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Monday, January 12, 2009
Intel Unveils 3nd Generation of Netbooks at CES

Intel rolled out on Friday the next generation of its Classmate netbook computers aimed at the education sector and emerging markets, touting the variety of ways technology is helping the world's poor.

Intel unveiled the third generation of its Classmate PC netbook, which is made by local computer makers in a number of countries and runs on Intel's low-power Atom chip. The newest model features a touch screen and convertible tablet form. According to research with students and teachers, the 180-degree swivel design, rotational camera and touch screen encourage flexible classroom interaction and natural collaboration. Both the convertible and the clamshell classmate PC designs are based on ethnographic studies and feedback from pilot programs conducted in both mature and emerging markets, Intel said.

The machine is designed to be rugged enough to withstand a pounding from schoolchildren.

"Technology can be used in tremendous ways to impact people's lives on the ground," Intel Chairman Craig Barrett said during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

He said technology such as mobile Internet devices and better connectivity offered by 3G, 4G and WiMax will allow poor nations to deliver vital education and health services.

As an example of how technology is being used to benefit emerging nations, he described a Warner Brothers video game that is being used for HIV awareness in Kenya.

Built on Intel architecture and powered by the Intel Atom processor, these purpose-built netbooks provide an affordable and functional PC to support a wide variety of classroom applications and activities. Designed with students in mind, the classmate PC is small and light enough for a child to easily carry. Equipped with a water-resistant keyboard, the classmate PC is also "backpack friendly" ? able to withstand bumping in a backpack and accidental drops by students. In tablet mode, the convertible classmate PC screen has a "palm rejection" feature that is designed to allow the child to write more naturally by resting their palm on the touch screen. It also includes education-oriented software and applications from software and content vendors in the Intel Learning Series.

Intel-powered classmate PCs are part of the Intel Learning Series, offering a cost-effective, end-to-end solution developed in collaboration with local manufacturers and brought to students by an network of local OEM vendors.

"More than 100 software and hardware vendors, content providers, educational service providers and local OEMs have been working with Intel to develop a complete infrastructure to support Intel-powered classmate PCs. Local manufacturers such as 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 will also be offering the convertible classmate PC in their countries. These offerings complement the existing clamshell design being offered in countries worldwide," Intal said in a statement.

"Our involvement with software and hardware developers ensures that the Intel Learning Series is culturally relevant, sustainable, and supports local economies," said Lila Ibrahim, general manager of the Intel Emerging Markets Platform Group, which developed the classmate PC reference design based on ethnographic research and supports the Intel Learning Series. "Through the Intel Learning Series, we are gathering the great minds and experiences of the IT industry to create a fun and rewarding environment for the students to learn and develop the skills they need in the 21st century."

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