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OLPC Promises $75 XO-3 Tablet By Early 2011

Nicholas Negroponte says the One Laptop Per Child Project is tapping Marvell’s Moby platform for a proposed low-cost, low-power 9-inch tablet computer set to launch at CES 2011.

A working prototype of the XO-3 tablet, based on Santa Clara, Calif.-based Marvell’s Moby reference design, will be ready by December of this year -- two years ahead of the OLPC’s original projections, according to the foundation.

“While devices like e-readers and current tablets are terrific literary, media and entertainment platforms, they don’t meet the needs of an educational model based on making things, versus just consuming them,” Negroponte said in a statement Thursday.

“Today’s learning environments require robust platforms for computation, content creation and experimentation -- and all that at a very low cost.”

The XO-3 will consume a single watt of power while still supporting 1080p Full HD encoding and decoding, 3D graphics, Flash 10 and two-way teleconferencing, according to Marvell co-founder Weili Dai.

The prototype is likely to feature a 9-inch, dual-mode display that will include both an indoor-optimized mode similar to that of the Apple iPad and a direct sunlight mode that will resemble the non-backlit display of the Amazon Kindle e-reader. The XO-3 will be touch-enabled, but it was not clear whether it would feature a capacitive multi-touch display like the iPad.

The Moby platform is anchored by Marvell’s ARMADA 610 central processor and features power management tools, Marvell 11n Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM/GPS connectivity with 11n Mobile Hotspot technology, and a built-in video camera. The XO-3 will support Adobe Flash and the Google Android, Microsoft Windows Mobile and Ubuntu operating systems, according to Marvell.

The project’s proposed tablet is being designed “to enable educators, students and families around the world to create their own content, and learn to read, write, and create their own education programs and share all of these experiences via a mesh network model,” according to the OLPC.

To that end, the XO-3 will come loaded with an application able to access two million free books available on the Internet, the OLPC said in a statement.

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