OLPC Delays Roll-Out of XO-3 Tablet for Children

OLPC Postpones Launch of XO-3 by 1.5 Months

by Anton Shilov
11/04/2010 | 07:07 PM

The non-profit One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organization will delay the release of its XO-3 slate-type computer for children by about 1.5 months from the initial schedule. Moreover, the initial XO-3 will be branded under Marvell trade-mark and is unlikely to be aimed at poor countries. The actual OLPC XO-3 is projected to become available later.


Apparently, the reason behind the setback was OLPC's demand for a rugged touch-screen that could be enough responsive and could not be broken easily.

"The issue has been really finding an unbreakable material, which may not be plastic, it may be glass or some flavor of glass," said Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of One Laptop Per Child, in an interview with IDG News-Service.

The appropriate materials have been found, it appears, but the device will only show up in February, 2011, approximately 45 days later than originally planned. Moreover, the initial batches of the XO-3 tablet will be distributed under Marvell brand-name, as the company helped to develop the product. Given that Marvell is a company in search for profits, it is unlikely that it would sell the slates to developing nations at the price of manufacturing.

In fact, originally, the XO-3 slate was scheduled to arrive in 2012 and was promised to be flexible. But around middle-2010 the organization changed its mind and decided to release non-flexible XO-3 tablet in late-2010 or very early-2011. Mr. Negroponte promised that eventually the cost of OLPC's slate would drop to $75, but given the fact that the organization is allowing Marvell to sell the product initially, it may be assumed that the price-targets were not exactly met.

But the head of OLPC claims that the XO-3 is a pretty unique product that would never be developed by a commercial company.

"We are going to push down on price, we are going to push on non-breakable, we are going to push particularly on power because we want to hand crank these things. Our characteristics are ones that the market would not do normally, but that we will bring sooner or prove that can be done," said Mr. Negroponte.

OLPC plans to continue making x86-based XO-series computers in clamshell form-factor after the XO-3 tablet debuts.

"It is unclear to us now both in the labs and imagining the future if the haptic version of the tablet keyboard is going to be sufficient to allow you to use it as a general purpose computer," the head of OLPC said.