Kids’ tablets are beginning to get cheap, and something to consider

At CES this year, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) unveiled a pair of rugged, budget tablets, designed for kids. The 7-inch XO-2 and the 10-inch XO-10 run a heavily modified version of Andriod 4.4 KitKat and boast the XO Learning System, with over 100 educational apps pre-installed, supporting five languages, including English and Spanish (the Play Store is also fully accessible).

Both tablets pack a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. They also both have a screen resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels, a 5-megapixel main camera, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. There’s support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS too. OLPC suggests that the XO-2 will run for seven hours between charges, while the XO-10 can run for at least 12 hours.

They are clad in a bright green plastic overcoat with a kind of lanyard that’s finger sized for easy carrying and a textured back for added grip. It’s an aesthetic that leaves little doubt about the intended audience.

Set for release within the next couple of months the XO-2 will cost $150 and the XO-10 will set you back $200. There’s also a wide range of optional accessories, including a wireless keyboard for the XO-10, the XO Digital Telescope, and the XO Digital Microscope. OLPC and hardware partner Vivitar hope to inspire children by educating them about possible professions, from musician or athlete, to astronaut or programmer.

“The XO Tablet and XO Learning System that OLPC designed and developed has captivated a new generation of learners and earned praise from industry experts and parents for the way they encourage learning through exploration,” said Jeff Saka, president of Vivitar. “These new tablets and accessories will make the XO experience even more engaging for kids, expanding their options for exploring and interacting with the world around them.”

The original XO tablet is on sale at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, but the new line represents a real step up in terms of specs. Profits from the sale of these tablets will help OLPC to subsidize its main work.

The mission statement of OLPC is to bring education to the world’s poorest children. To that end the company has been designing rugged, low-cost laptops and tablets, loaded with educational apps for kids. This non-profit organization has already distributed more than 2.5 million laptops to underprivileged children in over 60 countries around the world, including the U.S.

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