Last December, One Laptop per Child's XO-3 tablet was an impossible dream: semi-flexible plastic, multitouch, sci-fi thinness, all for $75. And while a partnership with Marvell helps breathe life into XO-3, it won't resemble winter's fantasy device.
That's not a bad thing! Even at that first announcement, OLPC chief Nicholas Negroponte indicated that it may never happen as originally conceived. And by working off of Marvell's Moby reference design, they've put themselves two years ahead of schedule designing an affordable tablet for underprivileged parts of the world. So what if Moby looks less like something out of Star Trek and more like this:
If you've seen Enchanted, you know there are sacrifices that come with making fantasies reality. Or, uh, that's what I've heard.
And the Moby platform is no slouch, either: HDMI out, USB, integrated camera, 1080p full HD encode/decode, support for Flash, Android, WinMo, and Linux. The downsides: no all-plastic components. Not waterproof. And a 1GHz processor that doesn't quite live up to the 8GHz promised six months ago
But the revamped XO-3 will address OLPC's prime concern: power. By the time OLPC reaches a finished product, they expect a tablet that uses about 1 watt. That means devices that can be powered by the body—with, say, a hand crank—which is crucial for the out of reach areas that need it most.
As for that magical $75 price point? That could stay as well! The Moby reference has a suggested $99 price tag, but OLPC indicated that $75 was still "an upper limit" for cost.
One Laptop per Child and Marvell Join Forces to Redefine Tablet Computing for Students Around the World
Marvell and OLPC Empower Education Industry to Revolutionize the Classroom Experience through Advanced, Affordably-Priced Tablets
Cambridge, Mass. and Santa Clara, Calif., May 27, 2010 – One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a global organization whose mission is to help provide every child in the world access to a modern education, and Marvell, a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, have agreed to jointly develop a family of next-generation OLPC XO tablet computers based on the Marvell® Moby reference design. This new partnership will provide designs and technologies to enable a range of new educational tablets, delivered by OLPC and other education industry leaders, aimed at schools in both the U.S. and developing markets. Marvell is also announcing today it has launched Mobylize, a campaign aimed at improving technology adoption in America's classrooms.
The new family of XO tablets will incorporate elements and new capabilities based on feedback from the nearly 2 million children and families around the world who use the current XO laptop. The XO tablet, for example, will require approximately one watt of power to operate (compared to about 5 watts necessary for the current XO laptop). The XO tablet will also feature a multi-lingual soft keyboard with touch feedback, enabling it to serve millions more children who speak virtually any language anywhere in the world.
The device is also decidedly "constructionist" in nature. By design, it combines hardware and software to deliver a platform that will enable educators, students and families around the world to create their own content, and learn to read, write, and create their own education programs and share all of these experiences via a mesh network model. The device will also feature an application to directly access more than 2 million free books available across the Internet.
"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."
"Marvell has made a long-term commitment to improving education and inspiring a revolution in the application of technology in the classroom. The Moby tablet platform – and our partnership with OLPC – represents our joint passion and commitment to give students the power to learn, create, connect and collaborate in entirely new ways," said Weili Dai, Marvell's Co-founder and Vice President and General Manager of the Consumer and Computing Business Unit. "Marvell's cutting edge technology – including live content, high quality video (1080p full-HD encode and decode), high performance 3D graphics, Flash 10 Internet and two-way teleconferencing – will fundamentally improve the way students learn by giving them more efficient, relevant - even fun tools to use. Education is the most pressing social and economic issue facing America. I believe the Marvell Moby tablet can ignite a life-long passion for learning in all students everywhere. I am immensely proud of the capability of our Moby tablet and I am extremely honored to partner with the inventor of the netbook market for education, Dr. Nicholas Negroponte. I applaud his leadership, vision, passion and together we will make the world a better place."
About the One Laptop per Child Foundation
The One Laptop per Child Foundation (OLPC at http://www.laptop.org) is a nonprofit organization created by Nicholas Negroponte and others from the MIT Media Lab to design, manufacture and distribute laptop computers that are inexpensive enough to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education.
About Marvell Moby Tablet Platform and Mobylize.org
Powered by a high-performance, highly scalable, and low-power Marvell ARMADA™ 610 application processor, the Moby tablet features gigahertz processor speed, 1080p full-HD encode and decode, intelligent power management, power-efficient Marvell 11n Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM/GPS connectivity, high performance 3D graphics and support for multiple software standards including full Adobe Flash, Android™, Windows Mobile and Ubuntu. The Moby platform also features a built–in camera for live video conferencing, multiple simultaneous viewing screens and Marvell's 11n Mobile Hotspot which allows Wi-Fi access that supports up to eight concurrent users connected to the Internet via a cellular broadband connection. The ultra low power mobile tablet is expressly for long-battery life. For more information, visit www.mobylize.org.
Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL) is a world leader in the development of storage, communications, and consumer silicon solutions. Marvell's diverse product portfolio includes switching, transceiver, communications controller, wireless, and storage solutions that power the entire communications infrastructure including enterprise, metro, home, and storage networking. As used in this release, the term "Marvell" refers to Marvell Technology Group Ltd. and its subsidiaries. For more information, visit http://www.marvell.com.