As the release of the new XO 1.5 nears, 30 B2 versions are available for hardware and developers and they start shipping next week to the ones with the best proposals.
The revamp to the current Geode LX based OLPC XO-1 laptop features various improvements, including an updated C7-M @ 1GHz, 1GiB for DDR2 RAM, replaceable internal flash memory and the VX855 chipset with hardware HD video decoding capabilities. For the original announcement and the full specs, look at the previous post about the XO-1.5.
The revamp is much needed, because while the XO-1 fullfills his mission remarkably well, the Geode LX was unable to run things like Youtube videos, Hulu, etc. Videos still play fine using MPlayer and other applications work fine enough. Wireless range is good and battery life is very good for such a cheap device, similar to most netbooks of the same price range: around 5 hours when using just the internal memory, 3 hours running the OS from an SD card and around 9-10 hours if used in ebook mode, where the laptop can suspend itself often.
The device has a remarkable suspend/resume time of around 150ms, which allows it to retain the image in the DCON(a custom chip you won't find elsewhere), output it to the screen while most of the system is suspended and still wake up at a press of a key before you notice it. The reflective screen is definitely another strong point of the machine and one of my favorite ones.
As for the new one, motherboard pictures have already been provided for reference and it's a pretty compact one, in the same form factor as the previous XO:
The casing remains the same but there are a few changes going on the outside. The new XO-1.5 is sold exclusively with the simplified trackpad and green buttons on power, rotate and the battery holders below the laptop:
There are 30 laptops available for contributors that want to help out the OLPC Foundation, proposals should be sent email@example.com and should follow the guidelines for project submission. For more information please visit blog.laptop.org
Before you apply, also have a look at the wiki page about the Xo 1.5 B2, as there are still some issues to sort out before it will go into production.
There isn't any Give One Get One program planned for this year yet, but more information will be released soon and I hope to have one XO 1.5 to review here in the coming months.