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In addition to a standard plug-in power supply, human power and solar power sources are available, allowing operation far from a commercial power grid.Mary Lou Jepsen has listed the design goals of the device as follows: Various use models had been explored by OLPC with the help of Design Continuum and Fuseproject, including: laptop, e-book, theatre, simulation, tote, and tablet architectures.This innovation results in a much brighter display for a given amount of backlight illumination: while the color filters in a regular display typically absorb 85% of the light that hits them, this display absorbs little of that light.Most LCD screens at the time used cold cathode fluorescent lamp backlights which were fragile, difficult or impossible to repair, required a high voltage power supply, were relatively power-hungry, and accounted for 50% of the screens' cost (sometimes 60%).During this time, the project mission statement changed to remove mentions of "open source".A number of developers, such as Ivan Krstić and Walter Bender, resigned because of these changes in strategy.
The display is the most expensive component in most laptops.Approximately 400 developer boards (Alpha-1) were distributed in mid-2006; 875 working prototypes (Beta 1) were delivered in late 2006; 2400 Beta-2 machines were distributed at the end of February 2007; Quanta Computer, the project's contract manufacturer, said in February 2007 that it had confirmed orders for one million units.Quanta indicated that it could ship five million to ten million units that year because seven nations had committed to buy the XO-1 for their schoolchildren: Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Thailand, and Uruguay.An ATA interface is unnecessary due to the lack of hard drive. Comparison of the XO-1 display (left) with a typical liquid crystal display (LCD). A typical LCD addresses groups of 3 locations as pixels.The OLPC XO LCD addresses each location as a separate pixel The first-generation OLPC laptops have a novel low-cost LCD.