Deborah Wilk | January 19, 2012
Oh, Yves Béhar. There he is on the covers of Time and Fast Company. There he is speaking at TED and Davos. Those cool objects in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art or the Musée Nationale d’Art Moderne/Centre Pompidou? They’re by Yves Béhar. But despite such vexing ubiquity, it’s impossible to resent the prolific designer. Take his latest roll out at this week’s 2012 Consumer Electronics Show: the XO-3 tablet, designed in conjunction with founder and chairman emeritus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab Nicholas Negroponte on behalf of One Laptop per Child.
As yet, Negroponte’s nonprofit organization has dispersed low-cost (that’s $100) laptops to 2.4 million children in 25 countries. Now, the brightly colored tablet will provide children in developing nations a facility with the current generation of personal computing technology. The design stresses simplicity, with all operations taking place on screen and a small power bay, including the on-off switch, connector jacks, and speakers situated on the front edge. A camera lens is on the back. The entire 8-inch-square tablet is clad in rubber for a tactile grip and is furnished with a protective cover. In addition to keeping spilled milk at bay, the cover may be equipped with an optional solar panel—potentially minimizing the need to find an electrical outlet for on-the-spot charging. With the promise of wireless freedom, there’s no doubt the coffee-house and student-union crowd will find a way to consider themselves children in need.