OLPC XO-3 tablet delayed

Originally slated for a CES debut, the tablet computer won't be finished until February 2011

The OLPC XO-3's new design features an all plastic tablet screen which is semi-flexible

The OLPC XO-3's new design features an all plastic tablet screen which is semi-flexible

Nicholas Negroponte, chairman of One Laptop Per Child said that the XO-3 tablet computer will debut sometime in February 2011, about 45 days later than originally planned.

Negroponte said that he wants the screen to be flexible so that it is more resistant to breaking, but that it doesn't need to roll up.

"The issue has been really finding an unbreakable material, which may not be plastic, it may be glass or some flavor of glass," he said during a video interview at MIT.

At first the XO-3 won't be branded OLPC, rather made by Marvell, with the actual XO-3 to follow.

The tablet will eventually cost $US75 and during a May 2010 interview, Negroponte said hitting that mark wouldn't be a problem.

Sitting in his sparse office in the MIT Media Lab, which he founded 25 years ago, Negroponte said that the job of the XO-3 is "pushing where normal market forces wouldn't otherwise."

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

Once the XO-3 tablet does debut, it will co-exist "for some time" along with the original laptop.

"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," Negroponte said.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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Nick Barber

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