A couple of months after Intel unveiled the Education 2-in-1 convertible laptop designed for student use, Panasonic yesterday launched a similar education-themed 3E hybrid tablet at the International Society for Technology in Education Conference.

Part of Panasonic's connected classroom solutions, which also includes projectors, whiteboards, and professional displays, the 3E (short for the comapny's "engage students, empower teachers, enable IT" tagline) is designed to be used by anyone from kindergarten to high school.

"Delivering a student device was not our goal; we wanted to deliver the solution to the challenges faced specifically by K-12 students and educators", said Rance Poehler, president of the Panasonic System Communications Company of North America.

The tablet sports a 10-inch 1366 x 768 LCD five-point touch display, 2GB of RAM, 1.3-GHz Atom Z3740D quad-core chip from Intel, stylus, integrated 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, as well as either 32GB or 64GB of flash storage. It also includes a thermometer probe, on-board cameras (1.2 megapixels in the front, 5 megapixels in the rear), and an add-on magnification lens.

The 3E is powered by Windows 8.1 for Education, and includes software like SPARKvue for data analysis, ArtRage for digital painting, Kno interactive textbooks, Microsoft OneNote for note-taking, and more. The company claims 8 hours of battery life between charges, and there's also an optional keyboard with built-in battery.

Considering the kind of rough handling and abuse the tablet might get in a classroom setting, the company has designed it to be water and dust resistant.The 3E is also able to withstand a 70-cm drop.

Although the device will be priced beginning at $499, the company will offer it at a discount for poorer school districts.