With the release of a lower cost iPad 2 and its iTunes U program, Apple’s been aiming to corner the educational market. The iPad’s popularity may give it an edge, but Apple isn’t without competition.
Google’s Chromebooks are also in the running for use in schools, and now there’s also a new entry from Intel, known as the Studybook.
Intel’s Studybook is a small, seven-inch touchscreen device that’s encased in a sturdy, rugged plastic designed to withstand physical abuse. The touchscreen has been manufactured by Intel, but the company is planning to sell it to hardware companies, where it will be branded and customized before being sold to students around the world.
There’s no word on pricing, but it looks like Intel is going for ultra low cost, and according to Kapil Wadhera, general manager of the Intel education market platforms group, the devices will start at less than $200, which far less expensive than the iPad’s baseline $399 price tag (for a second generation tablet).
The low price point should make the Studybook a popular choice in developing countries, where affordability is key to getting devices in the hands of students. The Studybook’s solid design and resistance to damage (it can withstand a 70-centimeter drop to concrete) also gives it a leg up, since it will allow students to take the devices home to study outside of the classroom.
A learning device without compatible software is useless, but Intel has that front covered too. The company has been working with educational institutions and software suppliers for years, with some of its latest projects targeting the Studybook.
The Studybook will come equipped with a single-core Intel Atom Z650 processor, a clock speed of 1.5GHz, and either Microsoft Windows 7 or Google’s Android. It weighs just 1.15 pounds and will offer students approximately 5.5 hours of battery life.