The world's largest chip maker Intel and leading computer manufacturer HCL Infosystems on Saturday announced the launch of Classmate PCs.
The mobile PC is priced in the sub-Rs 18,000 range and will be available in the market for schools starting August, HCL Infosystems Executive Vice-president Rajendra Kumar told reporters in Jaipur.
"It is priced in the sub-Rs 18,000 range but it also includes the cost of installing supporting connectivity infrastructure, teachers' training and customised integrated learning solutions through our tie-up with content developers and education service provider. Later, the cost will go down further," he said.
Classmate PC is an educational tool developed by Intel to aid students in their classroom learning. It is powered by Intel Processor 900 Mhz and comes with WiFi and ethernet connectivity. It has a 7-inch LCD screen, 215 MB and 512 MB RAM with one GB and two GB flash memory.
Classmate PCs will be retailed through schools and HCL Infosystems expects to deploy 3,000-5,000 such PCs over the next nine months to an year.
"To make the Classmate PCs more accessible to schools, we could model the pricing into a nominal incremental increase in the per month fee of the students. We are in dialogue with about 25 schools all over the country and expect to have 3,000-5,000 PCs in 9-12 months," Kumar said.
Classmate PCs weigh only 1.4 kg durable, rugged with a personal learning assistant that looks like a textbook keeping in mind the young learners. It provides for three to four hours of usage time.
"We will also provide additions like note taker and digital pens with the Classmate PCs," Kumar said. Intel South Asia Marketing Director John McClure said this launch under the World Ahead Programme of Intel will encourage innovation and enable children to communicate worldwide.
Intel conducted the first pilot of the Classmate PC programme in India in December 2006 with class VI students at DPS, Ghaziabad, Vasundhra. Currently, it is running two more pilots with Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti with 60 Classmate PCs an another with 35 Padma Sheshadri Bal Bhavan in Bangalore with 35 Classmate PCs.
Intel is collaborating with leading educational service provider Educomp for the design, development, prototype creating and proof of concept of Classmate PCs.
The PC will also be offered by Intel OEM partners Wipro and Zenith shortly.