Lenovo this week unveiled a netbook PC designed to be the first mobile PC for K-12 students and a "secondary device" for college students.
Netbooks are smaller, lighter, and much less expensive than full-blown notebook PCs. The Lenovo IdeaPad S10e gives institutions the option of using the latest version of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop instead of Windows XP or XP Pro2, and the opportunity to dress the slate-gray finish in the school's official colors.
Lenovo also offers packages of educational applications, including software from Adobe and VitalSource Technologies. Warranties can extend to three years, but school systems can make an array of repairs and changes themselves if they wish, said Michael Schmedlen, Lenovo's director of worldwide education marketing.
Schools are a hotly contested market for netbook makers, which already are making their pitch partly with price cuts. The S10e model is very similar to the S10 model introduced earlier this year for the consumer market.
Powered by Intel's Atom processors, the S10e has a built-in Webcam with 10-inch display, a 4GB solid-state drive or a 160Gb hard drive. There are an array of memory and port options. It has an Ethernet port and 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi (the S10 has 802.11b/g), with optional Bluetooth. A cellular card can be plugged into the standard ExpressCard 34 slot.
A feature called Quick Start1 lets users quickly run such programs as checking e-mail or videoconferencing without having to wait for a full boot of the operating system.
The S10e is expected to be available at the end of November. Pricing, which varies based on software, memory, and other options, starts at just over US$400, with volume discounts.