Intel's Classmate Laptop Due in UK

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An Intel-developed child-friendly laptop originally designed for the developing world will be available in the UK from February.

Sold directly to schools, online at Amazon and in Argos stores, the Intel laptop the Classmate, rebadged as the Otomo, could chip away at Apple's strong positioning in the UK education market, although the Classmate is aimed particularly at very young children.

The newly redesigned Classmate, produced by NEC for the UK market, is expected to have a retail price of retail price of US$514, well above the original planned price point of $100.

So far Intel has sold "close to one million units" in the developing world and sees no issues in moving the Classmate into more traditional markets.

"It doesn't matter whether the children are in Mali, Vietnam, France or the US," said Gordon Graylish, deputy general manger of Intel Europe.

"The research we did across both the developing and the developed world showed that human beings are actually quite similar, with similar needs, particularly if they are five years old."

"Education through technology can have a profound effect on children. It's important that we are not cynical. Bear in mind that some of us got excited when we got ballpoint pens."

The laptop comes with an 8.9in screen and a 1,024 x 600 touchscreen display that can swivel flat, turning the netbook into a tablet, allowing children to write and draw more naturally.

The 180-degree swivel design will also encourage classroom collaboration and interaction says Intel.

Powered by Intel's Atom processor, the Classmate will run Windows XP with a child-friendly customised touchscreen interface featuring large simplified icons.

This story, "Intel's Classmate Laptop Due in UK" was originally published by Macworld U.K..

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