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One Laptop Per Child Project Developing New Laptop Tablet Device

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), a non-profit organization that aims to provide every child in the world with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop, is currently developing a new version of its XO device.

The new XO-4 Touch device will be part laptop, part tablet, combining the XO device's existing laptop functionality with a full-fledged tablet mode.

"There is constant debate over laptops versus tablets in educational programs," said Rodrigo Arboleda, CEO of OLPC, in a prepared statement. "But the truth is both have their merits. While maintaining our XO's award-winning design from Yves Behar's FuseProject, we have combined features of both devices to deliver dual benefits. The new XO-4 Touch is more than just a device, it’s a new way of facilitating learning."

The XO-4 Touch will feature an energy-efficient, optical multi-touch-capable screen from Neonode, a developer of multisensing touch technologies, including fast scanning capabilities, low-latency pen and brush sensors, and the ability to detect pressure.

OLPC is also developing more strategic partnerships with educational content developers, such as Sesame Street Workshop, UNESCO, and Little Pim, which will provide content for the XO devices.

OLPC is expected to release the XO-4 Touch device in the first quarter of next year, although the launch date and price are unconfirmed.

OLPC's XO laptops use flash storage rather than a hard disk drive and feature thick plastic walls and a sunlight-usable display that is cushioned by internal bumpers. They also have two wireless 802.11 b/g antennas that can connect to both ad-hoc networks and wireless access points, and a dustproof, waterproof rubber keyboard. The devices run an open-source Linux-based operating system and graphical user interface called Sugar.

Further information about the One Laptop Per Child devices is available at one.laptop.org.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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