(This is not commentary on OLPC - go here to start that thread, which continues to December 2006)
I recently visited the MacWorld exposition and found myself making the familiar trudge through the aisles, glancing left and right while attempting to absorb and judge what I was seeing. I've done this many times before and it always seemed that my experience of hell would be of walking through an endless trade show.
Of course, I've seen worse (the late un-lamented Comdex a few years before its demise was a warren of tiny booths all showing the same bits of junk that were of no use to me). I took in the gigantic presentation by Apple of their iPhone and came away convinced that Steve Jobs had pushed through a most impressive piece of human interface programming, though all of an evolutionary and not revolutionary aspect.
Fortunately, I found myself in line buying an overpriced sandwich immediately behind a good friend of mine, and we sat and talked as we ate (there were many more opportunities to sit at MacWorld than at other trade shows). He directed me to the back hall where small companies had tiny stands with new products, or products that were almost ready.
There I ran into something very interesting. A tiny new company named Unicon was showing their tiny devices (about half the thickness of a deck of playing cards, with about the same profile) that were built to function as media handling devices, for want of a better word. Each had a small quarter-VGA (320 x 240) color LCD screen with a Linux (2.6) computer built onto the rear of the display using flex circuit technology. The design had two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 2.0 "mini OTG port for PC connection" - OTG standing for "On The Go" and referring to a dual-mode (A or B) dynamically configurable USB port allowing it to connect to anything except another OTG peripheral (which would have trouble deciding which protocol to assume).