Intel unveils tablet Classmate PC design

Intel unveils tablet Classmate PC design

Summary: Intel has signed up PC makers around the world to create local versions of the new, swivel-screened model of the netbook that's geared for schoolchildren.

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Intel has revealed the design for a tablet version of its Classmate PC, a low-powered netbook designed for use in primary schools.

The tablet-format Classmate, which was unveiled on Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (see Special Report), will let manufacturers build Classmate PCs that can be used either as a standard clamshell laptop or — with a 180° swivel of the display — as a touchscreen tablet. As with most netbooks, it will run on Intel's Atom processor.

"Education is one of the best ways to improve the future for individuals, villages or nations," Lila Ibrahim, the general manager of Intel's emerging-markets platform group, said in a statement on Friday. "There are 1.3 billion school-age children around the world and of those only five percent have access to a PC or the internet. The IT industry has a huge opportunity to contribute to how technology can improve students' learning and students' lives."

Ibrahim's division developed the reference design for the convertible Classmate PC based on ethnographic research. Child-friendly features include a water-resistant keyboard and a sturdy frame. Another feature is dubbed "palm rejection" — in tablet mode, the user can rest their palm on the touchscreen while writing, without the screen registering the palm's pressure as input.

The original Classmate, which appeared in 2006, is widely seen as having kicked off the 'netbook' concept even before Asus released its popular Eee 701.

On Friday, Intel also announced its Learning Series, a project that will try to make sure there is proper co-ordination between educational hardware, software and services in various countries. The idea is for local manufacturers to use Intel's latest Classmate PC reference design to create customized versions of the Classmate PC according to local needs, and to preload those machines with locally relevant software.

"Our involvement with software and hardware developers ensures that the Intel Learning Series is culturally relevant, sustainable and supports local economies," Ibrahim said.

"Through the Intel Learning Series, we are gathering the great minds and experiences of the IT industry to create a fun and rewarding environment for the students to learn and develop the skills they need in the 21st century."

According to Intel, tablet-format Classmate PCs will be made in the UK by the manufacturer CMS; in France, by NEC; in Chile, by Olidata; in Australia, by ASI; in China, by Hanvon; in Canada, by MDG; and in the US, by CTL, Equus and M&A. Pricing and availability dates have not yet been announced.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Mobility

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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3 comments
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  • Far better looking design than its predecessor...

    Next step in the evolution is to have some way to charge the batteries, with the sun, pedal or manual power, whatever - for the regions where electricity is scarce (functionality like the OLPC). This might take a quantum advance in power generation/storage. But when this is solved, other applications aside computing will also be found: refrigeration to keep food healthy, etc.
    Roque Mocan
  • RE: Intel unveils tablet Classmate PC design

    "The original Classmate, which appeared in 2006, is widely seen as having kicked off the 'netbook' concept even before Asus released its popular Eee 701."

    This is pretty inaccurate. OLPC clearly kicked off the netbook concept with the original XO. Intel has been following their lead, and rather insidiously attempting to subvert their mission.
    johnnyu77
  • RE: Intel unveils tablet Classmate PC design

    Right direction but a little to small screen

    13,3 and it will be more useful
    bdjbent