The OLPC foundation has hinted today that it might be dropping x86 processors in their next generation XO-2 laptops in favor of an ARM based solution. Apparently the move is aimed at improving battery life while cutting costs, using a system-on-chip design, but this could also come at the expense of losing compatibility with Microsoft Windows operating systems.
The current XO model already uses an average of only 5 watts but the company claims power draw is still their biggest problem. A typical ARM processor, on the other hand, uses significantly less than a watt. Microsoft has traditionally declined to make a full-blown Windows OS for ARM, but then again, as Nicholas Negroponte states, the XO-2 is still 18 months away from release and a lot can change in that time frame.