Toshiba to Offer Classmate-based Laptop in Japan

Toshiba will sell a modified version of Intel's Classmate convertible laptop in Japan, the company said Thursday.

Classmate was developed by Intel as a PC for the education market and is offered to PC makers as a reference design. That means much of the design and development has already been done by Intel so the cost required to turn it into a product is much lower than that required to develop a typical laptop.

The CM1 will be exclusively available to the education market and will go on sale in August.

It's based on the fourth-generation Classmate design that Intel unveiled at this year's Cebit electronics show in Germany in March. The laptop is a convertible design where the screen can twist round on itself and fold down over the keyboard to create a tablet-like form factor. The computer is based on the N450 version of Intel's Atom processor, has a 10.1-inch touchscreen and will run Windows 7 Professional, Toshiba said.

From the outside the CM1 looks identical to the reference design that Intel displayed at Cebit, but Toshiba made some changes to the robustness of the internal components, it said.

Toshiba said it expects the educational PC market to grow in coming years as a result of a new Japanese government policy to provide digital textbooks for all elementary and junior high school students by 2015.

The PC will be available via subsidiary Toshiba Information Equipment for an undisclosed price. Toshiba has no plans to put the laptop on sale outside of Japan.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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