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.