IDF - Intel gives Classmate PC a makeover

Intel announced details of a new version of its Classmate PC at the Intel Developer Forum.

Intel unveiled an updated version of its Classmate PC laptop at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Shanghai, but changes made to the device are largely cosmetic -- at least for now.

The new Classmate PC has a sleeker look than its predecessor, and should appeal to a broader range of users. It also offers the option of a 9-inch screen instead of a 7-inch screen, and can have a built-in video camera. However, most of the laptop's internal components remain largely unchanged from the original Classmate PC. The new laptop also retains the soft plastic cover that does double-duty as a carrying handle.

Pictures of the updated Classmate PC slipped out ahead of IDF when a Malaysian PC maker unveiled the device at an event and pictures appeared online last week. A product sheet for the new laptop was also leaked from a US PC maker, giving observer a first glimpse of the machine.

Like its predecessor, the latest Classmate PC runs Linux or Windows XP and can include specialised software for schools.

One of the most useful improvements to the new Classmate PC design is the location of its memory-card slot. In the first version, this was located behind the laptop hinge and was hidden by the plastic cover. This slot was moved to the right side of the chassis in the new version, where it remains protected from dust by a rubber cover but is more easily accessible.

The keyboard remains the same size on the new Classmate PC, and most adults will likely find the keys a bit cramped for extended typing. But Intel has added color to the function keys to make them stand out more. In addition, the trackpad is larger, making it easier to use for adult-sized fingers.

Both Classmate PC versions are based on the 900MHz Celeron M processor and available with either hard drives or solid-state drives, which use flash memory chips instead of a spinning magnetic platter. The solid-state drives are available in 1GB and 2GB capacities.

During the third quarter, Intel plans to refresh the new Classmate PC by replacing the Celeron M with an unspecified version of Atom, said Tom Rampone, an Intel vice-president and general manager of the company's Channel Platforms Group. Atom is designed to be inexpensive and consume less power than previous Intel chips.

Originally designed for students in developing countries, the Classmate PC will be made available to PC makers in the US and elsewhere who can market the laptops to consumers, as well as schools. Indeed, pictures of the new Classmate PC offered by smaller PC makers in Malaysia and the U.S. circulated online ahead of the official launch.

Pricing for the new Classmate PC will vary depending on configuration, but should range between $US400 and $600, Intel said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?