Sunday, December 10, 2006

Intel Classmate PC for Education

Intel Classmate PCIntel's "Classmate PC" (previously the "Eduwise") is a project for an educational computer for developing nations. It has similar specifications to the OLPC $100 Laptop. Intel's design has a Celeron M processor, 7" 800×480 LCD display and no hard disk, with data and software in flash memory. Unlike the OLPC which uses Linux, the Classmate PC will use an embedded version of Windows XP, with Linux as an option.
Classmate PC is a small, mobile learning-assistant educational solution that Intel specially developed for students in emerging markets. The rugged learning device, designed to provide affordable, collaborative learning environments for students in grades 5-10 and their teachers, will feature built-in wireless and digital pen attachments and run either Microsoft Windows* or the Linux* operating system.

System Configuration of Classmate PC
Chassis Customized Mini Chassis 245 x 196 x 44
Processor Intel® Mobile Processor ULV 900 MHz, Zero L2 cache, 400 MHz FSB
Chipset Intel 915GMS + ICH6-M
Memory DDR-II 256M SO-DIMM
LCD 7" 800 x 480, LVDS Interface, LED B/L
Storage Device 1GB NAND Flash
Audio Stereo 2 Channel Audio, Built-in Speakers and Microphone, Jack for External Output and Microphone Input
LAN/WLAN 10/100M Ethernet + WLAN 802.11 b/g w/ Antenna
Keyboard Integrated Keyboard with Hot Keys
Touch Pad Cycle Touch Pad with Left and Right Buttons
Note Taker (optional) Customized Note Taker with Wireless Pen
Power Solution Battery with Adapter – 6 Cells, approximately 4 hours Usage
OS Win XPE / Linux

From: Classmate PC features and benefits, Intel, 2006

V.Smile Touch TabletInterestingly, Intel have commercial looking sales brochures for the Classmate PC, with contacts listed in Brazil, Mexico, and India (Bangalore). From the photos, the Classmate PC seems to be a bigger unit than the OLPC, more like a notebook PC with an undersized screen. The OLPC looks better proportioned, but the customers may prefer the larger unit (8% larger area on the front) as it will look like they are getting more. However, the average customer may have difficulty telling the difference between a photo of these units and the low power children's computers made to look like laptops.

Classmate PCOLPC
Width (mm)245229
Depth (mm)196193
Height (mm)4464

As the Classmate PC is more like a regular laptop, it raises the question: why build a special unit at all? Why not just take an existing laptop design and leave out the expensive components? The objective seems to be more about the needs of computer designers to produce innovative products, than the needs of education in developing nations.

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