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Intel Classmate PC

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Earlier today I reported on Intel’s World Ahead programme, which aims to bring technology to the developing world. One of the key aspects of the World Ahead programme is the Classmate PC – a portable computer designed to help school children learn, interact and develop. The Classmate PC looked like a very interesting technology concept, so I asked Intel if I could have a closer look at one. You know what they say, if you don’t ask you don’t get. That logic is borne out by the fact that I currently have a Classmate PC sitting on the table in front of me.

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The first thing that struck me about the Classmate PC was how small and light it is. I’m afraid I didn’t have a set of scales handy, so I can’t really say how much it weighs, but I’d guess that it weighs in under 1kg. The Classmate PC is encased in blue leather, with a magnetic clasp to keep it shut and a carry handle at the back.

Opening the lid reveals a small TFT screen – approximately 7in diagonal. The screen has a widescreen aspect ratio with a native resolution of 800 x 480, very similar to what you’d expect to see in an ultra mobile PC in fact. Despite its small dimensions, the display is bright, vivid and just as usable as anything I’ve seen in a conventional notebook.

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The keyboard is pretty small, some would say too small. I’m not usually one to worry about small keyboards, since I have small hands, and after a little time with the Classmate PC I found that I adapted to its small keys. Of course it’s worth remembering that this machine was designed and built to service children and not adults, so the small keys are unlikely to be a problem for the target user.

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