Intel Reveals Fresh Slate Of Classmate PCs

San Francisco (CA) - Intel today announced a new line of products in its Classmate PC project, an initiative to create low-cost computers for disadvantaged children.

The Classmate PC is a rival to the initiative that started it all, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). The Classmate PC is somewhat more sophisticated, though. New features announced today include different display sizes (seven and nine inch), 30 GB hard drives and optional webcams.

The Classmate PC ranges in price from around $300 and $500. The OLPC's "XO laptop" was originally created to be a $100 computer, but added costs pushed that up to nearly $200 by the time it was finished.

Intel was originally part of the OLPC program, but the OLPC group wanted it to remain exclusive to its low-cost XO laptop and not get involved with other systems, such as the Classmate PC.

Intel introduced the Classmate late last year, in its own push to bring computers to children in third-world countries. "We've always said there will be many solutions. The most important priority is to serve the need," said Mulloy.

However, OLPC "wanted us to focus our support exclusively on the OLPC system," he said. The decision to pull out of OLPC came after six months of discussions between the two organizations.

The Classmate PC is different in its approach, though. It is selling the machines directly to American consumers, while the XO laptop is targeted exclusively at third-world countries.

Intel said it has sold "tens of thousands" of its Classmate PCs since they went on sale a little over a year ago. The OLPC group has sold hundreds of thousands of its lower-priced XO laptop.