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OLPC To Sell 7-Inch XO Tablet In Wal-Mart 99

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-consider-a-rename dept.
angry tapir writes "One Laptop Per Child is back in the tablet race, announcing a new 7-inch tablet with the Android OS that will be sold commercially and include its learning software. The XO Tablet was announced at the International CES show in Las Vegas. OLPC will license the design to Sakar International, which will sell the tablet in the U.S. through Wal-Mart."
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OLPC To Sell 7-Inch XO Tablet In Wal-Mart

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  • That's what I'd prefer to see for the third world.
    • by Lumpio- (986581) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:13PM (#42527607)
      One antimalarial course per child isn't going to help them get what it takes to stop being third world. That is, information. Teach a man to fish etc
      • by hjf (703092)

        How do you go to school when you have malaria?

        That is, use your brain, think before you speak, etc.

        • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @08:25AM (#42530543)

          I've been to Ethiopia. They go to school with Malaria. Like most diseases we see the horror stories. Most people with the disease are walking around with it and while they may have some debilitating symptoms, they aren't life threatening. It's when the person gets a second illness and becomes weak that Malaria gets deadly. I'm not sure of the total political situation there but I believe they are socialist. Their clinics are all free. The children walk in and they get treated for free. The medicine they use however is not totally effective. We took a girl there and they said that the treatment they had (and I have no idea what it was) kept the disease at bay, but it would eventually come back. According to the dr, so may people have the disease that it did little good to cure someone of it, because they'd just catch it again within a year. So instead, they buy this cheaper medication. The girl was getting adopted by an American family and according to the Dr the family could get a cure when they got back to America which they did.

          • by jonadab (583620)
            > We took a girl there and they said that
            > the treatment they had (and I have no
            > idea what it was) kept the disease at
            > bay, but it would eventually come back.

            Yeah, Malaria does that. This is why, if you as a first-world expatriate travel to a country with a malaria problem, they tell you to keep taking the quinine pills the whole time you're there, even though they can cause nausea. You don't want to catch malaria, because there's no known permanent cure.
            • They do not prescribe Quinine anymore. Now they prescribe Malarone, which also treats/prevents other diseases without the side effects. I took it the whole time I was there, but I didn't see a single mosquito. Not sure if that was because it was December (yet still 80 degrees) or what.

      • Most of the people in 3rd world countries are being oppressed by their governments. Tyrannical dictators actively preying on their subjects, and the inability to have proper ownership, enforceable contracts, and markets. These people know how to get food and water off their land well enough, if they are allowed to. Helping them out with rampant diseases like malaria is going to do a whole lot more tangible good for them than trying to give them more "information" while their countries are still in shambl

        • When I hear OLPC this what comes into my mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGrygrZYcc0 [youtube.com]
        • Most of the people in 3rd world countries are being oppressed by their governments

          It is a lot harder to oppress people that are educated and informed.

          Public health is a big part of the solution. Education is another big part of the solution. We don't have to "choose one". We can do both, and they will reinforce each other: it is easier to teach healthy, nourished children, and educated people will make better decisions about their health.

          • It is a lot harder to oppress people that are educated and informed.

            Not when you control the education and the information.

      • by Omestes (471991) <omestes AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:33AM (#42528857) Homepage Journal

        Teach a man to fish etc

        Start a fire for a man, he'll be warm for the night.
        Start a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

      • by LodCrappo (705968)

        teach a man to fish and he'll just ask you how to do something else

      • by drsquare (530038)

        Without health you don't have anything, it's the sine qua non of development. You first world people take it for granted because you're not stunted through being diseased as a child.

      • Teach a man to fish etc

        "Teach a man to teach others to fish, and you feed the world." -- Charles W. Evans

      • by jonadab (583620)
        One antimalarial course per child won't even stop them from dying from malaria. It'll delay it for a while, but malaria will still be around when the antimalarials wear off.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'd prefer to see wells dug and olive trees planted. It has been known at least since Pliny that olive leaf is a cure for malaria.

    • One malaria course per child would do nothing since they can easily get re-infected.
      One bednet per child is a much better alternative.

