Welcome: $35 tablet for education

India’s HRD Minister Kapil Sibal spoke recently of a $35 tablet for Indian students.  In response, Nicholas published this open letter to India.  (Read it also in Hindi, Spanish, French, and German.) Continue reading Welcome: $35 tablet for education

India’s tantalizing tablet

As noted here last week, India’s Human Resource Development Minister Sibal announced an interest in distributing a $35 touchscreen tablet to students across India.  Charbax demonstrated the reference design used is likely from AllGo Embedded Systems, which recently displayed a matching ARM device.

While Fast Company, Wired, (and later All Things Considered) have responded  skeptically to the proposed cost, let’s assum that one day we will be able to make such tablets, just as we now have $100 laptops. (I don’t think they are far off – we likewise think we can have a more powerful, rugged tablet for twice that cost by the following year.)  What I want to know is: will the government invest in a national deployment, in providing equal access to rich and poor, and in the connectivity infrastructure needed to make this a truly empowering shift?

Some of the statements made suggest the government are considering a nation-wide 50% subsidy and promotion across over 5,000 schools. That’s a fantastic start — I hope their interest persists long enough to start such a project in earnest.

Update: We would be glad to share any of our tech and experience with an India project to help their vision succeed. Nicholas published an open letter to the Ministry inviting them to Cambridge.

$20-$40 laptops, in bits and pieces

Humane Reader‘s $20 offline reader : needs only an external display, cables, and keyboard for a 38x25 monochrome display of Wikipedia or whatever text you please. Offered in XO green, it has been designed more as a tool for hackers than a scalable solution for offline reading.  From its own website:

The palm-sized device comes with an SD Card reader for storage and a micro-usb connector for both power and USB device action! The expansion headers break out maximum hackability, and are compatible with most Arduino expansion shields. Use most existing Arduino software, or write from fresh to take full advantage of the audio, video, IR, and keyboard capabilities of the platform.

And there’s talk of a $35 touchscreen tablet : Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal is personally promoting a reportedly $35 tablet computer, which he says will be available sometime in 2011. Charbax makes the case that he is referring to (and demoing) an AllGo reference design, which was on display in June’s Freescale Tech Forum.  They are still looking for a manufacturer.

Fast Company is extremely skeptical, since India’s last $10 computer was overhyped and misleadingly promoted. It wasn’t a laptop or even an entire computer, it was… hey, wait a minute… it was a cheaper Humane Reader, only done in white and with no industrial design! 

These look like fun, but not something I would necessarily want to use for too long at a stretch. In contrast, I’ve been toting my XO-1.5 HS around all week, and it is very satisfying… more after the jump.
Continue reading $20-$40 laptops, in bits and pieces

XO-3 update: OLPC and Marvell partner to design a line of tablets

XO-3 design by Yves Behar
XO-3 taking a photo

This post is now in French on the OLPC France blog – thanks, Lionel!

I’m happy to announce that today we finalized a partnership with Marvell to design a line of education-focused tablet computers. Some of these will be OLPC machines targeted for the developing world, such as the XO-3. The line will be based both on Marvell’s reference design for its Moby tablet and on OLPC’s XO-3 designs (particularly for the low-power end of the line).  (Hat-tip to Charbax for predicting this in March.)

Update: see also this video of Nicholas discussing our current tablet plans. (If you look closely, you can see that some of the highlights were from a talk in the new Media Lab building.)

The first tablets in the line will be based closely on the Moby, ”’not”’ the XO-3, and focused more on children in the developed world. They will be on display at CES 2011 in January, and available next year for under $100. The original XO-3 design is still planned for 2012.  More details after the jump.

Continue reading XO-3 update: OLPC and Marvell partner to design a line of tablets

XO-3 concept design is here!

Update: thanks for all of the feedback on the design!  There has been some discussion about materials, and a few interesting pieces have passed around the office, but no new eye-candy is forthcoming for a while — we’re busy getting the 1.5 out the door.

The XO-3: it’s designed to be thin, sleek, and touch, while continuing to lower power, cost, and material waste.  We’ve been anticipating the new designs for a while, and now they’ve arrived!  As announced in Tuesday’s  press release, after our upcoming releases of our 1.5 and 1.75 models next year, we are looking at the XO-3, a thin touchscreen tablet, for 2012.  Here are the latest images from the Fuse design team:

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