Mobile Computing

Intel Updates Classmate Tablet Line

Intel has unveiled a new reference design for the classmate PC, the company's convertible tablet and netbook designed specifically for education.

Intel described the new design as its "most flexible and durable" iteration to date. The 3.5-pound classmate PC is a portable computer that can convert from a clamshell-style notebook/netbook to a touch- and stylus-sensitive tablet PC by swiveling its 10.1-inch LCD screen. Built around the 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, the latest classmate PC features increased memory and storage; improvements to durability (with a drop height of about 2 feet using a standard hard drive or 27.5 inches with a solid state drive); improved scratch resistance; and water-resistant keyboard, touchpad, and screen. An anti-microbial keyboard is optional.

The new model also offers a technology called "palm rejection," which allows the computer to ignore a student's palm resting on the screen in tablet mode while continuing to allow him or her to work normally.

Other features include:

  • Standard 1 GB PC2 6400 DRAM (upgradable to 2 GB) and 160 GB internal disk-based storage, with an option for a 16 GB or 32 GB solid state drive;
  • 1,024 x 600 screen resolution (1,366 x 768 optional);
  • Depending on the manufacturer, the units will come standard with Windows 7 Basic, with an option for a Windows 7 Pro upgrade or a Windows XP downgrade;
  • Extended battery life, up to 8.5 hours with an optional six-cell battery and under ideal conditions (4.2-hour battery life with four-cell configuration);
  • Built-in WiFi, with optional Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, and WiMAX connectivity;
  • Built-in 180-degree rotational camera (1.3 megapixels);
  • Lower screen temperature (for more comfortable use in tablet mode);
  • Side-mounted buttons for navigation;
  • Two USB ports, one SD card slot, one half-sized mini card slot, one full-sized mini card slot, and one VGA port;
  • Rubberized surface and rounded corners for safety and durability, plus a rubber cage for the hard drive to protect against shocks; and
  • Microphone and dual headphone jacks.

CTL Corp., Equus Computer Systems, and M&A Technology will manufacture machines based on Intel's reference design in the United States. As of this writing, it was unclear when, exactly, machines based on the new design would be available. Preorders are available now through at least one U.S. manufacturer, M&A Technology.

In related news, some education developers today announced support for the new classmate PC.

  • Pasco today demonstrated SPARKvue running on the new classmate PC. SPARKvue is a science education suite designed for mobile devices, including iPods, smart phones, and Pasco's own handheld learning device called Spark.
     
  • McGraw-Hill Education launched LEAD21, an elementary school literacy and language arts program designed specifically for the classmate PC platform. It includes print and digital tools, along with professional development resources, including online coaching, electronic practice activities, reporting and assessment tools, group management for differentiated instruction, and, in the coming months, additional software designed for the classmate PC platform.

Further information about the classmate PC can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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