Hands On With Intel’s Tablet Style Classmate

After Intel’s introduction of its newest Classmate, I got to spend some alone time with it. For a netbook with a touch interface it definitely shows promise. In fact, Gigabyte’s M912V could take a few tips from Intel’s education aimed laptop. Familiar Hardware The hardware on the new system is far from complete as Intel is still fine tuning the handle along with the touchpad; those parts didn’t match and are clearly just working ideas at the moment. Other than that, keyboard looked similar to the one found on the second-generation Classmate, although this time the apostrophe key is in the correct place. If you recall from our typing tests, the Classmate 2′s keyboard actually fared well in adult-sized hands. Accelerometer Inside, Touch/Pen Input I spent most of my time toying around with the new Classmate’s resistive 8.9-inch touch screen. When I flipped the screen into tablet mode, the screen orientation changed immediately, thanks to its built-in accelerometer. (If only the Gigabyte M912 had the same capability). Because of the palm rejection in the screen, selecting icons on the desktop required a firm press. Once I got the hang of it, I had no problem pulling up programs and maneuvering within them with just my index finger. A stylus also pops out of the left hand side of the system. I was able to sketch a bit in Paint and the pen was very responsive to my light shading on the screen. Student-Friendly Software Shell I was most impressed with Intel’s attempt to make Windows XP more user intuitive for students. Overlaying Windows XP Home is a “Quick Launcher” software shell. The interface has large touch icons with shortcuts to the programs students most often use, including Internet Explorer, a webcam capture application, Windows Paint, and others. In the case of the Classmate 3, maybe the kids shouldn’t have all the fun! It could be the best iteration of touch we have seen on a netbook thus far. Check out the hands-on video and let us know what you think. [flv:/flvs/classmate3-hands-on.flv 480 360]

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  1. JLM Says:

    Specifications?

  2. Dr.Bill Says:

    I like, but did she say Windows XP? I thought Microsoft had stopped supporting it even though no one is really sold on Vista.

  3. Jack Says:

    @ Dr.Bill, they are still selling XP to businesses and for netbooks.

    My own comment:
    Learn to hold a camera steady!

  4. Frank Ch. Eigler Says:

    A full accelerometer is not necessary to detect physical orientation changes. One or two mercury switches (or equivalent) can do the job.

  5. Chemist Says:

    I do not believe mercury is allowed in new products anymore, especially not those aimed at high use by children. As an educational machine, I’m sure that mercury is a less than desireable item. Sure, it can be used by adults too, but mercury is equally bad for them. I know in the consumer electronics products that I have built, we removed all mercury and even changed solder to to different suppliers that do not have it.

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