The perfect student laptops are small, light and cheap - exactly what a netbook is. Mini laptops were originally designed for educational purposes, there smaller size and relatively low cost ideal for schools and students.
However, studies show that 70% of the netbook market is likely to be consumers. None the less, there are mini laptops specifically developed for education, most child-orientated models weighing less than a kilo and being no bigger than the average textbook.
The first netbook produced, the Asus Eee PC 701 is available in several different variants. The ‘2G Surf’, is the lowest spec and cheapest model available in the entire Eee PC range, but is still very good value for money, retailing at beneath £200.
The Surf models in the Eee PC 701 range come without the inbuilt webcam and have a slightly derated battery fitted. None the less, they still come with either Windows XP or Linux, Intel Celeron M Processor, 512MB of memory and over 40 pre-installed applications and yet it still weighs less than a kilo. The Eee PC 2G Surf is also marketed as the RM Asus Minibook for educational establishments within the UK.
The One Laptop Per Child Foundation’s XO laptop is specifically designed for education, in rugged conditions where power and connections aren’t necessarily readily available. The OLPC is a charitable foundation which delivers XO laptops to children in third world countries, in doing so providing them with an education.
Intel, the chipmaker, have produced the Classmate PC as part of the ‘Intel Education Initiative’ and ‘Intel World Program’ where Intel spends $100 million a year on training, teaching and providing resources for teachers and students – to produce the next generation of innovators. The Classmate PC is a commercial product, designed with similar specs to the XO laptop, although aimed at second-stage developing countries who can afford to buy student laptops.
Pilot project in Nigeria, where the Classmate PC has helped change the classroom