update The Victorian Government announced today that it would begin a trial program providing students with netbook-style laptops, with schools set to receive more than 10,000 machines from Lenovo and Acer.
Correction: we originally reported Lenovo's figure of 10,400 netbooks with only 400 to come from Acer. The true split, according to a Department of Education spokesperson, is 8000 from Lenovo and 2000 from Acer.
Had the netbooks been provided at retail value, the roll-out would have been worth just over $9 million; however Lenovo has provided a bulk discount to the Victorian Government, offering the netbooks at a cost of $468 per device.
Of this cost, the government will cover $312 per device, while parents are expected to pay an additional $52 a year over three years, totalling $156. The schools will retain ownership of the netbooks.
Both Lenovo and Acer are taking part in the trial, with Lenovo supplying 8000 IdeaPad S9 netbooks and Acer supplying 2000 Aspire One netbooks, giving 10,000 netbooks in total, according to a Department of Education spokesperson.
The Lenovo IdeaPad netbook (Credit: Lenovo)
The netbooks supplied by Lenovo will be an IdeaPad S9s (a 9-inch version of the S10). The current netbook offering from Acer is the Aspire One.
The netbooks will be delivered to students in years five through to eight, and students will be allowed to take them home after school. Parents will be given the option to purchase the netbooks after the trial, which will last for three years.
Included on the netbooks will be Microsoft Office and Encarta along with 28 other educational applications and will run on Windows XP. In addition, the netbooks will come with a protective cover, power cord, a six-cell battery, a warranty and insurance.
Premier John Brumby said in a statement that the trial would cover schools throughout Victoria.
"This netbook pilot will open the door for thousands of students at more than 344 schools in regional and traditionally lower socio-economic areas to keep pace with all the benefits of modern learning," he said.