By Andrew Liszewski
While I don’t think putting a computer in the hands of every child on the planet will solve all of Earth’s problems, I do believe in the idea that educating the young’ns won’t hurt us in the long run. The 2 biggest supporters of this cause have been the OLPC project, of which I’m a big fan, and a consortium of various hardware and software companies who put together the original Classmate PC. The new Convertible Classmate PC Tablet, which was officially unveiled today, is the 3rd generation of the hardware, and while it’s been designed with schools and kids in mind, it’s basically another netbook. But a netbook with tablet and touch-screen functionality, which makes it even more appealing to a wider audience.
It’s powered by an Intel Atom processor running at 1.6GHz, and the 8.9-inch touch screen display has a pretty decent, and usable, resolution of 1024×600. It comes standard with a 60GB hard drive, though it’s easy to swap in an SSD or even flash memory instead, 1GB of memory and an SD/MMC card reader that can be used as a boot device. There’s wi-fi 802.11 b/g/n, and if you choose the Linux OS option instead of Windows XP you can even add open mesh support. The touch screen display works as well as any other touch screen hardware I’ve used before, and one feature I particularly liked is a built-in accelerometer that will automatically re-orient the OS GUI depending on how you’re holding the tablet.
The Convertible Classmate PC Tablet is available now from select OEMs like CTL, who have it listed on their site as the ’2go Convertible Classmate PC’ for $599.