OLPC shows off $100 XO 3.0 tablet prototype

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The One Laptop Per Child Foundation (OLPC) is showing its XO-3 tablet prototype at CES this year in partnership with Marvell, who provide the brains of the 8-inch tablet with their Armada PXA618 SoC.

While not as impossibly slim as the XO-3 concept that we were shown a couple of years ago, the actual XO-3 appears to be very sturdy sporting a glass 1024×768 screen, half-gig of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a special power circuitry that can be charged using an optional cover's solar panel or using a hand crank that supposedly can provide 60 minutes of operation for every six minutes of cranking -- pretty impressive. Connectivity ports include USB, mini USB, and audio in/out.

The XO 3.0 runs the Linux-based Sugar OS and potentially Google's Android OS. Those that have played with the prototype so far seem to agree that the hardware feels solid but the software (Sugar UI) is sluggish and still needs some work. The XO-3 is not expected to enter production until the end of the year, so there's still plenty of time to either optimize Sugar or make Android a completely viable alternative.

The tablet is expected to land at the $100 price point with a standard LCD screen, which is no small feat. A Pixel Qi panel that is readable under sunlight, the solar panel cover and other extras would add up to the XO 3.0's $100 base price.

It's hard to measure the success of the OLPC initiative so far, considering its initial momentum and potential, the foundation has stormed the recession and has been able to distribute nearly 2 million XO laptops in several countries.

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