OLPC and Marvell team up to make $100 tablet for children

Charity organisation One Laptop per Child (OLPC) has today teamed up with semiconductor company Marvell to develop a group of OLPC XO tablet PCs based on Marvell’s Moby affordable tablet design.

OLPC has already produced rugged laptops for nearly two million children and families, based on the principles of providing low-cost, low-power technology to educate the poor and disadvantaged. The new XO tablets will carry on this mission by further reducing the required operating power from five watts on the current XO laptops to only one watt.

The tablets will also come with multilingual soft keyboards, giving more children of different nationalities a chance to use one of the devices.

Since the goal of OLPC is to educate children around the world the XO tablets will come with a plethora of educational software, such as an application that allows direct access to over two million free e-books on the internet. Parents and teachers can also use the tablets to create their own educational content to suit the needs of the children they are working with.

“While devices like eReaders and current tablets are terrific literary, media and entertainment platforms, they don’t meet the needs of an educational model based on making things, versus just consuming them. Today’s learning environments require robust platforms for computation, content creation and experimentation – and all that at a very low cost,” said Dr. Nicholas Negroponte, Founder and Chairman of One Laptop per Child. “Through our partnership with Marvell, OLPC will continue our focus on designing computers that enable children in the developing world to learn through collaboration, as well as providing connectivity to the world’s body of knowledge.”

Since the XO tablet will be based on Marvell’s Moby design, we would expect it to have a 10-inch screen, have full Flash support and 1080 pixel HD playback, along with WiFi, Bluetooth, and a myriad of other features. And all of this for under $100, compared to the XO laptop which costs $200, making technology even more accessible to the poor.

Tablet PCs are becoming increasingly popular since the iPad’s launch, with several recent surveys predicting enormous growth as more companies enter the market. This latest deal between OLPC and Marvell ensures that disadvantaged children are not left out of the loop.