OLPC to unveil handcrank tablet for developing nations

OLPC to unveil handcrank tablet for developing nationsSo with all these tablets around, how about one for the kiddies? Nope, we're not talking some Fisher Price or V-Tech concoction but something that should genuinely help those in poor climes.

OLPC are a maker you may not have heard of before - they're not massively well known to consumers as they're specialists who tend to sell to governments rather than on the high street. It stands for One Laptop Per Child. And they have something exciting in the form of their next XO Tablet - the XO 3.0 - which'll be shown off at CES 2012 in Las Vegas this week.

The cool thing here is the way the tablet is charged. It can rely on solar energy but also on a hand crank which means that the more physical energy the wee bambino puts in, the more he or she will get out. One minute of hand cranking, for example, will keep the XO 3.0 running about ten mins. Inside, there's Wi-Fi SOC, 512MB RAM and a Marvell Armada PXA618 SOC processor.

The actual unit is probably set to be about $100 (US) but it won't be available in stores as far as we know. With the whole point in OLPC being to bring technology to kids in developing countries, it's unlikely you'll even see one in Blighty. But this 8-inch baby should help some students get a decent education - and hopefully a better life.

Via Slashgear

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11 comments

Treab  Jan. 9, 2012 at 20:23

Lets hope they repeat the BOGOF offer they did with their laptops...

they sold one in the usa to cover the cost for a free one in the developing world...

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 9, 2012 at 20:29

the more physical energy the wee bambino

what, they are for little Italian boys? :p

Seriously, the history of OLPC is pretty dodgy if you ask me. Loadsa hype, investment sinkholes etc...

It is also worth questioning whether those kids REALLY profit in all the hyped ways: have a read here about a '90s publication called "Failure To Connect"
I'm not being a luddite here - I play AND work with Computers. But if you need to crank for battery juice, is Angry Birds your priority?

In Net Delusions Evgeny Morozov makes some other good points. Both are good and necessary reads in a world where we clap each other on the shoulders for being so computer literate and socially "connected' for wasting hours retweeting strangers' bitlies...

From planetd.org:

For one lets be realistic that the OLPC is not “revolutionalizing” education. Yes, OLPC will soon have 1 million XO laptops in circulation. But compare that with 121 million children not in school, 668 million children that started primary school in 2007, or the 774 million illiterate adults and the OLPC does not seem that revolutionary. No doubt, computers will be important in the future to deliver education, but a lot of schools still struggle with having a blackboard or even a building. So lets not overstate either the scale or the impact of the OLPC.

Second, it is a stretch to say, as Wayan does, that the XO spawned the netbook. What the XO did do was spawn the Classmate PC. But the next step is a bit of a stretch.

Even if the XO did spawn the netbook, the lesson from this is two-fold. First, that non-profit initiatives such as the OLPC are particularly well-suited to creating new innovations, particularly for under-served populations.

Conversely, and this is the second lesson, the dissemination of commercially viable innovations is best left to the private sector. The XO laptop still costs upward of the original USD 100 target price. Meanwhile, the Amazon Kindle costs USD 259, the cheapest netbook now costs USD 98, and in developed countries netbooks are available for free with Internet/data plans. So the second lesson is that if you want cheap computers, don’t let a single institution – particularly a non-profit – build it as a monopoly.


source

P.S. oops... apologies. But education is more than an app and "access" to loadsa truisms ;)

Rant over

matt101101 / MOD  Jan. 9, 2012 at 22:36

Amen to that, Jan.

They'd be better pumping their millions into building schools, hiring and training teachers and changing attitudes, such as letting girls have a fair chance at a decent education in some developing nations.

You don't need a laptop, and you certainly don't need a tablet to learn with. The industrial revolution, the car, the aeroplane, electricity; all things that were invented or happened without the use of a computer of any kind. Amazing things can be achieved without the need for technology, I know that seems like an odd thing to say on a technology website in 2012 but it's true and always will be.

OLPC are in it for the press, for the fame. If they really cared they wouldn't be wasting their time at CES launching new products, showing them off to the western world, they'd be using the money they're wasting over in Las Vegas to build new schools in Afghanistan or help to give homeless, starving children in Somalia the possibility of some kind of decent future.

Technology is a luxury, a pretty pointless one at that, when it comes to supporting life. These people in developing, often war torn nations, need more than a $100 dollar laptop to make their lives better. That $100 might not seem like a lot here in the UK but in some countries that can buy a hell of a lot more than two months of a phone contract payment that it'd fund here.

I vehemently disagree with technology charities, they gloss over the world's real problems with almost entirely pointless items of technology. Stop spending your money on laptops and start spending it on things that really help: food, water, a safe and warm home, a basic education and the introduction of racial and sexual equality. That's what the world needs, not another tablet.

Rant possibly over...unless I think of anything else to add.

Treab  Jan. 9, 2012 at 22:50

Ahh but i can in a way disagree... for several reasons...

