When the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) Foundation first began promoting the idea of low-cost laptops to help improve the education of children around the world, it was alone in the market. It wasn’t long before other computer makers saw the potential for the market of low-cost laptops and began brewing their own systems.
Intel, who was a partner with OLPC, was one of the first to begin offering its own laptop to developing nations called the Classmate PC. Intel announced its second generation Classmate PC at the Intel Developer Forum in Shanghai today. Intel vice president Andrew Chien called the new Classmate an affordable, fully functional, rugged Internet-centric computer platform in his keynote address.
The second generation Classmate PC offers variable design choices to manufacturers to allow them to produce laptops designed for different educational needs according to Intel. The hallmarks of the new Classmate are ease of use, wireless capability, longer battery life, water resistant keyboards and more shock resistance when dropped.
Chien said in a statement, “Only 5 percent of the world's children today have access to a PC or to the Internet. Education is one of the best examples of how technology improves our lives. We have seen how technology helps teachers create fun learning experiences more efficiently. We have also been touched by children's excitement when they are inspired by technology. The Intel-powered classmate PC is one of the ways we support the IT industry in spreading the benefits of technology in education for children around the world."
The second generation Classmate gets some new components including an Intel Celeron M CPU, 802.11b/g and mesh networking capabilities. At the high-end of the second generation Classmate range the systems will feature 9-inch screens, 6-cell batteries, 512MB of RAM and a 30GB HDD. Integrated webcams are included as well. Supported operating systems for the new Classmate include Windows XP and Linux.
Intel also says that future variants of the Classmate will be built using Intel’s new Atom processors. DailyTech reported recently that the Diamondville-based Atom processors would see duty in the Intel described netbook category that includes the Classmate.