Sol Computer to sell a Pixel Qi-enabled netbook and tablet for $1K

Sol Computer, a California-based distributor that focuses on sunlight-readable technology, has a high-end line of rugged netbook laptops, is planning to sell a similar tablet for $950 later this year. It looks a lot like they are targeting an OLPC use case in the developed world — sunlight-readable, child- and abuse-friendly devices. Nice to know there is a market for that, and that it has discovered Pixel Qi.

Pixel Qi ships its 3 millionth display

Pixel Qi has shipped over 3 million displays in over fifteen laptop and tablet models; and XOs are becoming a minority of the worldwide usage of the robust low-power designs.

Their new displays continue to drop their power requirements; we would be able to save over half of the power our current displays draw by upgrading to the newest Qi design.  I have always loved this best of all of the tech innovations in the XO, and am delighted to see it take off as its own force for constructive change.



OLPC and Marvell announce the XO-3 tablet

Also: The first Marvell ARMADA-powered XO 1.75 laptop will begin shipping in March to school children in Uruguay and Nicaragua

SANTA CLARA, Calif. / LAS VEGAS (Jan. 9, 2012) – Marvell Semiconductor (Nasdaq: MRVL), a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, and One Laptop per Child, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping every child in the world gain access to a modern education, demonstrated a version of the much-anticipated XO 3.0 – a low-cost, low-power, rugged tablet computer designed for classrooms around the globe – at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show.

“We’re proud to introduce the XO 3.0 tablet, showcasing the design, durability and performance features that make it a natural successor for our current laptops, which have been distributed to more than 2.4 million children in 42 countries and in 25 languages,” said Ed McNierney, Chief Technology Officer of One Laptop per Child. “The XO 3.0 builds on many of the technology breakthroughs we made with the XO 1.75, including the use of the Marvell® ARMADA® PXA618 processor, resulting in a significant decrease in power consumption-a critical issue for students in the developing world.”

“Marvell is committed to improving education–and the human condition-around the world through innovative technology for Smartphones, tablets and a myriad of new cloud-delivered services. Partnering with One Laptop Per Child is one way we can deliver a revolution where it matters most-to benefit children in some of the poorest places on the planet,” said Tom Hayes, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Marvell, and a member of the OLPC advisory board. “Marvell has been with One Laptop per Child from the start, and we’re doing whatever it takes to help the organization realize its mission of providing meaningful educational opportunities to the 500 million school-aged children around the world.”

Marvell and One Laptop per Child also announced today that the XO -1.75 laptop will begin shipping to customers in March 2012. Over 75,000 units of the XO 1.75 have already been ordered by OLPC projects in Uruguay and Nicaragua. Both models use the Marvell ARMADA PXA618 SOC processor, which doubles the performance of the earlier XO 1 while using only half the power. The XO 1.75 features a sunlight-readable screen, and all other features and design characteristics of the two previous versions of the XO laptop.

The XO 3.0 tablet will also feature the Avastar Wi-Fi system-on-chip.
It is also the only tablet that can be charged directly by solar panels, hand cranks and other alternative power sources

Other features include:

• Updated Pixel Qi sunlight-readable display
• Choice of Android or Linux operating systems
• Unique charging circuitry to support alternate power sources
• Choice of laptop covers, including one with built-in solar panel

Pixel Qi forges ahead with partnerships, new tablets

Since Pixel Qi, our display manufacturer, announced the recent investment in their work by 3M, that connection has made a few headlines. 3M has noted that “the vision of ubiquitous displays comes much closer to realization.

Since then Pixel Qi have partnered with All American, a global distributor, and with ShiZhu Technology, who are designing a family of four tablets around Qi screens.

I hope this means new lineups and screen sizes will come more easily. I am looking forward to seeing this display tech become standard in handhelds and laptops of all sizes. And I’m also looking forward to the latest screen designs in the new XOs — it seems the already low power draw has dropped by half again.

OLPC XO-3 design update

The XO-3 design work is coming along, still scheduled for the end of next year.  The screen will be one of the latest Pixel Qi models.  They will run Linux, though what flavor is still under investigation; followers of C. Scott’s blog can read the full details there.  And like the XO-1.75, they will use an ARM chip.

In an IDG interview, Nicholas notes that design discussions about how to implement solar and satellite connectivity continue.  Meanwhile, those interested in working on software for the XO-3 are invited to get involved in XO-1.75 hacking this summer.

Contributors program versions of the beta-test boards will be available soon.


Sunlight is the best light: new Qi screens at Computex

PixelQi showed off its new higher-res 10.1″ and 7″ screens at Computex this week.   By some accounts they are the fastest-growing new display technology in a long time; they are certainly essential for our students’ normal daily use in African schools.

And the Telegraph’s Rick Maybury lampoons the aesthetics of sun shields answers a reader asking why he can’t use his laptop outside.  Hopefully there will be more positive answers to such questions next year, as this sort of display solution becomes commonplace.