Intel has announced a reference design for a new 7-inch tablet that can run either Microsoft's Windows 7 or Google's Android operating systems. It's not exactly the Medfield-based device that popped up in a rumor last week, but the premise is the same: extending the company's Classmate PC efforts with a cheap and rugged Atom powered tablet destined for students in developing countries.
The Studybook is constructed from a single piece of plastic designed to resist liquid spills and survive up to a 27-inch drop to concrete. It also has a rubber band reinforcing the bezel and around the ports to keep sand and other elements out. Weighing in at 525 grams, the reference design includes a 1.2 GHz Intel Z650 Atom "Oak Trail" CPU, 1GB of RAM, a 1,024-by-600 pixel capacitive touch screen, USB 2.0, HDMI, microSD / SIM slots, Wi-Fi, dual cameras and varying amounts of built in flash storage: from 4GB to 32GB.
Battery life is rated at 5.5 hours on active usage, according to Intel, which pales in comparison to the iPad and a few Android tablet achieving around 10 hours of runtime on a single charge.
On the software side, the tablet can run either Windows 7 or Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" -- the former will reportedly come first and the Android version will be ready by midsummer. Intel will bundle e-reader, note-taking and drawing apps, as well as digital textbooks from Kno.com and other education oriented apps.
The Studybook will not be manufactured directly by Intel, but rather by licensees who will distribute it to local OEMs. This means pricing is not up to Intel either, but the company believes that manufacturers who use this design can sell the finished product at a price between $199 to $299.
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