suffering the conspicuous karmic consequence of obesity for their mindless consumption and endless farting of fetid greenhouse gases from between their flabby pustule-bestrewn ass cheeks. No, it’s much nicer than that. The XO-1 is a smart product, by smart people, addressing in a practical way the pressing social and technological problem of the digital divide.
If you want a powerful laptop that will do all sorts of things, even run a resource hog OS like Vista, then the XO-1 is definitely not for you. But if you want to own a bit of history, and an educational appliance that will probably do a decent job of web surfing and presenting text (it has a high rez mode for ebook-like functionality), then you have until the end of December to get one. That’s when the Give One, Get One program ends.
I’ve ordered mine. It will be my Xmas present to myself. And to some kid somewhere. (Hi kid. Hold on tight to that laptop, don’t waste too much time on games, and don’t get caught surfing porn on it.)