Latest OLPC Design Resembles Potential Mac Tablet


The tablet follow-up to the $100 laptop appears to follow a similar design to that mooted for Apple’s rumoured touch-screen device

The $100 laptop project credited with starting the netbook could have an equally trail-blazing follow-up: a future design is strikingly similar to designs mooted for Apple’s rumoured tablet device.

According to reports on the BBC this week, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) is working on a follow-up to its XO laptop which has been adopted by more than 1.4m children in 35 countries. The latest device, known as the X0-3, will be available in 2012 and will cost less than $100, the organisation claims. The BBC reports Walter de Brouwer, CEO of OLPC Europe, as saying the new tablet-style device could be priced between 50 and 70 euros.


The eventual launch of the tablet X0-3 will be preceded by an intermediate stage known as the X0 1.75 which will resemble a traditional netbook but will incorporate some touch-screen tablet technology. The X0-3 will feature a touchscreen, a camera, induction charger, and a carrying ring on one of its corners and will be based on a chip form UK firm ARM.

But while OLPC is happy to release designs for the X0-3, the organisation believes its focus should be on pushing the educational aspects of technology and leave it to the IT industry to develop specific hardware. “We are not a laptop company,” Brouwer told the BBC. “Manufacturing a laptop is not such a big deal. The bigger appeal for us is deploying them and integrating them with education systems to transform a society.”

Tablet style PCs have been in existence for several years, but have failed to gain much traction with computer users outside of specific niches so far. But Apple is believed to be about to breath more life into the market with expected launch of a tablet-like Mac device next year. The company has so far refused to comment on the rumours but some patent filings have emerged which appear to prove the device is in the works.


Earlier this month, Oppenheimer & Co. financial analyst Yair Reiner released a research note claiming the Apple device will include a 10.1-inch touch screen.”It appears Apple will begin ramping production in earnest in February, implying that the tablet could launch in late March or April (barring production hiccups),” Reiner said in the report. “Our checks also suggest that the tablet’s display will be a 10.1-inch LTPS based LCD screen, not an OLED display as some have suggested.”

In June, a former OLPC executive announced the availability of the organisation’s education-specific operating system on a memory stick to be used on any system. Not backed by OLPC itself, the so-called Sugar Learning Platform is the brain-child of Walter Bender – the former number two at the OLPC organisation, who left in April 2008 to set up his own not-for-profit group Sugar Labs.

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