The competition for entry-level computers aimed at primary education markets around the world continue to intensify, with chipmaker Intel now offering up a new version of its rugged Atom-powered Classmate PC—and this one is a convertible tablet design that lets kids use a stylus or fingers to interact with touch-enabled application, but features a “palm rejection” feature that ignores giant whaps and slaps on the screen.
“Our ethnographers have spent countless hours understanding how technology can help school age children here in the U.S. and around the world build the skills required for the future,” said general manager of Intel’s emerging platforms group Kapil Wadhera, in a statement. “At Intel, we believe that education has the power to transform the lives of individuals, villages, cities and nations, and we understand that technology is one of our greatest tools to advance education around the world.”
The new convertible tablet is a reference design that Intel expects to license out to other computer manufacturers. It features a 10.1-inch touch-enabled screen, up to 8.5 hours of battery life, integrated Wi-Fi connectivity, along with additional wireless options like GPS, 3G, and WiMax connectivity. The unit can convert between a table and traditional clamshell design so students can use any type of application, and features a water- and microbial-resistant keyboard, screen, and touchpad, along with improved durability that should help the unit survive drops from desk height.
Intel has more than 300 partners in its Intel Learning Series program, and expects OEMs like CTL, Equus, and M&A will bring the convertible Classmate design to customers in the United States; with a slate of other manufacturers taking the design to markets like China, Australia, India, Mexico, the UK, Europe, and other regions.