  • Walmart is a third-world country now?
    • by MrEricSir (398214) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:32PM (#42527341) Homepage

      Walmart is a third-world country now?

      Walmart is enormous, its workers are paid poorly, and occasionally there's safety issues with their products.

      So yes, Walmart has always been a third-world country.

      • by Lisias (447563)

        Wallmart is bigger than (I'm guessing) half the third-world countries.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by hairyfeet (841228)

        Walmart to me is the canary in the coal mine and a perfect example of what I have been arguing for years, which is that without government funded "make work" jobs capitalism would be just as dead as communism or any other ism of the past.

        For those that don't know one of the first "training videos" you are shown when hired by Walmart is how to get on government assistance, because you simply can't survive on Walmart wages. Why that is just the evil dirty corp screwing the workers...right? Well it IS true the

        • ...Well it IS true they are screwing the workers but in reality most jobs could be done by machines now so I would argue that the vast majority of the service industry jobs aren't even needed anymore.

          I think most senior management could also be done by machines. About the only things that can't be done by machines is the playing of golf (machines won't get membership at the club) and consumption of illicit substances (except as fuel).

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          For those that don't know one of the first "training videos" you are shown when hired by Walmart is how to get on government assistance, because you simply can't survive on Walmart wages. Why that is just the evil dirty corp screwing the workers...right?

          Nope, it's the evil dirty corp and their bought and paid for congress screwing the American taxpayer. When an employed person is on food stamps, it's the employer who benefits. We're probably the only country in the world who gives far more welfare payments

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            But would you support them raising the minimum wage to a living wage if the corps said we are just gonna replace the workers with machines then so you get a handful making a living wage and tens of thousands out of a job?

            The one who compared it to the seamstress smashing the sewing machine is just completely mistaken, after all you couldn't just hand the cloth to the sewing machine and have a finished product come out the other side. For the first time in our entire history you have the ability of a product

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              But would you support them raising the minimum wage to a living wage if the corps said we are just gonna replace the workers with machines then so you get a handful making a living wage and tens of thousands out of a job?

              It doesn't matter, if a company can replace you with a machine, it will. You don't think they hire people out of the goodness of their hearts, do you? They're going to get the job done as cheaply as possible, meaning they're going to pay as little as they can get away with and replace as ma

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                The difference we have here is the price, you seem to think that the corps would pay, I believe that the ONLY reason you have minimum wage jobs at all is because that makes people cheaper than the machine so they hire people. Lets take fast food as an example...what job is there in Mickey D's that couldn't be done BETTER by a fully automated assembly line? After all its less than a dozen ingredients all told being used and probably a good 85% of their sales are the preset combos, so why would they need ANY

                • by mcgrew (92797) *

                  It would have to either be an incredibly expensive machine to buy, or prone to frequent breakdowns, to be more expensive than minimum wage. Note that the robots in the auto factories are doing the jobs formerly done by well paid humans. Once you buy and program the thing, the only cost is electricity and ocassional maintenance.

                  I've often wondered why Fast Food isn't cooked by machine, although it's easy to see why there are cashiers -- because that's what people expect and they'd probably switch fast food r

                  • by hairyfeet (841228)

                    Ahhh I see the flaw in your logic, you are only looking at the cost of the machine itself, I too used to think that way before I started going to legislature hearings and the like and found out there is a "hidden benefit" that you don't see, and that's all the tax breaks and kickbacks given to the corps by the politicians who in turn get to brag they "brought jobs to our (insert district, city, state, etc)" which tilts the balance ATM in favor of the human.

                    Watch this video [youtube.com] and be sure to take a good look at

                • The difference we have here is the price, you seem to think that the corps would pay,

                  By the end of the 19th century US corporations were paying the highest wages in the world, yet American made goods were the cheapest in the world, even when you factored in the cost of shipping them overseas.

                  I believe that the ONLY reason you have minimum wage jobs at all is because that makes people cheaper than the machine so they hire people.

                  The reason you have minimum wage jobs is because the people in question have a marginal productivity that is only worth $8 an hour.

