Resumen en español al final del artículo
Contrary to what I had expected OLPC is using the ongoing CES 2013 trade show in Las Vegas not just to present its XO-4 and XO-4 Touch models but also to introduce a new product. According to this article by Engadget the "XO Tablet" is a 7" Android-based tablet with custom interface (so no Sugar!!) and its own app store which will be available in US Stores in March. The price has not been announced yet but is said to be "competitive".
I've embedded Enadget's brief hands-on video for your viewing pleasure below but I'd also really recommend you to read the full article which contains some additional information and take a look at their XO Tablet gallery.
My first reaction to this announcement is quite simply that I'm not sure what to make of it. Hardware-wise the device itself simply seems to be just another generic 7" Android tablet. (Though the green rubber cover and especially the ring in the corner visible in the video still above and this photo are definitely a tip of the hat to the early XO-3 tablet design studies.)
On the software-side of things the custom interface and curated app store look nice but I'm not sure just how much value they can add compared to the full Google Play app store. Especially since I frankly speaking doubt that OLPC has the know-how or necessary resources to build up and maintain a second educational software and developer ecosystem besides Sugar. Yes, the content partners which OLPC announced on its blog over the past few months will likely provide some help here but I don't see that being enough to really make it fly.
Last but not least I'm very surprised to see this apparent move into the consumer market. Traditionally OLPC has always focused on large orders by governments and NGOs as the organization is simply not set up to deal with individual users and many people who participated in the 2007 Give 1, Get 1 program can attest to that. Again, maybe OLPC Association has some partnerships up its sleeve because I can't seem them executing this well on their own.
Overall I can only repeat what I said earlier: I'm not sure what to make of this announcement. But maybe I'm simply missing something which is why I hope to learn more about OLPC Association's vision and plans for the XO Tablet during Engadget's on-stage interview with Bob Hacker (OLPC Association's CFO) and Giulia D'Amico (OLPC Association's VP of Business Development) on January 10, 2013 at 2:30 PM EST.
Resumen en español: En el CES 2013 en Las Vegas OLPC mostró un nuevo producto: El XO Tablet, una tablet de 7" con Android y un interfaz nuevo diseñado por niños.