OLPC Enters the Mythical World of Tablet Computing

One of the most exciting areas of make believe computing is the mythical tablet PC. Apple has been rumored to be developing a tablet PC whilst Microsoft is supposedly developing a Tablet/booklet PC.

Now OLPC, the project that designs low cost computers for kids in developing companies, has stepped into the arena not once but twice. First with a Booklet style, dual screen, tablet PC and now, after canning that idea, an ultra thin tablet screen with thumb/finger ring grip that supposedly will retail for around US$75.00 (pictured). The device is also rumored to include a digital camera on the back

What caught my eye about this device is the image on the right. Nothing particularly revolutionary here but for some reason I'd never considered a touch screen, full size, keyboard before. It's not a new idea by any means and I have seen it on other touch screen devices (like mobile phones) - just never linked the idea to tablet PC computing.

The concept gives me some confidence that maybe tablet PC's will catch on since, those who like their keyboards, can still have that interface option without having to attach an actual keyboard to the device. That is, assuming anyone other than Amazon and their Kindle device, actually releases something that looks like a tablet PC.

The only other thing that struck me about OLPC's concept images is that their device looks way too thin. It's described as being about the thickness of an Apple iPhone but I'm not convinced it would stand up to daily mobile use.

This is all moot though. It seems anyone can create a few concept images and announce a proposed tablet PC for release err... some time in the future.

Hopefully someone will go to the next level soon and actually release something. In the meantime why not enjoy a few more concept images of OLPC's device below.

Retail Hostages

Ever been in one of those discount variety stores, found nothing you want to buy, then discovered you can't get out? Well, you can get out but the only way is to queue at the checkouts until a gap opens up and you can squeeze past.

This situation recently happened to me. It occurred because the store in question has an automatic barrier across the entrance. You can only get in that way, not out.

The store has multiple checkout lanes but they're so narrow all it takes is one small woman with a hand bag to block them. Thus, during busy times, like Christmas, all the checkouts backup with queues of people carrying whatever it is they want to buy.

I just want to get out of the store but I can't. I'm a retail hostage, forced to queue because the store is too cheap to hire a door attendant to monitor customers, not making a purchase, as they leave.

I tend to avoid stores like this but sometimes their discounts are just too enticing. Before I know it I'm in the store again, they've sold out of what I came to buy and all the checkouts are clogged with people - half of them just trying to get out.

*sigh*

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