The $35 computer, the $100 tablet, and computing for everyone

The $35 computer, the $100 tablet, and computing for everyone

Girls in Kabul use an OLPC laptop in the classroom. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/olpc/4795113665/sizes/m/in/set-72157624493572829/">One Laptop Per Child (flickr)</a>
Girls in Kabul use an OLPC laptop in the classroom. Photo: One Laptop Per Child (flickr)

Last week, two products were unveiled that may drastically change youth interaction with computing—One Laptop Per Child’s tablet computer and Raspberry Pi’s $35 Linux Computer.

One Laptop Per Child is already well-known for its campaign to provide any child who needs one with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, Internet-connected laptop. The new tablet, called the XO 3.0, will cost $100 in bulk and comes with an optional hand-crank or solar panel case for charging. Educators are already excited about its potential use in the classroom.

Surprisingly, quite a few iPad users are jealous of the XO 3.0’s innovative display—it features the usual glossy tablet display but also has an e-ink display that can be used in harsh sunlight or to conserve power.

Raspberry Pi‘s mission is also to produce low-cost computers, but its credit-card-sized product, intended to plug into a television, is designed to help kids learn computer programming in addition to providing a platform for easy Internet access. While the tablet and ipad discourage users from tinkering with the hardware, the Rasperry Pi promotes this kind of hacking.

The Raspberry Pi may not be as pretty as the XO 3.0, but—priced at $35—it is considerably more affordable. It will also be available directly from its website, whereas the tablet can only be purchased in bulk.

Between these two options, more children around the world will have a better chance at self-empowering, computer-based learning.

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