Laptop test drives Intel Classroom convertible

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The Intel Classroom notebook certainly qualifies as a netbook due to the small size and relatively low price.  The Classroom is aimed squarely at the education field, young children in particular, as the name implies.  Laptop Magazine reports that Intel will be showing a convertible Classroom at the upcoming CES in January.  The convertible Classroom is a typical 8.9-inch netbook with a twist.  The screen swivels around to tablet form and can be operated by touch.

We are not fans of touch-screen netbooks unless the device can assume a slate configuration so it’s good to see Intel approach this from the swiveling angle.  What remains to be seen is how well the palm rejection works since the touch-screen is meant to be used for handwriting in addition to the touch controls.  Windows XP Tablet Edition, Microsoft’s only version of XP that supports handwriting and touch, is no longer available to OEMs so Laptop reports that a specially developed interface and utilities have been produced to take advantage of the tablet capabilities.  They were impressed with how well this worked which sounds very promising.

The pictures we have seen of the convertible Classroom show a nice slate form with the screen swiveled and while that is nice there is no indication of the weight of the netbook.  This device is designed to be used by small children and since slate mode usually requires handheld operation the weight will be critical to its success.  It looks over 4 pounds heavy in the photos but let’s hope it’s much lighter than that.  We’ll try to get a first-hand look at this new Classmate when we attend the CES in just a few weeks.

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