Practical Technology

for practical people.

The poor get poorer and the rich get richer with Apple’s iPad-based textbooks

Apple’s iBooks2’s reinvented textbooks really are something. They’re gorgeous, they’re fast, they’re real-time interactive with up to date information and they’ll only cost $14.99 or less. But, to use them, you’ll need an iPad–minimum list price: $499.

Can you afford that for your kids? Can your school board? I could, but I’ve been lucky enough to do well in my career and I only have the one daughter. There’s certainly no way that any county I’ve ever lived in during my life in West Virginia, Maryland, or North Carolina could afford to give every student from K to 12 an iPad. They’re lucky when they can provide any kind of computer seat for each kid.

That’s why there have been programs like the so-called $100 laptop: the OLPC (One Laptop per Child). The OLPC project aimed to put first low priced notebooks, the XO-1.5 and now tablets, the OLPC XO Tablet, into the hands of kids who don’t go to private schools.

These XO Tablet is powered by a 1GHz Marvell Armada PXA618 processor, and have a mere 512MBs of RAM. It can run a minimized version of Red Hat’s Fedora Linux with the simplified Sugar interface on top of that and it can also run Android. Price: $100.

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