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Product Focus

Achieving one to one with netbooks.

Netbooks were the subject of a lot of attention in education about two years ago; many saw these inexpensive, compact versions of laptops as the devices that would finally enable one-to-one computing to become commonplace in K12. Today, even though new devices have appeared—namely, tablets like the iPad—and taken much of the spotlight in the discussion, netbooks remain a viable and inexpensive option for creating a one-to-one program.

Many manufacturers see K12 as a still-fertile market for netbook sales and have responded by designing models outfitted with education-friendly features, like durable rubberized cases, built-in carrying handles, and preinstalled curriculum software. As a result, large implementations of hundreds or even thousands of netbooks in districts continue, including recent rollouts in the Detroit Public Schools and the Northwest Independent (Texas) School District. Here are a few of the many education-friendly netbooks on the market to consider using in your district.



Latitude 2120

Starts at $474

Dell's rugged netbook designed for education includes features such as a rubberized casing, 10.1-inch screen and Intel Atom processors. A wide variety of options allow users to customize the device for their needs, including a built-in carrying strap, a multitouch display, integrated webcam, 6-cell battery for extended life, a choice of Windows or Linux operating systems, external DVD drive, solid-state drive, antimicrobial keyboard, and a Dell mobile cart for charging and transporting many units at once.



Companion Touch 10

Starts at $499

M&A Technology partnered with publisher McGraw-Hill and chipmaker Intel to develop the Companion Touch 10, a convertible touchscreen device intended for elementary students. The industry collaboration gives districts the advantage of purchasing the durable Inteldesigned netbooks with content from McGraw-Hill or other curriculum sources preinstalled, including elementary literacy program LEAD21 and K6 math program CINCH Mathematics.



Eee PC

$289, $449

The Eee PC from Asus was one of the first true netbooks on the market several years ago. The latest models are the 1015B, a 10.1-inch unit with a single- or dual-core AMD processor, up to 2GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive, and the 1215B, a 12.1-inch model with up to 4GB of RAM. Each model provides up to 8 hours of battery life, includes an HDMI port for displaying high-definition content on an external display, and is available in either matte or glossy finishes and a variety of colors.



Aspire One

Starts at $329

Acer offers its Aspire One netbooks in 8.9-inch, 10.1-inch or ultraslim 11.6-inch sizes. Models can weigh as little as 2.2 pounds and offer a choice of Intel or AMD processors, up to 4GB of RAM, and the option of the Windows 7 operating system, which are rare features in the netbook segment. Acer also offers services to help districts implement one-to-one computing initiatives, including custom-built support plans and marketing assistance to help administrators communicate their one-to-one vision.





Samsung's NB30 offers features to ensure durability in a school environment, including a rubberized casing, water-resistant keyboard, scratch-resistant fi nish and a free-fall sensor, which prevents damage to the hard drive if the unit is dropped. Additional features include a 10.1-inch screen, Intel Atom processor, Windows 7 operating system, webcam and 250GB of hard drive capacity. The NB30 weighs 2.78 pounds and includes a standard 6-cell battery, which provides 9.5 hours of use on a single charge.



Mini 1103


Hewlett-Packard's netbook for professional use includes a 10.1-inch WSVGA resolution screen, reinforced hinges for durability, integrated webcam and a spill-resistant keyboard that is 93 percent of full-size, all in a unit that weighs just 2.78 pounds. The Mini 1103 also includes integrated Bluetooth wireless technology, an HP QuickSync feature that synchronizes data across devices, a choice of Intel Atom N455 or N475 processors, and 3-cell or 6-cell battery configurations.

Other netbook makers include Toshiba, Lenovo/IBM, Gateway, MSI and Sony.