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Intel unveils updated low-power laptop

Second-generation Classmate PC targets U.S., European retail and education markets

April 3, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Intel Corp. unveiled an updated version of its low-powered laptop that it hopes to push from its original market of schoolchildren in Third World countries to school and retail outlets in Europe and the U.S.

The second generation of the Classmate PC, which Intel showed off yesterday at its developer's forum in Shanghai, is described as a fully functional, rugged laptop with wireless Internet access. The shock-resistant machine has a waterproof keyboard, Intel added.

Agnes Kwan, a spokeswoman for Intel, said in an earlier interview that the company has been getting a lot of interest in the Classmate PC for use in the home market as well as the classroom. The company now plans to take advantage of the emerging home demand, she said.

The second generation of the Classmate PC, which was designed by Intel and will be sold by vendors like India's HCL and Indonesia's Zyrex PC, should cost under $500, according to Kwan.

The laptop still runs on a Celeron processor, but Kwan noted that in the future, releases will use Intel's Atom processors, a new family of low-power chips that Intel also unveiled this week in Shanghai. The 45-nanometer Atom chips, code-named Silverthorne, are based on a new microarchitecture and are designed for small devices and simple Internet-centric computers, like the Classmate PC.

The new high-end Classmate model includes a 9-in. LCD screen, a six-cell battery, 512MB of memory, a 30GB hard disk drive and an integrated webcam. The computer supports Microsoft's Windows XP and Linux.

Intel considers the Classmate PC to be part of the so-called "netbook" category of computers, which consists of inexpensive, portable machines with small screens.

Read more about Laptops in Computerworld's Laptops Topic Center.

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