Photos: Touch Classmate PC targets school kids

It should come as no surprise that the latest Classmate PC from Intel is the darling of the BETT tech and education show in London this week.

Not only is it the only big hardware announcement of the 25th BETT, but it combines two popular tech stories: netbooks and touchscreen.

The next-gen Classmate PC refocuses netbooks on the education market, where the idea originated after the Asus Eee PC targeted the education market following the bright idea of a cheap and cheerful device for kids from One Laptop Per Child.

While Asus and OLPC are both planning touchscreen versions of their devices, NEC will beat them to the punch in the UK, launching its version of the Classmate PC called the Otomo this week. Other versions of the new generation of the Classmate will also be sold through different vendors.

All versions of the Classmate will feature the same hardware specs 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, 1GB RAM, and a 60GB hard drive or 16GB flash drive so it's the operating system and the software, as well as the services offered by the vendor, that will be the differentiators in the long-run.

Indeed, NEC will be shipping its Otomo to schools alongside a system for teachers to monitor what their students are viewing on the device. Other firms have also partnered with Intel, including EasyBits, which is offering a kid-friendly skin of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Educational computing firm Fizzbook will also offer a version of the new Classmate PC, and told IT PRO it expects to ship the device for about 320 retail.

Click here for photos of the Otomo Classmate PC, and some of it's competitors.