                  Lets take fast food as an example...what job is there in Mickey D's that couldn't be done BETTER by a fully automated assembly line? After all its less than a dozen ingredients all told being used and probably a good 85% of their sales are the preset combos, so why would they need ANY humans in Mickey D, or Wendy's or any of those pre-fab fast food joints?

                  It can't be, at least with current or near future tech, which is why it isn't. Those automated food assembly lines you see on Discovery Channel? Those are high speed/hig

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Taco Cowboy (5327)

      Walmart has many stores in China, and Walmart is going to set up shop in India very soon.

      Last time I check, both China and India are regarded as "3rd world".

      BTW, that "Sakar International" doesn't sound legit. Even their site is really lousily built.

      • by Artifakt (700173) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @12:25AM (#42528139)

        The First, Second, Third World metaphor goes back to the Cold War. As it was originally applied, The US and Western Europe were First world, and the major Communist countries Second. Third world was originally for low powered nations, but ones the west and the reds were going to struggle over, not ones aready strongly in one camp or the other.
        Here's a link - it's just a wiki so I urge people to check the primary sources, but I'm old enough to remember how the term shifted meaning pretty much as described. I heard it in military briefings often enough the wiki discription of the shift accords with my own impressions.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_World [wikipedia.org]

        China may have been regarded for a time as 3rd world as the shift took place, but as it stands, it doesn't fit the modern spin, as it's too economically pwerful, and it didn't fit when the term started either, as it was originally one of the twin hubs of the Second world when the terms were coined.

        • by jonadab (583620)
          > China may have been regarded for a time as 3rd world

          If it's possible for a country to be both second world *and* third world, that's what China was, in the mid twentieth century.

          > it doesn't fit the modern spin, as it's too economically powerful

          China is in the process of transforming itself economically into a bastion of capitalist success. They're doing it much more gradually than e.g. South Korea did, but they ARE doing it.
      • by Omestes (471991)

        Both India and China are considered developing countries, and members of the BRIC nations (the "I" and the "C", respectively). This means that they are rapidly growing and developing, and are pretty much expected to be joining us "first worlders" in the next decade or two, in both economy and standard of living.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Doesn't matter anyways, OLPC never gained any real traction and now with the ubiquity of cheap, sub-$100 Android tablets in the market, this thing is going to die a swift death.

      OLPC was a nice idea at one point, but they really should have commercialized it sooner to help subsidize the costs of the units they were shipping to impoverished areas. You've failed, Nicholas Negroponte. Give it up already.

  • I'm guessing about $200.

  • Only at Walmart? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CrkHead (27176) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:24PM (#42527295)
    I'd look forward to buying one sold anywhere else.
    • At least you can put your hands on it. I ordered an OLPC from the buy-1-get-1 program back c. '06 and never got delivery and they stopped responding to my e-mails about it. At least WalMart has competent logistics - if they offer a direct-ship option on this one, don't take it.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:35PM (#42527355)

    Well... First please understand this is not a "flame" ...

    But if this tablet's UI is as non-intuitive and non-useful and the original OLPC, I sure hope it's open enough to load something else on.

    The best thing about the OLPC that I bought is the Wi-Fi range. But that's it, otherwise useless even to my children.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... I sure hope it's open enough to load something else on.

      Fedora, I think it was Fedora 11, was available for the first OLPC.

      IIRC, Fedora 18 ARM will run on the current gen OLPC. (I'm not sure about the older ones.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As you can see from the EnGadget review, the UI is nothing like Sugar.

      http://www.engadget.com/2013/01/07/hands-on-with-the-xo-tablet/ [engadget.com]

      It's Android, with a custom skin designed to be child-friendly (and parent-friendly too, from the looks of things - you can escape it back to plain old Android). It also comes with a curated set of 100 child-friendly apps, and 100 ebooks for children.

      While the tablet specs themselves aren't stunning, they're not bad either: 1024x600, 8G SD, dual-core 1.6GHz ARM, 1G RAM, HDMI

    • Its android, probably the same UI as my LG phone.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    OLPC is also involved in the development of Sugar, a UI (user interface) for the Linux OS that provides educational tools for kids. OLPC earlier this week released the latest version of Sugar, which sports touch support for the XO-4 laptop/tablet hybrid.

