Marvell backs ambitious $100 OLPC tablet

The One Laptop Per Child foundation's futuristic vision of an inexpensive tablet computer for children of developing nations is closer to reality, thanks to a partnership with manufacturer Marvell.

Donald Bell Senior Editor / How To
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Donald Bell
2 min read

Photo of OLPC XO-3 tablet computer.
The OLPC XO-3 is a tablet computer designed for children in developing nations. OLPC

After achieving success with the OLPC XO-1 laptop, the One Laptop Per Child foundation is setting in motion plans to create a working $100 tablet for CES 2011. Marvell Technologies announced Thursday that it will partner with the OLPC foundation to create the hardware for the proposed tablet, currently named the XO-3.

Vague details and product renderings of the XO-3 tablet first surfaced last December. More-concrete specs are now taking shape, including an ambitiously low power rating of 1 watt per hour (compared with the 5 watts per hour required by the OLPC laptop). Other promised features include a multilingual, multitouch-screen keyboard with haptic feedback, Wi-Fi, high-quality video (1080p full-HD encode and decode), integrated video and still cameras, high-performance 3D graphics, Flash 10 Internet, and two-way teleconferencing.

The backbone of the XO-3 will be an ARM processor (likely the Marvell Armada 610), with initial models running a version of Google's Android OS. As with the OLPC laptop, these initial models will be sold within developed nations, subsidizing the less-expensive $75 version (running the open-source, educational Sugar OS) distributed to children and institutions supported by the foundation.

In the accompanying video, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte also boasts that the tablet will eventually include an adaptable screen that can be optimized for both indoor viewing and direct sunlight, though the earliest models will be designed around a glass screen. An iPad-besting thickness of 10.8 millimeters is also claimed.

Time will tell how much tablet can be bought for $100, but we look forward to seeing what Marvell and OLPC have to show in January for CES 2011.

(Via NYT Bits)