Intel unveiled an updated version of its low-powered laptop that it hopes to push from its original market of schoolchildren in third world countries to school and retail outlets in Europe and the United States.
The second generation of the Classmate PC, which Intel showed off Wednesday at its developer's forum in Shanghai, is described as a fully functional, rugged laptop with wireless Internet access. The shock-resistant machine has a waterproof keyboard, Intel added.
Agnes Kwan, a spokeswoman for Intel, said in an earlier interview that the company has been getting a lot of interest in the Classmate PC for use in the home market as well as the classroom. The company now plans to take advantage of the emerging home demand, she said.
The second generation of the Classmate PC, which was designed by Intel and will be sold by vendors like India's HCL and Indonesia's Zyrex PC, should cost under US$500, according to Kwan.
The laptop still runs on a Celeron processor, but Kwan noted that in the future releases will use Intel's Atom processors, a new family of low-power chips that Intel also unveiled this week in Shanghai. The 45-nanometer Atom chips, code-named Silverthorne, are based on a new microarchitecture and are designed for small devices and simple Internet-centric computers, like the Classmate PC.
The new high-end Classmate model includes a 9-inch LCD screen, a 6-cell battery, 512MB memory, a 30GB hard disk drive and an integrated webcam. The computer supports Microsoft's Windows XP, as well as Linux.
Intel considers the Classmate PC to be part of the so-called netbook category of computers, which consist of inexpensive, portable machines with small screens.