Intel has announced the launch of its 7-inch tablet encased in rugged plastic, created specifically for use in the education market. The tablets, called Intel studybooks, are expected to cost less than $200 each, says Kapil Wadhera, the general manager of Intel's education market platforms group, according to the Wall Street Journal's tech blog Digits. That price is less than half the starting price of a new iPad (which starts at $499).
Its durability and low price is reminiscent of the "$100" laptop, created by the organization One Laptop Per Child. In the end, prices for the laptops grew beyond the $100 price point when the product was released in 2007, but the organization recently introduced a low-cost tablet in January expected to be priced at $100 or less.
The studybook comes with front and rear cameras (which can be turned into microscopes for science experiments with a special lens), a microphone, and an LCD touch screen. The tablet is designed to withstand falls from student desks and is water and dust resistant. According to Christopher Dawson from the ZDNet Education blog, who was able to demo the product, the base model will come with 4 GB of storage and Wi-Fi capabilities, with the option to upgrade to a 3G network, Gorilla Glass, or more storage (for an increased but yet-undisclosed price). The device will run either the Android or Windows operating systems.
In addition, the studybook is compatible with Intel's network of education service providers, software providers, and digital content called the Intel Learning Series. And according to Christopher Dawson's blog post, e-textbook provider Kno will be providing e-reading software for the devices as well as K-12 content.
There's no word on when exactly the tablets will hit the market, so it's unclear whether schools will embrace the studybook as a viable alternative to the hugely successful iPad anytime soon. But the studybook definitely has the iPad beat in at least one category—price—which is hard to ignore for some cash-strapped districts.