OLPC plans solar charging, satellite Internet for XO-3

OLPC's rubber cover may include a solar panel and satellite receiver

One Laptop Per Child is developing new functionality and protection features for its upcoming XO-3 tablet with the hope to attract more interest in the device.

OLPC is designing rubber covers intended to protect the tablet but that could also integrate solar charging, satellite Internet or external keyboard capabilities, said Nicholas Negroponte, founder and chairman of One Laptop Per Child.

The tablet was originally announced in late 2009 with a projected price of under US$100. The XO-3 will become available early next year or perhaps sooner, and price is still being determined, but it will still be under $100, Negroponte said.

The tablet will also include a camera on top of the screen, placed inside the bezel surrounding the display. A microphone will be placed in the bezel under the screen, and USB 2.0 ports and a headphone jack will be on the sides.

Decisions are still being made about the display, which is holding up development of the device, Negroponte said. OLPC wants a transflective screen, much like the current XO, but with improved richness in e-ink and transmissive modes. OLPC plans to use spin-off Pixel Qi's hybrid screen, which can function in e-ink mode and like a normal LCD (liquid crystal display) to display full-motion video. The display can absorb ambient light to brighten screens and reduce power consumption.

The XO-3 tablet is being designed with hardware and software features that OLPC hopes will appeal to kids in primary schools in developing countries.

On software for the tablet, Negroponte said OLPC has lost interest in providing Microsoft's Windows 8 as an option. The organization is going forward with other operating systems including Google's Android and Chrome OS, which are based on Linux. Google has already released a version of Android for tablets, while Chrome OS is targeted at low-power laptops.

OLPC offered Windows and Linux operating systems in the first few XO laptop builds, which were based on x86 chips from Advanced Micro Devices and then Via Technologies. However subsequent XO laptops, starting with version 1.75, were based on ARM processors, which at the time did not support a full Windows OS.

In March 2009, OLPC pushed Microsoft to develop a version of the full Windows OS that could work on ARM chips, which are considered more power-efficient than x86 chips.

At the time, Microsoft said it wouldn't do it, but the software maker said earlier this year that Windows 8 will work with x86 and ARM architectures.

"Microsoft had to make that move. I told Craig Mundie he would have to do it in two years," Negroponte said. "He said 'absolutely no, never.' It was two years to the week."

OLPC has lost interest in Windows for XO-3 now, Negroponte said, adding that it "will have almost no meaning."

Microsoft declined to comment on its past work with OLPC and its future plans for XO products.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags tabletshardware systemsOne Laptop Per Child Project

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?