Intel has taken aim at the educational sector with the launch of Studybook, a ruggedised tablet for school kids.
The 7-inch tablet utilises the company's Atom Z650, and has all the traditional features expected in a modern tablet - multi-touch screen, an accelerometer, front and rear cameras, a microphone and a light sensor. It is constructed out of a single piece of plastic, which Intel claims will allow the device to resist shock (to 70cm; such as falling off a student's desk), water and dust.
This toughness is a key differentiator from other tablets, such as the iPad, which means students can use the Studybook in the field. It is also expected to be a fraction of the iPad's cost, somewhere around US$200. This will spare parents and teachers the stress of worrying about damage to the device - key since Apple has been increasingly using its £399 iPads to target the educational sector.
Alongside the 1.2GHz Atom Z650, it has 1GB of DDR2 RAM (expandable to 2GB) with either a 4GB, 8GB, 16GB or 32GB capacity flash hard drive. The screen has 1024x600 resolution and the front and rear cameras have resolutions of 2MP and 0.3MP, respectively.
Intel has included a sealable microSD slot, a USB port and Wi-Fi alongside an optional 3G SIM card slot. Intel claims only a 5.5 hour battery life - not too much of a problem in the classroom, but less useful on a field trip.
Overall it seems like a pretty run of the mill spec sheet - hardly state of the art, but more than enough for school usage.
Users have the option of installing Windows 7 (and presumably Windows 8 when it launches later this year) or Android 3.2 Honeycomb - which CBR expects will be much more popular due to its smartphone/tablet background. The main problem will be that most educational software is developed for Windows platforms, so it will be interesting to see which way the penny falls.
Intel has, however, included its own education software. This includes classroom management software which allows teachers to track their students' behaviour at school and at home. Drawing, note taking and e-reader tools are also included. With the an adaptor lens for the rear camera, it can become a digital microscope - and paired with its 'LabCam' application, will allow students to focus on scientific enquiry, such as observing bacteria, or photographing insects in the wild. Users can attach temperature probes and other scientific tools to the tablet's USB ports.
"Expanding the Intel Learning Series portfolio of affordable, purpose-built educational devices brings us closer to our vision of enabling more students and teachers to participate in high quality education," said Kapil Wadhera, general manager of Intel's Education Market Platform Group.