I am absolutely astounded this thing has actually gotten off the ground, and not only is it real, it's also super, super cool as well. Check out David Pogue's video review of it to see what I mean - it's just so neat to see all the stuff that we've been reading about for a few years now actually coming to fruition in such a lustworthy little gadget, that still manages to meet and exceed original technical expectations (if not the $100 original target price).
Personally, I thought - and really still do think - that a better solution would have been one that integrated mobile phones, as those are the devices that are penetrating the farthest into the third world already, and enabling real time communications, computing and connectivity where there was none before. A device like a slimmed down Nokia N800 or a Nokia N95 with extensions for keyboards and screens would have been much more useful, not only to the children but to everyone who touches it such as their parents and other family members. Though I understand the idea is to create an "invisible" device in the sense that the education is the focus, and not the gadget itself, I'm not sure the usefulness of introducing children to a technology that is so focused and rare. It would seem to make more sense letting children integrate a device they'll be using for the rest of their lives - the mobile phone (or a device like it) - into their education instead.
That said, I don't want to seem like the "snarky bloggers" that Pogue mentioned in his review. The XO is totally cool, and really an incredible device that has tons of neat innovations I'd love to see in commercial gadgets, and I hope it's greeted with enormous success when it starts to get rolled out over the next few years "en masse". Trust me, if I had any cash at all, I'd be one of the first people to buy one in November, even at $400... it's just that cool.