Classmate PC Not in XOs Class

Review: While Intel's Classmate PC isn't as innovative as the OLPC's XO laptop, it could be attractive in certain classroom and teaching environments.

Its been a strange year for Intels Classmate PC. At first it was pushed as a competitor to One Laptop Per Childs XO Laptop. And then, when Intel joined the OLPC this summer, the purpose of the Classmate PC seemingly changed, almost as if it became a somewhat unnecessary complement to the XO.

But the Classmate PC is still out there providing a low-cost laptop option for children and school systems in developing countries, and Intel just recently announced the sale of 17,000 Classmate PCs to Nigeria.

However, the funny thing is that, other than both being low-cost laptops designed for children, the XO and the Classmate PC are completely different systems with different focuses and very different capabilities.

Strictly head-to-head, there really is no comparison. The XO is a radically innovative new system that could possibly change all future laptops, with groundbreaking capabilities in its display, wireless networking features, and power usage and management. The Classmate PC, on the other hand, is basically just a very standard small-form-factor laptop with few if any innovations.

However, this doesnt mean that the Classmate PC doesnt have worth. In many ways its simple familiarity will prove attractive in certain classroom environments and teaching scenarios.

Here at eWEEK Labs weve had the chance to put a Classmate PC through its paces, and while we didnt find it innovative, we did find some useful features.

Out of the box, the Classmate PC definitely looks like something designed for kids. It has a cute flexible blue cover that includes a handle and magnetized clasp for easy carrying. At nearly 3 pounds it was actually a bit heavier than we expected.

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