Indeed, OLPC is focussed on the educational sector and kids and youngsters that want to learn and what kid or youngster doesn't. So OLPC makes specific use of the strong points of the educational landscape, such as:
- organized, structured
- has resources
- teachers from every discipline, up to the highest university level
- reasonable and competent staff
- internationally, nationally, regionally connected
- massive numbers
- very good and aimed at developing high average speeds
- experienced at working with tight budgets, to allocate resources at maximum efficiency
In such a setting, one can take advantage from things one cannot as an individual.
Actually we don't need a big hard disk if we are many schoolkids/friends that are ok to collaborate and act as a team, because
- our XO laptops put themselves in a network/internet automatically and we can share e.g. books we have on our "little" Hard Disks. Every kid - per age / level group - has about 10 the same books that they need for that grade. But the XO can hold about 100 books. The spare 100-10=90 books, don't have to be all the same as we can exchange them thanks to the wifi of our XO's. Whatever more we need, we can put on a central server which has a large hard disk: the XServer or XS.
- our XO laptops don't need to overspend on the fastest processor. More logical is to have a fast processor at the XServer, which does all the number cruncing - heavy calculations and then delivers packages of easily digestable data to the respective XO who requested it which is a process that only lasts tens of a second, so the user won't even notice.
- so many years later - and with several country deployments - at OLPC we know what websites, books, etc kids from a certain grade consult and what they want to do with their XO-laptop and what they're interested in general. So e.g. regarding the websites and ebooks: we can put those websites and ebooks on the XServer, thus saving a lot of bandwith and need to connect to the internet. The wikipedia has been downloaded on the hard disk of the XServer which give much faster results than you've ever experienced before. Every night, e.g. the wikipedia updates / latest changes can be updated.
This way OLPC can drive costs down. Combine that with massive order numbers that allow the component manufacturers to drive price even more down and you have the best laptop-server combination at an unbeatable price.