One Laptop Per Child debuts rugged tablet for students in the developing world

One Laptop Per Child will unveil its XO 3.0 tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Monday. The fully functional tablet is designed to be inexpensive, use little energy and brave extreme weather conditions, Mashable reports. The rugged tablet includes the Marvell ARMADA PXA618 SOC processor, Avastar Wi-Fi SOC, standard or Pixel Qi sunlight-readable display, and supports Android and Linux operating systems. Unlike any other tablet on the market, it can be powered by solar energy, other alternative sources or hand-cranks.

“We’re proud to introduce the XO 3.0 tablet, showcasing the design, durability and performance features that make it a natural successor for our current laptops, which have been distributed to more than 2.4 million children in 42 countries and in 25 languages,” Edward McNierney, chief technology officer of One Laptop Per Child said. “The XO 3.0 builds on many of the technology breakthroughs we made with the XO 1.75, including the use of the Marvell ARMADA PXA618 processor, resulting in a significant decrease in power consumption—a critical issue for students in the developing world.”

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The top 10 ed-tech stories of 2010: No. 1

The iPad has had a huge impact on educational technology in just its first year of existence.

With a large touch screen that can display electronic texts in color, Apple’s iPad was greeted with huge enthusiasm by many ed-tech advocates when it debuted earlier this year. The device also inspired a host of competitors and sparked an eReader price war as it threatened to shake up the eBook market.

“I think this changes the picture for eBooks considerably,” said Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium, after Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in January. “This has a lot of potential for … education. [Apple] has really seemed to think through the book experience.”

Johnson’s remarks were prophetic, as the iPad has had a huge impact on educational technology in just its first year of existence. Seton Hill University was among the many schools to give iPads to incoming students this fall, and Abilene Christian University made its students newspaper available for iPads. The device has even changed medical school, where first-year med students at Stanford University are finding several ways to use the iPad to help them learn.…Read More

Early take on India’s $35 tablet: ‘Fairly impressive’

For readers who want to see the much-talked-about prototype of India’s $35 tablet computer in moving color, a gadget show on Indian television just featured an exclusive hands-on demonstration that could help dissipate some of the skepticism about the device, CNET reports. “Everybody actually said, ‘It cannot happen, a $35 tablet,’ and not only does it exist, it works and it works brilliantly,” said Rajiv Makhni, co-host of the show “Gadget Guru,” who took the computer through its paces with show cohort Vikram Chandra. The two then discussed all aspects of the gadget with Kapil Sibal, the country’s Minister for Human Resource Development, who officially unveiled the super-cheap touch-screen device. Aimed at the country’s students, it’s being called India’s answer to Nicholas Negroponte’s famed One Laptop Per Child computer. While originally presented as a Linux device, the prototype on the show runs on Android (and handles the operating system “fairly smoothly,” the surprised Gurus say). It has a virtual keyboard, camera, full video capability, Wi-Fi for browsing that the Gurus found to be “simple and quick,” an eReader, and 2GB RAM. They say the touch screen is a bit slow to respond. All in all, though, they call it a “fairly impressive little package,” particularly for the price, and a game changer for India and possibly beyond…

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India unveils prototype of $35 tablet computer

India's Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal displays a low-cost tablet at its launch in New Delhi, India. (AP)
India's Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal displays a low-cost tablet at its launch in New Delhi, India. (AP)

It looks like an iPad, only it’s one-fourteenth the cost: India has unveiled the prototype of a $35 basic touch-screen tablet aimed at students, which it hopes to bring into production by 2011.

If the government can find a manufacturer, the Linux operating system-based computer would be the latest in a string of “world’s cheapest” innovations to hit the market out of India, which is home to the 100,000-rupee ($2,127) compact Nano car, the 749-rupee ($16) water purifier, and the $2,000 open-heart surgery.

The tablet can be used for functions like word processing, web browsing, and video conferencing. It has a solar-power option, too—important for India’s energy-starved hinterlands—although that add-on feature costs extra.…Read More

One Laptop Per Child to add multi-touch screen to future XO-1.75 laptop

The nonprofit organization One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) on July 8 said it is adding a multi-touch screen to its upcoming XO-1.75 laptop and is modifying software to take advantage of the new hardware, PC World reports. The low-cost XO-1.75 with a touch-sensitive 8.9-inch screen will start shipping next year. The laptop will run on an Arm processor and is the successor to the current XO-1.5 laptop, which runs on a Via x86 processor. OLPC also will add a multi-touch screen on the next-generation XO-3 tablet, which is due to ship in 2012. Customers could be interested in buying XO-1.75 laptops as low-power replacements to existing XO-1 machines, which don’t have touch capabilities, said Chris Ball, lead software engineer for OLPC, in an eMail. However, OLPC will also sell less-expensive XO-1.75 machines without touch screens, he said. OLPC wants to use the XO-1.75 laptops as a platform to test and develop appropriate touch interfaces for the next-generation XO-3 tablets, he said. The XO laptops are designed for kids in primary schools, and touch capabilities could reduce the need to use a mouse to move or manipulate images or to scroll through documents. The XO-1.75 will include a physical keyboard, but the XO-3 tablet design will include only an on-screen keyboard…

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One Laptop Per Child’s next move: $100 tablet


Marvell said it has also found ways to cut costs in the way it's designing the chips.
Marvell said it has found ways to cut costs in the way it's designing the chips.


The nonprofit organization that has tried to produce a $100 laptop for children in the world’s poorest places is throwing in the towel on that idea—and jumping on the tablet bandwagon.…Read More