Earlier today I reported on Intelâ€™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 â€“ 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 donâ€™t ask you donâ€™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.
The first thing that struck me about the Classmate PC was how small and light it is. Iâ€™m afraid I didnâ€™t have a set of scales handy, so I canâ€™t really say how much it weighs, but Iâ€™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 â€“ approximately 7in diagonal. The screen has a widescreen aspect ratio with a native resolution of 800 x 480, very similar to what youâ€™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 Iâ€™ve seen in a conventional notebook.
The keyboard is pretty small, some would say too small. Iâ€™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 itâ€™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.