The folks at One Laptop per Child appear to be taking a different approach toward their next-generation hardware. In fact, the next XO product won’t be a laptop at all. Instead it will be a tablet. And instead of designing the tablet in-house like it did the original XO Laptop, OLPC is working with chip maker Marvell to bring the company’s Moby reference design to life.

The tablet will still be aimed at students around the world, particularly those in developing nations. The XO tablet will use just one watt of power, and it wil feature a multi-lingual software keyboard with touch feedback.

The Marvell Moby Tablet platform is powered by a 1GHz Marvell ARMADA 610 processor with integrated 802.11bn WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM radio features. It supports 1080p HD video encoding and decoding capabilities as well as 3D graphics support. The chipset supports Google Android, Windows Mobile, and Ubuntu Linux and can handle Adobe Flash.

The tablet has a webcam for video chat, and features a mobile hotspot feature that lets you share a mobile broadband connection with up to 8 devices over a WiFi connection.

OLPC and Marvell reportedly plan to introduce the new tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, 2011.

While OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte introduced the idea of a touchscreen tablet-style XO laptop last year, the upcoming XO tablet lacks many of the features Negroponte had been shooting for. It won’t be waterproof or thinner than an iPhone.

The original XO tablet design also featured dual touchscreens, as pictured to the right, although that idea was scrapped when OLPC moved on to the OLPC XO-3 concept which would have been a more traditional tablet with a single display — probably an indoor/outdoor low power display from Pixel Qi. But it’s not clear if the new Moby/OLPC tablet will have a Pixel Qi screen at launch.

But Negroponte says that the XO-3 that he envisioned still could be developed by 2012. In the meantime, it looks like instead of launching a revolutionary product, OLPC is set to launch yet-another-ARM-based tablet early next year.

On the other hand, the XO tablet could be dirt cheap. When Marvell announced the Moby reference design earlier this year, the goal was to develop a platform for $99 tablets. So while the original OLPC $100 laptop never quite reached its target price, maybe the $100 tablet will become a reality?

via OLPC News

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5 replies on “OLPC XO tablet features a Marvell CPU, boring design”

  1. Anybody have better details about the input? I’ve found nothing. If this device is fingers-on-screen input only, then I’m confused. It doesn’t matter if there’s some form of active digitizer or just a stylus included, but a device that can’t let you do things like draw, write out math, annotate documents visually, or create text in non-standard characters isn’t a very good academic tool. I’ve NEVER seen a math teacher or student finger-paint their way through the solution of a math problem. Student learning requires something more than just consuming information, and a finger-touch slate is NOT a content creation device.

  2. I have at questions why people want to give out laptops when there are so many hungry. Even so books require no power to use. In spite of all this sometimes I still like the idea but the laptop is the better idea.
    It is possible kids could learn a skill, how to actually type. That can’t happen with a touch pad, not in any real sense anyway. There some really cheap netbbooks or notebooks out there using Linux, that seems like a better idea to me. Sugar on a stick comes with many nice teaching aids as an example. The software should be free and honestly, all these big computer related corporations could donate a fraction of a percent to pay for the hardware and not see a dent in profits.

    1. I agree with your point. If they really need “touch” then add that to a netbook/notebook type device. If they are going to do such devices they really ought to be “all purpose” devices.

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