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Intel classmates come to Blighty

Intel recently showed off its new convertible classmate PC design in a London school, or academy, or whatever these things are called these days.

The chip firm invited hacks and to St Matthew Academy, Blackheath, London, where local PC manufacturer CMS was demonstrating its Classmate design, in a unit it calls the Fizzbook Spin.

The design, distributed by Steljes in the UK and Ireland, converts from a clamshell design to a tablet PC and has been toughened up to help it survive being abused by hormonal teenagers.

Intel said the PC design is based on research from over 30 pilot classrooms around the world looking at how students learn, how they use and engage with technology, and how teaching has evolved.

Based on the Intel Atom chip, the Fizzbook Spin offers WiFi, 3G, GPS, WiMAX, built-in rotational camera, a claimed 8.5 hour battery life, 10.1-inch LCD monitor with 1024 x 600 resolution and built-in audio and microphone.

It will go on sale in the UK in May 2010.

Jason Thomas, a teacher at the Academy, said: "Few jobs now exist that don’t require some level of technology proficiency so it’s absolutely crucial that pupils have access to latest technology in the classroom."

Intel said more than 300 companies, including hardware vendors, operating system vendors, software vendors and enterprise solutions providers are developing applications, peripherals and services for Intel-powered classmate PCs.