SAN JOSE, Calif. Intel Corp. will make a fresh foray into low-cost PCs at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, launching a tablet-style netbook for students. The company also will show a personal area network technology for linking Wi-Fi devices.
Intel will debut at CES its so-called Learning Series of hardware, software and services for global education markets. The family includes a small notebook with a touch screen that folds into a tablet and is aimed at children.
OEMs from the U.S. will discuss their plans for rolling out systems based on the Intel designs. Intel has been testing its so-called classmate PCs with teachers and students in the U.S., some of whom will be on hand for the launch January 9, according to a media advisory released by Intel.
Later that day at CES, Intel chairman Craig Barrett will deliver a talk on technology and education in developing markets. Whether the company's latest efforts will be more successful that several previous industry approaches remains to be seen.
Intel, Microsoft, Advanced Micro Devices and others have developed multiple generations of low-cost systems aimed at education markets, especially in the developing world. Hitting the right costs and features with the right business model has been a challenge for many of the efforts such as One Laptop Per Child which aimed to deliver a $100 system in volume.
Qualcomm is the latest company to jump into the fray with its sub-$400 Kayak system. Microsoft has been retooling a novel pay-as-you-go approach called FlexGo for selling PCs through service providers. AMD sold off in early 2007 the assets of its first attempt to deliver low cost PCs for developing countries.
Separately, Intel said it will debut at CES "a new kind of personal area network that connects laptops to all your Wi-Fi enabled consumer devices like cameras, printers, photo frames and more."
The company would not provide more details. Anything that enhances Wi-Fi is in Intel's best interests, given it is baked into all its notebook chip sets. Others such as startup Ozmo have tried to leverage Wi-Fi for use as a personal area network.
Several Intel executives will speak on panels or other events at CES, promoting the company's products and technology agendas. The list includes the Atom processor for netbooks and other mobile systems and WiMax, Intel's preferred fourth-generation wireless technology which it aims to bake into future notebooks.
The company will also discuss progress getting its Canmore X86 system-on-chip designed into digital TVs. The chip is part of a broad initiative to develop software to bring Internet services to digital TVs in the form of software widgets.