SEATTLE: The nonprofit organization that has tried to produce a $100 laptop for children in the world’s poorest places is throwing in the towel on that idea — and jumping on the tablet bandwagon.
One Laptop Per Child’s next computer will be based on chipmaker Marvell Technology Group Ltd’s Moby tablet design. Marvell announced a prototype of the device this year and said it costs about $99.
Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop Per Child, is optimistic his organization will be able to keep the price under $100 in part because Marvell plans to market its tablets widely to schools and health care institutions.
“We want to see the price drop, and volume is the key to that,” Negroponte said.
The quirky green and white XO laptop sold by One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) to governments and organizations in countries such as Afghanistan and Uruguay wasn’t destined for such a broad audience. OLPC had to repeatedly scale back expectations for how many of the laptops it could produce, and it didn’t get the price much below $200, twice the price specified by the device’s “$100 laptop” nickname.
In 2005, Negroponte envisioned having built 100 million laptops in about two years. Today, 2 million of the machines are in use.
The XO was also more expensive to produce than a tablet would be because of its many moving parts and features meant to withstand glaring sun, blowing sand and spotty access to electricity. In some cases, OLPC had to change the XO’s design by region. For example, the physical keyboard had to be customised for students in countries that don’t use a Latin alphabet. It would be less expensive to change the software behind touch-screen keyboards.
Marvell’s co-founder, Weili Dai, said the company has also found ways to cut costs in the way it’s designing the chips.
The new tablets will have at least one, and maybe two, video cameras. They’ll sport Wi-Fi connections to the Internet, “multi-touch” screens and have enough power to play high-definition and 3D video. Marvel hopes to make the screens 8.5 inches by 11 inches, the size of a standard sheet of paper. Unlike Apple Inc’s iPad tablet, the device will also work with plug-in peripherals such as mice.
source: The Times of India