The OLPC's real importance is as a conversation starter

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is looking to launch a prototype of its XO-3 later this year. The real advantage of having the OLPC around is as a product conversation starter and design influence.

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is looking to launch a prototype of its XO-3 later this year. The real advantage of having the OLPC around is as a product conversation starter and design influence.

IDG News Service reports that the OLPC is speeding up the development of the XO-3 tablet, which wasn't supposed to land until 2012. The idea is that this tablet would cost $75. OLPC also provided details on its blog.

OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte said his group will show off the XO-3 at CES 2011. The biggest hang-up will be getting the plastic together so the device can take the abuse from the emerging markets. Negroponte's goal is to have a 100 percent plastic device---screen included. The OLPC may have a fully plastic device at CES 2012.

The big picture here is that OLPC's role is something akin to a conversation starter. The first XO was a precursor to the netbook and got vendors with more distribution heft---think Intel---more involved in the educational effort.

See OLPC topic page

Now OLPC is pushing an all-plastic device that'll run you $75 and can take lots of abuse. Do we really think OLPC will be first to market with this kind of tablet? I don't. But it really doesn't matter. The OLPC's real value is pushing the device envelope and pointing out what matters to the next-gen computing user.

Here's the full video of the Negroponte interview.

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