So, one of the things I have been hearing for a long time about the OLPC XO laptop is how the thing was designed for low-power consumption. This made sense seeing as the target audience for the lappie is in the 3rd World where a regular supply of electricity may not always be easy to find. To stop the XO from sucking too much juice, the following features were included in the XO:

1) no hard drive, no optical drive--this basically removes all moving parts from the device.

2) slow processor--a 433mhz processor means less juice consumed.

3) a display that easily switches from color to black and white and can also easily switch to a lower resolution--both allow for less energy to be used.

4) a processor that will shut off after 2 seconds of non-use and start back up with 300 milliseconds of notice and doesn't need to be active to keep things like wifi running.

In previous posts on the XO I said that the battery life I had found on the XO wiki was claimed to be 15+ hours. With the above features, this sort of made sense to me. However, I couldn't find anything definite. The 15+ hours number came from the battery section of the hardware page on the XO's wiki. The catch there is that I misread the part where it claims "16 watt-hours." After looking up what a "watt-hour" is, I discovered that it's the amount of watts it can supply in an hour. With that in mind, I posted a question to the XO wiki's Ask a Question page. Here's the exact question I asked and the exact answer I got:
Battery life?

When I unplug my MacBook from the wall, it tells me how much battery time I have left. Usually this is around 3 hours. Does the XO do this and if so, on a full charge, how much time does it take during heavy use for the battery to discharge fully? In other words, how long does the battery last, worst case scenario? Thanks!

It does not tell you remaining time in minutes, but in percentage of charge; currently, if you do not use any power saving modes, it would last roughly as long as your macbook. Sj talk

So, while that's a bit of a let down, it's a fairly specific length of time for the battery life. That's significantly lower than the 15+ hours I was quoting and I apologize for not being thorough in my previous posts. The however, here, is that it's still a pretty cheap laptop and using the power saving modes Sj mentions in his reply will extend the battery much longer. Someplace (sorry, I'm lame for not remembering where) I read that with all of the power saving modes engaged the XO could function for the better part of a day without being connected to the wall. You can bet that I'll be testing this theory out.

Ultimately, I still think this is an innovative little device. It's still uber-portable, can do everything I'd need it to do on-the-go (word processor, web surfing, webcam, instant message and, with the right added software, do flash). It also comes with a year of free wifi hotspot use from T-Mobile--which almost pays the complete $400 for the laptop--in fact, by some estimates, you'll only really be paying $40 for the XO laptop. At that price, if you don't like the XO, no worries--you can still use the T-Mo wifi on other devices.

Of course, the best reason to go for this deal is the fact that for $400 you're not only buying yourself a cool little ultra-mobile PC, but you're also buying one for a kid in a 3rd World country. If it weren't for that, I'd just be saving my money for a new iPhone instead, or I might go with the eee PC from Asus. The whole point here is that the OLPC group behind the XO is a non-profit and they're trying to help people around the world. How many for-profit companies can you say that about?

One last tidbit for today's OLPX XO laptop post: If you're curious about the SugarOS that runs the XO, you can try it out for yourself by using an emulator--check out the "Emulate an XO" page at the XO's wiki. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan on doing it in the next day or so. Watch for a report on how it goes tomorrow. Or try it out yourself and let me know how it works.

I'll still be there, at, Monday morning at 6AM Eastern Time to order my XO and I hope you will be, too. It's a good cause, dammit!