1) Long distance learning especially in nations where woman can be attacked for learning (still happens in iraq by taliban militants)

2) have you heard of microfinancing? whereby small loans of say 50-100 dollars is given to a smallholding to buy supplies for their business who in turn sells onto the local market and boosts not only their finances but those around them? well the same principle can apply here... these small laptops/tablets can be utilised so small holdings can have access to a larger market gaining knowledge and an outreaching customer base.. (oh they go to CES as these get sold in the western world to finance free ones for poorer nations ... they sell well in the usa for childrens first laptops etc but the cost pays for 2..)

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 9, 2012 at 22:51

they'd be using the money they're wasting over in Las Vegas to build new schools in Afghanistan or help to give homeless, starving children in Somalia the possibility of some kind of decent future.

Yep.

It's like do-goodie multi-million selling "Rock Stars" doing costly charity "work" with 4-Star backstage catering, while someone like Immortal Technique who gives away free albums or sells them from the boot of his car...he GOES to Afghanistan himself and builds an orphanage from his meagre profits.

And matt, what an excellent point: we have tablets and computers and smartphones because of smart people who didn't have them. Meanwhile 60% or so of phone owners don't know what model/os phone they use...

and PS: I believe a place like mobot needs the scope to deal with the unpleasant aspects of it all.

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 9, 2012 at 23:02

Ahh but i can in a way disagree... for several reasons...

1) Long distance learning especially in nations where woman can be attacked for learning (still happens in iraq by taliban militants)

2) have you heard of microfinancing? whereby small loans of say 50-100 dollars is given to a smallholding to buy supplies for their business who in turn sells onto the local market and boosts not only their finances but those around them? well the same principle can apply here... these small laptops/tablets can be utilised so small holdings can have access to a larger market gaining knowledge and an outreaching customer base.. (oh they go to CES as these get sold in the western world to finance free ones for poorer nations ... they sell well in the usa for childrens first laptops etc but the cost pays for 2..)


Treab,
sorry, but your wwwrrrrrong. It is obvious that you mean well, I mean that, but the reality doesn't bear out the PR -omises.

A) the "feminist" article is a variety of Dubya's "lets invade Afghanistan so that the ladies there can show as much skin as they want"...

B ) The micro-finance thing is just another band aid involving the same players at the root that f*cked up the world's economy.

Giving them laptops is just a way to ensure they make good little bees once the "West" comes and takes over.

It is proven that Microsoft in the '90s did unbelievable HARM to the irish education system. Giving free MS PCs to schools? Oh, wow... not caring about training, maintenance, repairs, storage etc etc meant huge amounts of money had to be diverted from EDUCATION to mainenance.

Now, those lucky students who were allowed to touch the gatesey toys enter University, many (as proven by EU studies) functionally illiterate!!! And the irish school system is in the dumps!

And funny you bring up IRAQ: OLPC "lost" 18 MILLION in Iraq to corruption ;)
NOTHING IS FREE! Charity should start at home. And if we stop meddling internationally, that is where it can stay!

Treab  Jan. 9, 2012 at 23:11

Charity should start at home

Sorry but no. that one line is the reason why your argument is mute...

this isn't charity... charity is free... the whole point of microtransactional model isnt free its end game = profit. and it does work. it has worked. and will continue to work... what you seem to be considering is the loans the world bank gave to their governments which has a history of mistakes... mostly due to fraud and corruption.. whereas the microtransactions given to the people to finance their own enterprise has given people a future the west couldn't hope to give any other way...

matt101101 / MOD  Jan. 9, 2012 at 23:13

Treab,

OLPC "lost" 18 MILLION in Iraq to corruption

OLPC, doesn't work. Period.

Treab  Jan. 9, 2012 at 23:17

Maybe not. but. the concept might. that is the point... look at india their government has brought in thousands of laptops to help boost their ability to lead the world forward... dont underestimate the concept just the ability of certain idiots to lead it...

look at lord coe and his lot... they won the olympics on the idea of sport for all... and... all they managed is... to... take billions away from youth sport... bunch of pillocks...

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 10, 2012 at 00:06

Maybe not. but. the concept might. that is the point... look at india their government has brought in thousands of laptops to help boost their ability to lead the world forward... dont underestimate the concept just the ability of certain idiots to lead it...

look at lord coe and his lot... they won the olympics on the idea of sport for all... and... all they managed is... to... take billions away from youth sport... bunch of pillocks...


Point \,

Interestingly, many Indian school districts switched to open source freeware. Now that in itself is 'educational'.
I'd argue that someone who learns on Linux will be able to handle Win and Mac machines without many probs. But if you're raised by nanny Gates, you are hooked on one product.

Treab  Jan. 10, 2012 at 00:20

Agreed. Educating people on say linux is a good idea it opens more towards software development... programming skills over say 'word' skills (which is what my it lessons were like at high school.. for 4 bleeding years before i dropped out of ICT) lol

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