When I reported some weeks back that OLPC had a new device to announce at CES 2013, the XO Tablet wasn’t quite what I expected.
You’ve probably read about this tablet already, but if you saw the same sources I did then I’d bet there are still unanswered questions. For example, it wasn’t clear until I actually saw the XO Tablet that the hardware was simply a rebranded Vivitar tablet. What’s more, the demo tablet brought by the OLPC rep was a Nexus 7, not one of the Vivitar tablets tethered to the table. That was something of a surprise but not actually a bad thing; it means porting the XO Learning apps to other tablets should not be difficult.
I had initially thought that One Laptop per Child was licensing the XO brand and lending their cachet to a new education tablet, but that’s not quite the case. In using the XO Learning tablet I felt like there were signs that this tablet had a connection to past OLPC work even though I was told elsewhere that OLPC didn’t develop any of the software themselves. The XO Learning software was clearly not finished, so it was difficult to make any judgements about the features or educational possibilities.
This 7″ tablet will be running Android 4.1 with the new XO Learning skin on top. My list of specs are still incomplete, but right now I know this tablet will have a dual-core 1.6GHz Marvell CPU, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a microSD card slot, 2MP and 1.3MP cameras, and Wifi.
I was also told that this tablet would ship with Google Play in addition to the curated content and app sources available via XO Learning. It is due to hit Walmart store shelves sometime this Summer.
All in all this tablet looks like it could be a solid entry into the educational tablet market.