OLPC and Vivitar are getting ready to launch their second-generation XO tablets for students. Last year the companies introduced their first Android-powered tablet with a custom user interface emphasizing educational software.
The new models feature similar software, but it’s now based on Android 4.4 KitKat. The bigger changes are in the hardware. XO tablets now come in two sizes: 7 and 10 inches. The new models also feature faster processor sand other improvements, and there’s a range of accessories for the tablets including telescopes, microscopes, speakers, and more.
There’s no mistaking either tablet for a high-end device. Both the 7 and 10 inch models have 1024 x 600 pixel displays, and the viewing angles aren’t all that great.
The tablets have 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, WiFi, Bluetooth. The 7 inch model should get up to 7 hours of run time, while the 10 inch tablet should have up to 12 hours of battery life.
The tablets comes with silicone cases to help protect them from the abuse of children. And they feature software designed to help kids find educational and entertaining activities in a range of categories. The tablets can also be used as general-purpose Android devices and they feature Google Play Store access if parents want to install third party apps.
Aside from the software, part of what makes these tablets unusual are the accessories. Vivitar is showing off a digital telescope and digital microphone designed to work with OLPC apps on the tablet. There are also more traditional accessories including a keyboard, stylus, and headphones.
The 7 inch tablet should cost about $150 and the 10 inch model should go for about $200. If you’re looking for general-purpose Android tablets you can probably find models with better screens and more storage in that price range. But good luck finding one that’s designed to work with a telescope.