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XO 3.0 Tablet After his low-cost durable laptop for children in developing countries, Yves Béhar has come up with a cheaper tablet that’s even harder to break words: Fatema Ahmed
In 2008 Yves Béhar’s One Laptop per Child (OLPC), developed in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, was the first overall winner of the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year Award. However there are critics of the low-cost laptop, initially intended to be sold for $100. Bloomberg Businessweek went so far as to call it “a flat-out failure”, for being designed from the top-down instead of in collaboration with its intended users. But earlier this year, the Swiss-born head of Fuseproject, together with the Marvell microchip
Above The screen can be read in direct sunlight
Below The green, rubberised cover acts as a shock absorber company, has unveiled the XO 3.0, a low-cost tablet computer, intended to ship for $75. “In some ways the tablet is even better and easier to use for younger users. But in general, we’re talking to the same people,” Béhar says.
The tablet more neatly fulfils many of the aims the original laptop version set for itself. Béhar says he was thinking of the concept for a tablet just before the launch of the iPad. “It’s possible with needs or services or hardware to tie them a little more easily to the tablet than it is to a laptop.”
The XO 3.O can be powered in two ways: by hand crank or by a solar panel. It has the same processing power as the latest model of laptop, the XO 1.5, but uses only half the power and, like the laptop, the screen can be read in sunlight. The tablet runs two operating systems (Linux and Android as opposed to only Linux before) and has a camera above the screen. The removable cover, a feature new to the tablet, can be flipped to the back, and it also protects the connectors, power switch and speakers which are arranged on the bottom edge facing the user. Béhar says: “The cover gives us an accessorising and more importantly a localisation opportunity when it comes to putting the right hardware and right functionality in the hands of very different cultures and geographies.” A satellite antenna can be placed inside the cover, in place of the solar panel, if needed.
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