Almost a year ago One Laptop Per Child started showing off a tablet designed to offer low-cost touchscreen computing to students around the world. The plan was to sell the XO-3 tablet for as little as $100 per unit.
Now it looks like that plan has been cancelled.
Network World reports that the XO-3 won’t ever see the light of day, but that some of the technology from the prototypes could show up in future products, both from the OLPC group and from other tablet makers.
The XO-3 prototype featured a 1 GHz ARM-based processor, an 8 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel Pixel Qi display, and a rugged rubber back.
OLPC is still working on an XO-4 device, which is basically a minor variation on the existing XO Laptops. Like earlier models it will have a rugged design, a low power display and processor, and a body that lets you rotate the screen and fold it down over the keys to hold in tablet mode.
But unlike earlier models, the XO-4 will have a touchscreen, so you can use it like a real tablet, not just an eReader. The XO-4 is expected to ship in 2013.
Meanwhile, the lost cost computing space is a very different place than it was when Nicholas Negroponte first started One Laptop Per Child. When he promised to deliver a $100 laptop (which was a little ambitious — the final price was closer to $200), there was no such thing. Today you can find dozens of inexpensive netbooks and tablets which sell for that price or lower.
Not all of them are optimized for use in developing nations where access to electricity may be spotty, and where outdoor readable screens and dust-resistant keyboard are key advantages. So it’s good to see OLPC still kicking around new ideas… even if they aren’t all as ambitious as they once were. But you can make the case that without the original OLPC, netbooks would have never hit the streets… and the average price of a mobile computer would be much higher than it is today.
What I don’t get, is why $100 is somewhat more challenging now than 4 years ago when there was NO market parallel for that price. Is obvious the Sugarlabs technology is no optimized to touch, nor is an ideal thing, where Programming is the key selling point of the project and tablets are still pretty much a consumption device.
The most innovative and most important thing that came out of OLPC was mesh networking. It never worked well. And the project quickly all but gave up on it. I think it was a giant mistake. That should have been the main focus of the project. It should have been the project.
Well to be honest it was too innovative, and Mesh netwokring as a whole still hasnt took off, not just that but iPad models are less social than regular computing where is multiuser, ipad/iphone are really buiilt for mono-user environments and lack of networking flexibility.
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