New Computers for K-12, pt. 1

A 2003 U.S. Census survey found that among school children, ages 3 to 17, 14% didn’t have computer access at home or at school, and similarly 44% didn’t have Internet access. Among students ages 15 to 17, 5% hadn’t used a computer, and 20% hadn’t used the Internet.


Since then, more schools have adopted one to one computing programs to provide each student with their own portable computer for use at home and school.

The computer of choice for function, portability, and low cost has been the “ultra-mobile pc” platform. Ultra-mobile PCs began appearing in 2006. These PCs are:

  • about the size of a large paperback book
  • smaller than the typical laptop
  • screens are 7 to 9 inches wide
  • weighs less than 3 pounds
  • shockproof to withstand drops and bumps

In January 2008, the third generation of ultra-mobile PCs began to appear. Many of these run on either Windows or Linux, have wireless Internet access, and word processing and spreadsheet applications (like Excel). Many sell for less than $390.

Intel Classmate
(www.classmatepc.com)

This computer is designed with students up to age 14 in mind. It has WiFi (wireless Internet), a water-resistant keyboard, a built in microphone, and an optional digital camera. It also has a special feature called “mesh networking” that allows it to connect to other Classmate PCs within 300 feet. This allows students to work together on projects and share information. Price: About $350. View photo gallery

Asus Eee PC (usa.asus.com)

Asus’s entry into the ultra-mobile PC market is available in 5 different models ranging from $300 to $550. This shock-proof device has a screen that measures 7 inches wide, and it is preloaded with either Windows or Linux, WiFi, 3 USB ports, built-in card reader, speakers, and microphone. Some models include a camera. Available in white, blue, black, pink, and green.

Linux models:

  • 2G Surf: 7 inch screen, wireless and wired Internet, 512 MB RAM (memory), 2 GB storage, weighs 2 pounds with battery.
  • 4G: Same as the 4G Surf below, plus a webcam.
  • 4G Surf: Same as 2G Surf with 4 GB storage.
  • PC 900: 8.9 inch screen, 1 GB RAM (memory), 20 GB storage, webcam, and weighs 2.18 pounds with battery.

Windows models include the PC 900, and the 4G with specifications as shown above.

Check back in the next few days for additional information and models in the ultra-mobile PC line. All the models discussed are ideal for school students. As always, comment or ask questions with the links below, and subscribe by email or RSS news feed.


Asus Eee PC 900
Windows, Black

Asus Eee PC 900
Windows, White

Asus Eee PC 900
Linux, White

Asus Eee PC 900
Linux, Black

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