Second generation of Classmate netbook hits UK

Intel's second-generation Classmate netbook is heading to the UK, courtesy of NEC.

The machine will be rebranded the Otomo, but otherwise follow the reference specification seen in the devices displayed at Intel's booth at the Consumer Electronic Show.

The standout feature of the design is an 8.9in 1,024 x 600 touchscreen display that can swivel flat, turning the netbook into a tablet.

The Classmate is aimed at education and has been developed with a number of child-friendly features, including a reinforced frame, water-resistant keyboard and palm rejection technology that means users can rest on the screen while writing without it being registered as an input.

An inbuilt accelerometer will automatically lock the hard drive when the device is dropped, preventing damage. There's also a sensor that will switch the netbook from portrait to landscape depending on orientation.

Beneath the hood, the Classmate is fairly standard netbook fare, powered by the ubiquitous 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, 1GB RAM and a 60GB hard drive, or 16GB flash drive. Alongside the Wi-Fi connection, there's also a SD slot, two USB ports and a VGA video output.

Though it runs Windows XP, Intel has overlaid the operating system with a customised touchscreen interface featuring large, friendly icons.

NEC is also touting the remote management software that allows teachers to update students' machines from their own desk. The netbook can be set to run only between certain hours, and anti-theft technology means that should the netbook not connect to the school server at specific times it will shutdown.

NEC will unveiling the Otomo at the BETT education conference. Pricing and release dates have yet to be revealed.