OLPC, Marvell to Build XO-3 Tablet

The One Laptop Per Child project is teaming up with Marvell to create a tablet that officials hope will enable OLPC to bring down the price to less than $100. The XO-3 tablet will be designed for schoolchildren in the United States and elsewhere, and also will be marketed to health care facilities.

Officials with the One Laptop Per Child program are planning to show up at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011 armed with a new tablet that they hope will get them closer to their goal of offering a computer for less than $100.

OLPC and semiconductor company Marvell Technology Group announced May 27 that they will jointly develop a line of OLPC XO tablets that will be used by schoolchildren in the United States and other countries.

OLPC founder and Chairman Nicholas Negroponte reportedly has said that the organization will have a prototype of the XO-3 tablet ready by the end of 2010, two years ahead of initial projections.

The organization first broached the idea in December 2009, when officials laid out a three-year road map that called for a single-panel design by 2012. That timetable has been moved up.

The move comes as tablets are finding greater traction in the industry, due in large part to Apple's release in April of the iPad. Since then, officials with Hewlett-Packard have talked about tablets running with Palm's WebOS operating system or Microsoft's Windows 7. Dell also has launched the Streak, a device with a 5-inch screen that officials sayfalls somewhere between a smartphone and full-size tablet.

OLPC's XO-3 will be based on Marvell's Moby reference tablet design.

OLPC officials are hoping to drive down the cost of the tablet to less than $100, in part because Marvell will be aggressively marketing it in such areas as schools and health care facilities.

"We want to see the price drop, and volume is the key to that," Negroponte told the Associated Press.

Officials with OLPC and Marvell envision a device with at least a 9-inch screen, and that will need about a watt of power, compared with the 5 watts needed for a current XO laptop. The XO-3 tablet will offer a multilingual soft keyboard with touch feedback and an application that will let users access more than 2 million free books on the Internet.

It also reportedly will have a 1GHz Marvell ARMADA 610 processor, compatibility with both Linux and Google's Android OS, at least one video camera, and WiFi support. In addition, it will enable peripherals, such as a mouse and keyboard, to plug into it.

Users also will be able to create content and share it through a mesh network.