Wired reports that the OLPC XO tablet will soon be showing up in, of all places, Wal-Mart. Priced at $150, and looking very much like the XO-3 mockups we’ve seen for the last few years, only thicker, the tablet is based around Android 4.2 rather than OLPC’s custom Sugar, so it will run the most popular tablet apps in addition to its custom educational interface. A full line of accessories will also be available.
The slime-green plastic case is a little off-putting, but apparently it can be popped out of it if you want it to look a little less like kid stuff. It has a 1.4 GHz processor, 4 GB of storage, and front- and rear-facing cameras. Apart from the case and the custom OLPC software, it seems to be essentially yet another bog-standard Android tablet. (It sounds a lot different from what was mentioned 18 months ago, though. No mention of a Pixel Qi screen, or Sugar capability.)
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind. It will be at least as good for kids as any other Android tablet, and with the OLPC brand and reputation behind it, it’s a name educators can trust. While it might be a little more expensive than the tablet most people would trust their kids with (the Zeepad costs about half as much, though it’s probably less than half as good), the rugged-looking case and educational software, as well as the full-fledged Android capabilities of the device, might make it attractive to parents who can afford the outlay. And every tablet bought helps fund educational programs in the third world.
Certainly, if they’re wanting to get more of their devices in the hands of kids everywhere, putting them in Wal-Mart is a better way to go than that get-one-give-one program. Here’s hoping sales go well.
Update: Name of tablet corrected. I could have sworn the Wired article said XO-3.