Intel intros new rugged convertible Classmate PC, doubles as e-reader

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Intel has unveiled its new convertible Classmate PC aimed at students from kindergarten through high school. Rugged in design, the laptop should be able to withstand life inside a backpack, with features including a durable low-profile handle, improved performance in drop test (from desk height), HDD protection, a water-resistant keyboard, touchpad and screen, bump and scratch resistant husk, and an optional anti-microbial keyboard.

The new convertible Classmate notebook is powered by a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, making the system 20% more power efficient (about 8.5 hours on a six-cell battery). Also under the hood is an accelerometer and Wi-Fi, while 3G and WiMAX are optional. Its 10.1-inch 1024x600 resistive touchscreen (no multitouch) rotates to transform the system into a tablet-like device.

The notebook includes a touch-optimized e-reader application with support for mainstream file formats, handwriting recognition in several localized languages, improved note-taking software, a "palm resting" feature that ignores hands resting on the screen, an ergonomic stylus, a rotatable camera, a mic, and "instant collaborator" software.

Intel isn't selling the new convertible Classmate PC directly to consumers, so you'll have to seek out a third-party vendor to get your hands on one.

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