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OLPC XO 3.0 tablet to show at CES with Android, Sugar

updated 11:10 pm EST, Fri January 6, 2012

OLPC XO 3 gets long overdue unveiling

The One Laptop Per Child project's long-in-waiting XO-3 tablet, now called the XO 3.0, will get its formal unveiling at CES. The eight-inch, 1024x768 slate will have a ruggedized body to survive rural schools and, like the original notebooks, consumes very little power. OLPC notes that it can take energy from a solar panel and that a hand crank can give it 10 minutes of power for every minute of turning, letting it work even in remote areas where electricity isn't guaranteed.

The new system will have the choice of either a touch-native version of OLPC's simple Linux-based Sugar interface or Android, with open firmware to let institutions make their own choice. A Marvell Armada PXA618 chip with 512MB of RAM will power the tablet, regardless of what OS it's using. Some models, though not all, will have a PixelQi 3qi display that can switch to an e-paper-like mode and otherwise work more effectively outdoors.

As the system will still be targeted at whole countries and gets volume discounts, OLPC expects to meet its slightly raised goals of $100 per tablet, or half as much as the smaller Kindle Fire. Those models will use traditional LCDs, though, and may trim other features. A full-fledged XO 3.0 will cost more.

Production is near beginning and will most likely have the new XO out in 2012.

The XO 3.0 may alter the dynamic of the tablet market depending on its success. Apart from the very cheapest of budget tablets, many of which make more sacrifices than OLPC does, no tablet can realistically match the XO 3.0 in price. Apple is currently the frontrunner for tablets in education, but it caters primarily to the wealthiest countries and not the developing world that OLPC has focused on for several years. Android, Sugar, or both could make significant inroads and take up those spaces where Apple chooses not to compete.





By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. chas_m

    Moderator

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Some clever ideas, but

    I can promise you the screen will look nothing nowhere near as good as it does in these mockups, and that on-screen keyboard seems intended only for children's hands.

    I'm only criticising this as a possible contender to the iPad, because frankly that's a laughable idea (it's not likely to end up even being a competitor to the Fire!). The device if half as good as the ad copy will be a remarkable tool for developing nations and is loaded with some very clever concepts. I hope the execution turns out as well as the hype.

  1. prl99

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Mar 2009

    0

    how so thin? hand crank?

    These photos show a tablet extremely thin and with a camera. I wonder how they fit the electronics and a battery into something that looks no more than 1/8" thick. I don't see the hand crank anywhere nor do I see any place to connect anything to any side of the tablet. Guess we'll have to wait until it's actually released to know just how small (or big) this device is. It would be great to have something this inexpensive but I can't imagine it would do very much more than run simple applications.

  1. LMGS

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2011

    +4

    comment title

    That would last about 10 minutes in a "rural school"...

    Looks way to fragile..

  1. benj

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 1999

    +2

    get real

    OLPC makes an outstanding product -the laptop i bought three years ago is still in use and running Sugar. The people working on this thing are beyond top rate- plus there's an open source component to the software that makes it especially appealing in the cost and productivity - this is not your "consumer" computer but a machine esp designed with education in mind. You guys laugh it off- but this is a leveraging device for third world countries- I will bet you won't be laughing when the olpc generation gets into MIT and Harvard.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +3

    re: get real

    I'm sure the tablet will be a nice product but the comments cover te unrealistic XO-3 concept art.

  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Feb 2009

    -3

    Boondoggle

    If this were a company that expected to make a profit instead of the altruistic nonsense that OLPC typically pedals everyone would steer miles clear of it. Any investor should be alarmed by a company that is asking for money and then showing a ridiculously pie-in-the-sky render as if they were actually going to make it like these guys. They want people to invest millions of dollars in their fantasy scheme and they show that?

    Apple's iPad is leading the industry in screens, in lightness, and in thin-ness and they won't have anything that will look like this for at least three years or so. The render is complete BS and if it was anyone other than OLPC the investors would be running for the doors.

    The OLPC laptop was a complete failure in almost every respect. This tablet (which will probably look more like a Playbook in reality), will be no different.

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