Intel took the opportunity at IDF this week to introduce a next generation of Classmate PCs that are now not only child-proof but it is also very much bug-proof.
The new Classmate PC is based on the Pine Trail platform, but Intel have tweaked the chassis and LCD bezel to make it a bit more impact resistant, 'cos that's what happens when you put handles on things... people swing them around.
The notebooks can now resist 28-inch drops and the HDD cage has been reinforced with a special rubber protection to better absorb vibration (unless, that is, you get the SSD version). Users will also be able to snap in place a higher-capacity battery (6-cell) that Intel claims will last for a full day's work (8.5 hours).
The 10.1-inch (1024x600) clamshell notebook is powered by an Atom processor and features built-in WiFi, an option of 3G, WiMAX and GPS, built-in webcam and mic. The keyboard and screen have also been liquid-proofed and can now guzzle down up to 100cc of liquid - juice, fizzy pop or milk - just about half-a-packet's worth.
As kiddiewinks don't always take to washing their hands, the festering petri dish that is a keyboard has also been coated with a super-duper anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-mold, anti-mildew, anti-fungal, anti-algae and above all anti-yeast (in case you try typing with your toes) covering. But we'd still tell parents to teach their kids to wash up, anyway.
Intel, which curiously wants education systems to take up the 1:1 (one student, one Classmate PC) learning model, is lining this up to be the education tool of emerging markets, despite having a mixed-bag of wins in their pocket, numbering countries as varied as Argentina, Turkey, Portugal and, of course, the USA.