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CES 2014: Powerful new tablets boost OLPC campaign

Over recent years, ITProPortal has kept a close eye on the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, which has been distributing low-cost PCs and tablets to impoverished children all over the world to provide them with modern educational tools.

Founded in 2005 by computer scientist Nicholas Negroponte, the project has hit peaks and troughs but is looking to reinvigorate its campaign here at CES with some brand new devices.

Dubbed ‘XO’, we checked out the redesigned wares and were impressed by the all new 10in tablet, complete with bright green protective casing and a host of other child-friendly features.

The slate holds its own in the specs department and will provide genuine worth to schools the world over. The device sports a quad-core processor, the new Android 4.4 KitKat OS, 3GB RAM, a 1024 x 600 display, a 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front snapper, as well as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS built-in for connectivity.

The 7in XO Tablet has also been updated to match the power of the new 10in device (below), and will cost $149.99 (£90) compared to its $199.99 (£120) bigger brother when the duo become available around Spring.

In addition to the tablets, a line of new learning accessories have been unveiled at CES, including the XO Digital Microscope and Telescope. Via companion apps that integrate into the XO Learning System, the XO Microscope and Telescope enable children to further explore the world around them—both up close and far away.

“The XO Tablet and XO Learning System that OLPC designed and developed has captivated a new generation of learners and earned praise from industry experts and parents for the way they encourage learning through exploration,” said Jeff Saka, president of OLPC partner Vivitar. “These new tablets and accessories will make the XO experience even more engaging for kids, expanding their options for exploring and interacting with the world around them.”

The aforementioned XO Learning system has provided a boost for the OLPC project, according to its executive vice president, Giulia D’Amico. “Just twelve months after we introduced this educational ecosystem that provides new ways of learning, it has now been adopted by 10 countries in North America, Europe, Latin American and Asia and is available in 5 languages.”

It is clear the XO offering has advanced greatly from the early stages of OLPC, moving with the technological times to maintain the project’s value and momentum. The organisation has now distributed 2.5 million of its specially designed XO laptops to children in 60 countries, and amid the consumer giants and corporate powerhouses here at CES, OLPC’s presence is heartening.

When tablets were first incorporated into OLPC, we took an in-depth look at how the touch-screen devices could transform the project.