Intel's Classmate PC was originally intended for distribution to developing countries. The third generation netbook-esque tablet system, though, is set to be made available to the UK in February. Intel will be selling the Classmate not only to individual consumers, but also educational establishments.
Intel reckons that although not specifically designed with use by young children in developed countries, the Classmate is still well suited to the UK market. Gordon Graylish, deputy general manger of Intel Europe, commenting: "It doesn't matter whether the children are in Mali, Vietnam, France or the US. 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."
Intel cites a change in the level of interest of governments in purchasing Classmate-type systems as a contributing factor to Intel's decision to bring the Classmate to developed countries, such as the UK. Graylish explaining that "Two years ago there was not a lot of interest from mature markets, but that has changed and governments are saying they need to do something to combat social deprivation." He also said that "It is encouraging that the UK government has publicly committed itself to driving higher standards and better outcomes for children by breaking down barriers to achievement and tackling the link between deprivation and low educational attainment."
Amazon and Argos are currently signed up to sell the Classmate in the UK, at a cost of £359. Intel will be making systems available to schools at a reduced cost of £260 a unit.