    Give me some Sugar, daddy.

  • by timholman (71886) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:40PM (#42527377)

    Is Negroponte serious? Who is going to care about a 7" Android tablet at this late date? The market is already saturated with them - just look on Amazon at all the different brands, at every imaginable price point.

    The time has passed for the OLPC concept. They've been in catch-up mode ever since the netbook wave hit, and they've fallen even further into irrelevance since the tablet craze took over. This will be yet another overpriced publicity-seeking OLPC flop that never makes it to production.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:30PM (#42527727)

      If the tablet also has the dual-mode Pixel Qi display, that would be a notable differentiator.

      You misunderstand "the OLPC concept" if you think its time has passed.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      The time has passed for the OLPC concept. They've been in catch-up mode ever since the netbook wave hit,

      Aren't you forgetting OLPC is the very cause of the netbook wave?

      and they've fallen even further into irrelevance since the tablet craze took over. This will be yet another overpriced publicity-seeking OLPC flop that never makes it to production.

      Not necessarily so if, as TFA mentions:

      OLPC also said it would focus less on hardware development and more on education projects.

      Now, this is long overdue.
      I mean: there are plenty courses online nowadays, but I still feel that a constructivist [wikipedia.org] approach to learning going beyond Logo and supported by a computer/tablet is still missing from the landscape.

  • Two years too late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BuypolarBear (2713397) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:44PM (#42527411)

    A few years ago when there weren't many choices in the market there was a lot of demand for them to release one of their devices as an inexpensive, low power computing device. That time has passed. Now days the market is flooded with cheap alternatives. They've waited too long, they're way too late. Unfortunately they don't stand a chance.

    • by Lisias (447563) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:00PM (#42527519) Homepage Journal

      Perhaps not.

      When a government makes a choice about what device it will be adopted for mass distribution, the market logic doesn't necessary applies.

      For how many years the device will be in production? For how many years will be possible to fix broken ones? For how many years new software will be available to them?

      On the consumer market, this cycle is just too small. No honest and competent govern will invest a ton of money on a device that will be deprecated and abandoned by the manufacturer in the next year.

      There's also a political bonus: since the devices are semi-obsolete (as you stated), the manufacturers doesn't have to worry about competition. There'll be no lobby against it. Better, will be lobbies pro it - it's a nice opportunity to make yet some more bucks more using already paid off installations and machinery.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:15PM (#42527627)

    People here are missing the point. This device isn't about the 1st world. When you complain it has no value to your child, consider yourself lucky, because your child has access to a real computer. To your child it has no value. To a kid in the third world where nobody a round him has a computer and he doesn't even get to school more than once a week this device is a godsend.

    This device is not competing with mass market tablets. It is designed to be rugged, work well in hard spots (good wifi, mesh networking etc), be powered by hands/solar/etc. Things the first world user doesn't need or get with the device.

    This was never more than a novelty for the 1st world. Whatever money they were going to raise has been raised. However any of that was a bonus to begin with.

    2nd. This is being brought to the 1st world by an entity other than the OLPC project. If you notice they used the words licensed. If there is somebody to criticize for being late to the party it's the licensee.

    For the OLPC project this licensee is just another entity contributing something. It is soaking up whatever cash is left of the novelty. The OPLC project though is not and has never been targeted at the 1st world. Comparing it to cheap tablets devices which are largely crap just isn't a fair comparison. Fortunately it doesn't really matter what anybody here thinks. We aren't the target for this device. What matters is they gain the support and services of the third world, 1st world (but for the third world), and other non-governmental organizations.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      look at a map of the world taken at night. see that large area that's mostly dark in the middle, that's called africa. where are kids there going to plug in a tablet?

      • by afidel (530433)

        OLPC provided solar, hand crank, and gang charged battery (ie centralized charging) options for the XO-1.

    • People here are missing the point. This device isn't about the 1st world.

