Dell introduces Netbooks for K-12 education

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The OLPC, the Intel Classmate, and now….the Dell Latitude 2100 Netbook with a 10.1″ touchscreen. All of these devices are in the $500 and under range and targetted for K-12. Kind of cool isn’t it?

What makes the Latitude 2100 stand out is its rubberized padding and an optional SSD, 6-cell battery, touchscreen, and Windows (Linux is standard). There’s also a mobile docking cart that students can slide the PCs into at the end of the day for recharging and potential network updates.

The price? Starts at $369. How can a school budget say no? Well, I guess by the time you’ve added all the options, you’re way north of $369, so maybe you better watch your purchase authority.

Here’s a more complete list of specs from the Lionel Menchaca blogging at Dell:

“Latitude 2100 netbooks come in five fun primary colors: School Bus Gold, Chalkboard Black, Ball Field Green, Blue Ribbon and Schoolhouse Red. To see pictures of these colors and more, take a look at this Flickr set on our Dell page. We’ll offer with several operating system options, including Ubuntu 8.10, Windows XP Home or Vista Home Basic.

The Latitude 2100 utilizes Intel’s 945GSE chipset. Here’s other important specs and options:

Intel Atom N270 processor
Up to 1GB fixed RAM; Additional memory slot to accommodate up to 2GB RAM total
Display: 1024×576 LED screen, optional touch screen
Storage options: standard hard drive options up to 250GB; SSD drive up to 16GB
Battery: 3 and 6-cell battery options
Wired Connectivity: 10/100/1000Mb Gigabit Ethernet
Wireless Connectivity: 802.11g standard, option 802.11n
Ports: 3 USB, VGA, headphone/speaker out, mic
Expansion slot: SD/ MMC card reader “

Dell blogger Enrique Tapia has some more education oriented details here including a link to this video about connected classrooms:

OK, so what about touch here? Are we talking Tablet PC? And how might this fit in with Windows 7? Well, I don’t have very good news. It’s not going to help that much. Let’s just say there’s touch and then there’s touch.

In this case, we’re clearly talking resistive. That keeps the price down, but definitely makes it incompatible with the smooth touch scrolling in Windows 7. So upgrading to Windows 7 Home or Express or whatever it’s called, isn’t going to buy anything in terms of touch. No handwriting recognition, no math input panel, no smooth scrolling for reading, no multi-touch. Indeed, just about everything that makes pen and touch features ideal for K-12 education isn’t supported. The hardware is close. The software courtesy of Microsoft is not. What a missed opportunity.

Tell me: It exactly why isn’t Windows XP Tablet PC Edition available on the Dell 2100 with touch? Can anyone tell me? Yes, I understand that schools can simply wipe out the OS with a site licensed version of XP Tablet Edition, but that’s silly. That guarantees that there’s absolutely no way to market the excellent ink and touch features to schools. None. How can a salesperson demo something that’s not being sold? Instead, people have to infer what can be done.

At least Intel is working with their Classmate ecosystem to supply handwriting recognition and the like. My suggestion to Evernote or anyone else that supports crossplatform ink here is to step up and claim this market. Until Microsoft gets its act together, you might as well become the key supplier of all things ink in at least K-6.

This most exciting offering from Dell continues to point out a huge whole in the Tablet strategy. Tablet features continue to be marketed as a premium feature despite the obvious trend to making these exact same features widely available in the hardware. Folks, this is the UMPC dream come true albeit with a keyboard. The prices are now getting reasonable. However, where’s the ink support? The handwriting recognition? The math support? Do you see what’s going on here? I do. Does Microsoft’s marketing?

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I wonder about the battery life –

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five fun primary colors: School Bus Gold, Chalkboard Black, Ball Field Green, Blue Ribbon and Schoolhouse Red. ROTFLOL. Goofy –

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13 years ago

"What makes the Latitude 2100 stand out is its rubberized padding and an optional SSD, 6-cell battery, touchscreen, and Windows (Linux is standard). There’s also a mobile docking cart that students can slide the PCs into at the end of the day for recharging and potential network updates."

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I should buy one and give it a try in the classroom – hmmm –

This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed