Today OLPC announced a partnership with Marvell to develop the XO-3. This is great news — according to my little birdies this will put development efforts at OLPC on substantially more solid financial footing. And software development for new tablet computers is non-trivial! Here's hoping that OLPC, which led the netbook movement, can similarly spur the nacent tablet computer market. So far tablets are seen as content consumers, with all "real" content creation (ie not just jotting notes or makng minor edits) being done on seperate "real" computers. OLPC's vision should insist on fully productive machines which allow kids to create and contribute, not just passively consume. (In particular, the killer app for kids on XO laptops to date is making movies and telling stories.)
In addition to funding further software development, the Marvell partnership ought to give OLPC the muscle to continue pushing forward the hardware state of the art. A lot of the reality of modern electronics manufacturing depends on guaranteeing enough production volume to sustain the interest of suppliers and their engineers. For low volumes you instead get "least effort" solutions from your partners, which result in higher costs and poorer results. So I'm cautiously optimistic that the "capture" of OLPC resources for Marvell's high volume "first world" tablet efforts will in the end be a means to accomplishing the XO-3 goals for "the rest". But care and caution are waranted. OLPC is not large enough to do multiple things at once; its resources and attention are dissipated easily.