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Marvell and One Laptop per Child unveil the XO 3.0 Tablet

January 09, 2012 // Sylvie Barak

Marvell Semiconductor and non-profit organization One Laptop per Child (OLPC) have finally unveiled the XO 3.0 tablet after years of speculation, saying it will show off the device at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The low-cost, low-power, rugged tablet, designed by Yves Behar joins OLPC’s previous models, which have already seen distribution to over 2.4 million children in 42 countries.

Edward McNierney, Chief Technology Officer of the organization, called the XO 3.0 “a natural successor,” to OLPC’s XO lineup and lauded the new tablet for its design, durability and performance. The tablet will be on display at the Marvell CES booth next week.

Built on Marvell’s Armada PXA618 SOC processor and Avastar Wi-Fi SOC, with 512MB of RAM, the 8-inch XO 3.0 tablet is purported to be very thin and boasts some rather unique charging circuitry, being the only tablet able to draw charge directly from solar panels, hand cranks and other alternative power sources.

OLPC has said the two-watt system is even capable of 10 minutes of runtime from just one minute of hand cranking.

The tablet can be configured to sport either a standard LCD or Pixel Qi sunlight-readable display at 1024 x 768-resolution and can run either the Android or OLPC’s Sugar Linux operating system, built specifically for children.

Depending on the selected specs, the expected average price of the tablet is expected to come in at around $100, making it affordable for developing countries interested in investing in their education system.

McNierney said the tablet PC drew on the “technology breakthroughs” made with OLPC’s XO 1.75 laptop computer, which also runs on the Armada PXA618 processor. It, too, features a sunlight-readable screen, and will begin shipping to customers in March 2012, with more than 75,000 units already ordered by OLPC projects in Uruguay and Nicaragua.

The organization only sells its tablets in bulk to governments, and its devices are not sold individually to consumers.

Tom Hayes, vice president of corporate marketing at Marvell said the partnership with OLPC was one way the firm could “deliver a revolution where it matters most—to benefit children in some of the poorest places on the planet.”

Marvell has, indeed, been involved with OLPC from the beginning, and said it would continue to do “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.

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