The former head of MIT's Media Lab said the next OLPC device, the XO-3, would be a 9-inch tablet made by Marvell and running Google's Android OS.
The first OLPC was an underpowered, 'designed-by-committee' laptop that cost at least double of what it was supposed to. Most importantly, didn't adapt to the needs of the children who used it. For instance, it didn't have a method for non-Latin characters to be input. It was also made of plastic and had moving parts that would often break in rugged environments.
At CES in January this year, that will change, according to Nicolas Negroponte.
The new OLPC devices will take the lead from Apple's iPad but use Google's (GOOG) Android OS, at least initially. The keyboard will be virtual and be able to adapt to different languages.
XO-3 will also have some specs that might appeal to a broader audience (myself included). Quoting the WSJ (subscription req):
The new tablets will have at least one, and maybe two, video cameras. They'll sport Wi-Fi connections to the Internet, multi-touch screens and have enough power to play high-definition and 3-D video. Unlike Apple Inc.'s iPad tablet, the device will also work with plug-in peripherals such as mice and keyboards.
[I'm aware that iPhone's Touch OS doesn't need a mouse (and one's been hacked, anyway) and Apple supplies both keyboard docks and Bluetooth Keyboards as well]
Negroponte said the new tablets will not use Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 7 because the software requires too much memory and computing power. That's been a common theme lately and might be a reason that HP (HP) picked up Palm.