Intel and HCL to launch Classmate PCs in Indian Schools this August

The Intel Classmate PC

Around a month back we had reported that Intel will be offering its Classmate PCs in India, at an ultra-affordable price of just Rs. 10,000. Now here’s the latest development in its innovative move.

Chip giant Intel is all geared to make available its Classmate PC in schools across India from August onwards. Intel has joined hands with HCL Infosystems for this initiative to take the novel idea further.

The new Classmate PC is essentially a portable mini-notebook, whose incorporation into the Indian education system will help in digitally improving the present teaching style. Intel and HCK will together sell the innovative educational tool in thousands of schools across India for empowering students and teachers with computer literacy.

“The Classmate PC, designed and developed in India by engineers at our Bangalore development centre, will only complement the conventional or existing format of teaching and learning in classrooms in a digital form or e-way,” John McClure, the Intel South Asia director (marketing), told IANS.

McClure added, “HCL, one of India’s largest PC manufacturers, will be the prime vendor to distribute and maintain the Classmate PC for enhancing the education system and infrastructure in government-run as well as private schools.”

The key specs of the Intel Classmate PC are:

  • Powered by the Intel Celeron mobile processor 900Mhz
  • Packed with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity
  • 7-inch LCD screen
  • 256-512 mb RAM
  • 1GB and 2GB of Flash memory
  • Runs on Linux and Windows XP operating systems
  • Weight – Approx. 1.5 kg
  • 3-4 hour battery life
  • The portable Classmate PCs, formerly known as ‘Eduwise,’ will be priced at about Rs. 18,000 each and will be customized to meet the local requirements in terms of rich content and features for quicker adaptability. Bundled with a water-resistant keyboard and rugged protective cover to prevent dust, the Intel device will be packed with exclusive content for two-way teacher-student and teacher-parent collaboration. The wirelessly enabled device’s special software has been created by education solution provider Educomp.

    The handheld devices are being manufactured in China by Intel’s ODM (original design manufacturer) Computex, a Taiwanes firm, for the Asia-Pacific region.

    “In addition, the Classmate PC has an advanced theft-control feature, based on network-issued digital certification, and is powered to run mainstream applications, including video and educational software,” McClure said at a preview of the product.

    “The game plan is to encourage innovation and enable school going children to communicate worldwide, developing 21st century skills such as digital literacy, problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration,” he continued.

    HCL Infosystems vice-president Rajendra Kumar maintained that the new Intel Classmate PC would reform classroom learning by taking teacher-student interaction to a higher level in schools across the country. Further adding that quite a sizeable amount of public and private schools have already started developing computer labs to expose students to the world of information and communication technologies (ICT) and equip them with skills that will empower them in e-learning and qualify them for high-tech jobs.

    Furthermore, HCL plans to bring in content developers and education service providers to offer customized and integrated learning solutions, which will be available to schools and educational institutes across the country through its distribution network.

    Since the $1-billion Intel World Ahead Programme was introduced around a year ago, Intel has distributed around 32,000 Classmate PCs in the APAC region, including 10,000 units in select states across India on a pilot basis. With HCL stepping in as manufacturing partner, India is the first nation in the Asia-Pacific region where a Classmate PC is reaching schools. HCL Infosystems is keen on installing around 3,000-5,000 such PCs over the next nine months to a year.