Many techies were skeptical when they first heard that Intel wanted to release a tablet based on the Learning Series Classmate. The Intel Studybook is definitely not an iPad killer and it is never meant to be. In fact, it’s simply a purpose-built educational gadget that’d be valuable in the mature market as in developing markets. Instead of feeling fearful watching your children wandering around in a classroom with a $600 iPad, you can give them the Studybook instead.
Powered by the energy-efficient Atom Z650 single-core processor, the tablet is more than adequate for classroom uses, while the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) allows student to install hundreds of thousands of apps from the Google Play. It’s not the performance that makes teachers and other educators take notice, it’s the educational capacity and ruggedized design that will raise eyebrows. The Studybook is a portable science lab, with seals and gaskets around every port to avoid accidents in a lab.
It has a full-size USB port and can support many peripherals and accessories available on the market. Studybook comes with small adapter lenses and the built-in LabCam app that can turn the tablet into a microscope using the rear-facing camera.
Other than Gingerbread, the Studybook also runs Windows, meaning you can install virtually any x86-compatible software on the tablet. The x86-based Atom processor may not be as energy-efficient or as fast as ARM-based mobile chips, but schools can leverage present software adoption with this tablet. As the tablet can use any OEM USB keyboard, the lack of built-in physical keyboard wouldn’t be an issue when students need to write an essay.
There’s still no official announcement about the price, but the base model with no 3G, Wi-Fi only and 4GB of internal storage may be sold for less than $200. More advanced variants have Windows 7, bigger internal storage, 3G, Corning Gorilla Glass and others, which will drive the price up.