Intel has targeted the elementary education market with the introduction of the Intel studybook, a plastic tablet with shock-absorber-surrounded 7-inch display, a sturdy design that anticipates falls and on-board educational software.
Part of the Intel Learning Series, which includes Ultrabooks and notebooks, the studybook runs an Intel Atom processor Z650 and can be made to work with the Microsofts Windows 7 platform or Googles Honeycomb version of Android.
Designed for one-on-one classroom learning, its available with an optional 0.3-megapixel camera on the front and an optional 2-megapixel camera on the back. Also optional are an accelerometer and light sensor, 3G and Bluetooth (all models will have WiFi) and a mini-High-Definition Multimedia Interface (mini-HDMI) SIM card slot for 3G connectivity.
All models receive 1GB of memory, a 7-inch display with capacitive multi-touch capabilities and a resolution of 1,024 by 600, Intels Trusted Platform Module (TPM) theft-deterrent solution, integrated audio with a single speaker and digital microphone, a USB port, a microSD slot and audio out.
The studybook is drop-tested for a little over 2 feet, is water- and dust-resistant, weighs 1.2 pounds and measures 8.12 by 5.31 by 0.65 inches.
The education software includes classroom management tools, an e-reader and applications such Intels LabCam, which incorporates the studybooks camera into a potential science lesson. Theres a note-taking tool, a tool for drawing and being creative, and access management capabilities, for setting student access to sites in school or at home.
Intel says its Learning series products come from extensive in-the-field experience and have been piloted in more than 2,000 classrooms in 36 countries. Infrastructure can be customized to geographies, in terms of content, language and cultural relevance.
Previously, Intels classroom efforts have hinged on the Classmate PC, a clamshell-style laptop that could convert into a tablet.
Intel is smart to go after the elementary-age niche, as in higher grades; the Apple iPad is likely to dominate. According to an April 4 report from Piper Jaffray, iPads are the tablet of choice by 70 percent of tablet-owning teenswhose preferences are likely to affect organizational changes going forward.
The popularity of the iPad among teens, said the report, will lead to the iPad owning the educational tablet market.
Piper Jaffray found 78 percent of school IT managers to be testing iPads. Of the 18 public school managers analysts spoke with, all expected their schools to have a one-on-one device-to-student ratio within the next five to 10 years, largely made possible by bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies.
Given the iPads current majority market share among teens¦ we expect iPad would be the device most likely desired by students in choosing their own devices, analysts said in the report. They likewise expected that a smaller-model iPad, which Apple is rumored to have in the works, would also be a boon to the education market.
Research firm IHS iSuppli has forecast that tablet sales will reach 124 million units this year, up 90 percent over 2011s 65 million units.
With the arrival of Windows 8 on ARM microprocessors postponed to 2013, and most of the Android competitors now regrouping," IHS analyst Rhoda Alexander said in a March 7 statement, IHS has lowered the media tablet forecast for Apple competitors in 2012. This means Apple will continue to capture the majority of the market well into 2014.