image240[1] We’ve already talked about Marvell and OLPC getting cozy, what with OLPC basing its XO-3 model on a Marvell reference design. Now Robert Buderi reports on Xconomy that Marvell has ponied up a $5.6 million grant to OLPC to help it develop the XO-3 through 2011.

“Their money is a grant to the OLPC Foundation to develop a tablet or tablets based on their chip,” [OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte] says. “They’re going to put the whole system on a chip.”

They were already one of ten overall corporate sponsors, Negroponte said, but now they are “the technology partner.” As a result, development of the XO-3 is now “fully funded.” He also said that the OLPC will have “something concrete” to show at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January, Buderi reports.

But the first model actually will not be the true “XO-3”—the ruggedized machine OLPC will distribute in the third world. Instead, it will be a more standard tablet intended for use by children in the developed world, based on Marvell’s “Moby” design. It will not carry the OLPC brand, whereas the ruggedized version will.

I’ve personally harbored warm feelings toward Marvell ever since I learned that they flew Stan Lee of that other Marvel out to be at their booth at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (and at some other events since). Some companies would shy away from potential brand confusion, but it takes a special kind of company to embrace it in such a clever way.

Backing OLPC gives me just another reason to like them (even if they’re probably going to end up getting a lot of their own money back as OLPC spends it over the course of the development).

(Found via Engadget.)


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