CES: Intel Releases Classmate PC Tablet Netbook

The new Classmate PC by Intel has been getting some press as a student-ready tablet meant for the modern age. The netbooks come in a convertible and clamshell version, the first of which has a flexible 180-degree swivel design and has touchscreen capabilities.

Lila Ibrahim, general manager of the Intel Learning Series-supporting Intel Emerging Markets Platform Group, is walking the high road with this netbook. “Education is one of the best ways to improve the future for individuals, villages, or nations,” he said. “There are 1.3 billion school-age children around the world and of those only 5 percent have access to a PC or the interner. The IT industry has a huge opportunity to contribute to how technology can improve students’ learning and students’ lives. With our announcement today, Intel continues its long-standing commitment to advancing education through technology to transform lives around the world.”

The Classmate PC is truly a school-ready netbook. It comes with a lower-power Intel Atom CPU, to drive the cost down, and is light enough for a child to tote around. It is specially designed for ruggedness, and can take solid bumps or liquid in its water-resistant keyboard. It also has the unique “palm rejection” feature, which allows the child to rest his palm on the touchscreen for more comfortable writing. The netbook also features software from the Intel Learning Series program.

Intel says local manufacturers including “CTL, Equus and M&A in the United States, MDG in Canada, CMS in the United Kingdom, NEC in France, Olidata in Chile, ASI in Australia and Hanvon in China” are going to be offering Classmate PCs in their respective countries. Both the clamshell and convertible tablet Classmate PCs will be offered worldwide.

At CES this week, Craig Barrett (the chairman of Intel) focused on Intel’s intent to provide educational content to children everyqhere. “Technology can be used in tremendous ways to impact people’s lives on the ground,” he elaborated. He mentioned that 3G, 4G, and WiMax would hold a big role in helping do so, especially for developing countries.

Release dates and costs aren’t available yet, so check back soon.

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