The latest version of the affordable XO tablet, designed by Yves Behar for the One Laptop Per Child Association, goes on sale this week (+ movie).
The seven-inch touchscreen Android tablet will be available for $150 at Walmart stores across the USA this week, marking a move away from the product's initial focus on the developing world.
The new version features a rubber exterior and a carrying hook, while the bilingual English/Spanish software comes with a suite of pre-loaded apps, games and books.
The XO tablet is the fourth iteration of the One Laptop Per Child concept, all of which have been designed by One Laptop Per Child's chief designer, Yves Behar of San Francisco design studio fuseproject.
The first, nicknamed the "$100 laptop", was a clamshell design with a keyboard that could be charged by hand-crank and was intended for children in remote villages without power.
Its successor, the XOXO laptop, was unveiled in 2008 and featured two hinged touch-screens.
The third version, called the XO-3, was launched last year. This was a tablet with a removable rubber cover that could also house solar panels to recharge the battery.
"The new tablet is an evolution of all the things we have learned with the original XO Laptop," says Yves Behar. "The new user interface is colourful and easy to use, while the protective rubber exterior features a carrying loop similar to the original XO finger hooks."
Here's some text from One Laptop Per Child:
FUSEPROJECT AND ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD ANNOUNCE NEW XO TABLET DESIGNED TO SPARK THE CHILD’S IMAGINATION
The fuseproject-designed XO Tablet arrives in Walmart stores across the country this week. Developed in collaboration with the One Laptop Per Child Association, the tablet harnesses the power of a touchscreen device to create new ways for children to learn. The powerful Android tablet has a new user interface and protective cover that delivers the continuity of the design language of the original One Laptop Per Child with a new learning experience.
Centered around the idea of aspirational "dreams", the main screen is organized by topics rather than applications. A clear hierarchy of information makes tiers of learning within each dream easy to follow and access, a key element of the new child-centric XO Learning System Interface. A simple sentence "I want to be an…" is the opener to a myriad of software, games, and applications grouped around each of the subjects of interest.
"The new tablet is an evolution of all the things we have learned with the original XO Laptop," says Yves Behar, fuseproject founder and Chief Designer of OLPC since 2006. “The new user interface is colorful and easy to use, while the protective rubber exterior features a carrying loop similar to the original XO finger hooks. What is unique about this version is how we crafted the user interface and the industrial design simultaneously. We wanted to make sure that together they would deliver a cohesive experience while stimulating discovery and offering a few surprises."
The seven-inch tablet, made by Vivitar, is running Android OS, and is the only multilingual (English/Spanish) and Google-certified tablet for kids on the market. It includes content curated and selected for age-appropriateness by OLPC in collaboration with Common Sense Media, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to helping parents and teachers make informed decisions about media.
The pre-loaded software includes 100 free pre-loaded apps, games, and books. Special parental controls such as the XO Journal tool, allow parents to track how much time children spend on each app and can provide insight into where children’s interests lie.
The One Laptop Per Child Association has distributed 2.5 million of the original XO Laptop in 60 countries, and is now launching the new $150 tablet in the US starting at Walmart, as well as in developing countries such as Uruguay, Cambodia, and Barbados.
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