Intel brings cheap laptop from third world to first world

20 Mar 2008

Intel’s sub-€300 Classmate PCs, which began to ship in volume to developing countries exactly a year ago, will soon become available to European and US consumers.

The Classmate PC was initially designed for students in developing countries at low cost.

The PCs are rugged and include features commonly found in mainstream PCs (such as storage and built-in wireless). They are also capable of running mainstream applications, including video and educational software.

The machines are equipped with unique functions such as a water-resistant keyboard, an integrated educational feature set that allows teacher-student and teacher-parent collaboration and an advanced theft-control feature using a network-issued digital certification.

Intel’s model is to negotiate with local PC makers to bring the products to market.

It is understood PC makers in Europe and the US will sell a yet-to-be-revealed second-generation version of the Classmate PC for between €160 and €230.

While the devices are primarily aimed at children, it is possible they could also be used to help cross the digital divide by making PCs available to low-income homes, as well as the elderly.

Such a move could help stimulate PC penetration in Ireland, which stands at around 65pc according to CSO figures, and further drive demand for broadband.

According to reports, retailers that will sell the devices are considering throwing in another €50 or €100 in rebates or other incentives to drive demand.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Intel CEO Paul Otellini showing off the innovative and cheap Classmate PC.