Intel has launched a new convertible "Classmate" laptop that can double as a tablet PC in the UK as from next month which will be sold directly to schools and through Amazon and Argos. It is likely that the Classmate will be sold through Education tech specialists like Elonex.
The Classmate design first came to light as a direct response to the $100 laptop, originally called OLPC and later XO. Classmate version 2 is build by Computer Technology Link and comes with a rotating screen that easily converts from a traditional laptop format to a resistive touchscreen tablet.
The device is built around an Intel Atom CPU and comes with 1GB RAM, a 60GB hard disk drive, a card reader and a 8.9-inch LCD screen capable of displaying 1024x600 pixels. CTL offers a choice of either Windows XP Home or Linux with one year warranty on parts and labour.
The 2Go laptop first appeared at last week's CES in Las Vegas and is expected to cost $550, £260 in the UK and will try to be as attractive as possible to the 1.3 billion children on the planet, out of which only 5 percent have access to a PC or the web.
This is cheap for a tablet PC - a refurbished Toshiba Portege R400 costs around £450 - but not so for a classic netbook, which can be had for less than £200.
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Argos is already selling Classmate version 1 under the "Zoostorm" label. It is targeted at children between the ages of 6-14 years and "designed to integrate into the IT framework of UK schools". In addition, it is pre-loaded with 'Key-stage' Maths and English educational software. Further supported by a full suite of office programs, compatible with Microsoft Office, including spreadsheet, presentation and writing applications. The price? £274.09.
(Mobile Computer Mag)