The first and second generation of Intel’s Classmate PC designs were quite obviously designed for educational markets. Like most netbooks, the Classmate PCs tend to have 7 to 9 inch displays, full (if a bit cramped) keyboards, and a clamshell laptop design. But unlike most netbooks, the Classmate PC tends to feature a ruggedized design that makes it a bit more resistant to scrapes and scuffs, but also makes it look a bit toy-like.
But when it comes to the Classmate 3, which has the same Fisher Price-like design, I couldn’t care less. Because the Classmate 3 has a touchscreen and a swiveling display which will make it the first convertible tablet PC with a sub-$500 price tag. Sure, it still has that silly handle on the back of the unit with a spot for students to write their names. But a cheap tablet is a cheap tablet. And while the Classmate 3 is targeted squarely at educational markets, some retailers including CTL plan to sell netbooks based on the design directly to consumers in the US and other regions.
Yesterday a whole bunch of Classmate 3 documents made their way to the FCC web site. You can find the user manual, a few photos, and a bunch of test reports for things you don’t really care about. Oh, and if you’re trying to figure out whether you can power up the netbook with some extra memory, storage, or a 3G modem, I’ve posted a bunch of photos of the netbook’s insides after the break.
Click on any image to see a higher resolution version.