      Uh no, you have missed the point, along with OLPC. This device is utterly unsuited for the developing world. Flexible power? Gone. Cover for the screen? Gone. WiFi repeater functionality? Gone. Ruggedizing? Most important single feature, gone. The truth is that you can buy similar devices from Aliexpress for half the money. Why pay twice as much to get it in a goofy color?

  • OLPC was always a scam... although I suppose thats why its ending up in Walmart.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @12:31AM (#42528193)

    Cannot help but notice that this is a significant departure from OLPC's original vision. Just consider:

    * Uses proprietary software.components
    * No sugar-UI (the open source educational UI in use in 3 million XO laptops)
    * Seems OLPC just picked a random android tablet off the market and added a green cover to it. Does not look rugged, and easily repairable at all (like all OLPC laptops till date).
    * No sunlight reflective screen
    * No mention of Negroponte
    * Closed door development

    If I were squinting hard enough, this wouldn't look like anything OLPC has been involved in ever since it started out.

    • by Shadowmist (57488)

      Cannot help but notice that this is a significant departure from OLPC's original vision. Just consider:

      * Uses proprietary software.components * No sugar-UI (the open source educational UI in use in 3 million XO laptops) * Seems OLPC just picked a random android tablet off the market and added a green cover to it. Does not look rugged, and easily repairable at all (like all OLPC laptops till date). * No sunlight reflective screen * No mention of Negroponte * Closed door development

      If I were squinting hard enough, this wouldn't look like anything OLPC has been involved in ever since it started out.

      That's largely because it's "original vision" remained just that.... a vision. It really never got to execution. The original laptops never got to the the 100 dollar price point and had a tendency to self destruct under even moderate use.

  • If it has a decent dual-mode color/b&w screen readable in direct light without backlighting, I'll shop at Wal-Mart for the first time in years, because this will immediately become an eInk killer.
    • by dublin (31215)

      You've never seen a PixelQi screen, have you? I buy them for my company, simply because they're the best thing out there for reading a computer in direct sunlight. (Sunlight is distressingly common at the solar arrays my company monitors...) That's not saying that the PixelQi display is very good, just that it's the best of a set of even worse options.

      E-ink is great for reading, but you can't buy a real computer with one, and refresh is glacial.

      Most people don't know this because they haven't seen one, b

  • by KalvinB (205500) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @01:06AM (#42528381) Homepage

    A LeapPad 2 can be had for $100 and the software is $25 a pop or a little less if it's on sale.

    It doesn't sound like the OLPC thing will get to the $100 mark and what's the quality and quantity of the educational software?

    And since it's all Android, what is the incentive to buy their tablet over any other Android based tablet?

    At the end of the day, the device is the least of the cost and value. It's the software. Who cares if the tablet is $50 if there's no good software for it? Or if I can get the same software on my smart phone?

  • I still find it funny that people ever thought OLPC was anything other than a company trying to sell hardware. Just goes to show that you can get anybody to dump a bunch of money into something if you convince them it's for a good cause.

  • crank-powered?

  • This may be unfair, but it's what I'd do with any other "product" as like the 2008 G1G1 XO and any other "company" that produced it. It was a while ago and hopefully things have utterly changed, but I have to say that my experience with the 2008 G1G1 program was so inexcusably bad that it poisoned MY opinion of the program. Supporters will make excuses and some may be valid, but the thing was a travesty. It fell utterly short anything we expect from a "product." It was simply not as" advertised".

    The biggest

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      The technology available for $100 has changed considerably in the last five years. The $100 laptop goal was ambitious back then. A $100 7" tablet now is just a retail device, the difference of this one being free content stored on the media. Big difference.
  • by Shadowmist (57488) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @07:27PM (#42539785)
    What it runs on I don't care. So far all of the OLPC laptops have been utter failures in the mission they were designed for. Being cheap robust instruments for the children of the third world. The kind of operating system being used is irrelevant if it's major faults are not otherwise addressed, to whit the tendency for the units to fall completely apart under even benign conditions here in the First World, much less the the Third.
  • This OLPC tablet is such a dissapointment to me. I would rather have the OLPC laptop because it has a keyboard. By the way, does Ethiopia even have Walmarts?

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