Companies have been trying to transform education with computers for decades, with mixed results. But there is new enthusiasm for the possibilities represented by tablets, and Intel has a new entry.
The chip giant on Tuesday is introducing what it calls the studybook, a portable device with a seven-inch touchscreen that is encased in particularly rugged plastic. Like its prior entries in education, Intel designed the device but expects it to be branded, customized and sold by hardware companies to reach students in emerging and industrialized countries.
Pricing is expected to be established by those partners, and may depend on factors such as software and hardware add-ons. But the tablets should start at less than $200 each, says Kapil Wadhera, general manager of Intel’s education market platforms group.
Hitting price points well below the iPad–with its $499 starting price–is essential in underdeveloped countries. Affordability has been a major goal for prior efforts such as One Laptop Per Child; the nonprofit was formed around the idea of a $100 laptop, a target it didn’t hit initially, but in January the group discussed a new tablet that is expected to be priced around that level.
Size and durability are also essential, helping schools extend the learning process outside the classroom and making it more feasible for students to take devices home.