Intel announced a pair of educational tablets that run Android 4.x on Atom Z24xx processors. The 10-inch and 7-inch Intel Education Tablets feature Intel educational software, dual cameras, temperature probes, magnification lenses, and stylus options.
Intel isn’t the only semiconductor vendor to enter the tablet market: After releasing its Nvidia Shield game console, Nvidia is now reported to be prepping its own new tablets. Yet the Intel Education Tablets are not focused on the hot consumer tablet market, but rather on K12 schools.
Intel’s 10-inch and 7-inch Education Tablets
Intel has been here before with Intel Education initiatives such as the still available, education-focused Intel Classmate PC-Convertible netbook/tablet hybrid. Whereas the Classmate runs Windows or Linux, the new tablets run Android: Android 4.1 in the case of the 7-inch model and Android 4.0 for the 10-inch model.
The reason for the difference in Android builds, as well as some other feature differences, may have to do with the slightly different architectures of the two tablets’ Atom processors. The 10-inch model uses the Z2460, a “Medfield” chip introduced a year ago, whereas the 7-inch unit’s Z2420 chip uses a similar, but newer “Lexington” architecture that debuted in Jan. 2013. Both chips are single-core, 32nm Atom processors of the Saltwell generation, but the Z2460 is equipped with a modest PowerVR SGX 540 GPU, while the Z2420 is a true system-on-chip with integrated Intel graphics.
The Z2460 on the 10-inch model has the higher clock rate, at 1.6GHz, but the 1.2GHz Z2420 on the 7-inch model is more power efficient, and offers an integrated dual-channel memory controller and extras like a dual-camera burst mode. Actually, both processors have been eclipsed by Intel’s new dual-core “Clover Trail+” Atom Z2520, Z2560, and Z2580 processors, which have emerged on Android devices this year.
The 10-inch tablet offers twice the flash allotment (16GB), a higher 1280 x 800 resolution, and a standard stylus instead of the 7-inch version. On the other hand, the 7-inch tablet provides features missing on its larger sibling, including a microSD slot, GPS, eCompass, and Bluetooth 3.0 instead of 2.1; and it also offers longer battery life, at eight hours.
Standard features on both Intel Education Tablets models include 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a micro-USB port, WiFi, audio I/O, and both 2- and 0.3-megapixel cameras. They also offer options including a temperature probe and a snap-on magnification lens for science learning. The tablets are both ruggedized with features including drop and water resistance (see specs list below).
Intel Education Software
As with the Classmate, the new Intel Education Tablets are loaded with Intel Education Software for K12 students and teachers, with a special focus on science. Intel Education and other educational outreach programs from tech firms and projects like the Raspberry Pi Foundation and BeagleBoard.org, are not only about tapping a vertical market or burnishing a do-gooder image. Intel desperately needs more trained engineers to keep it humming in the decades to come.
The Intel curriculum offers hands-on interactive educational applications, including PASCO’s SPARKvue laboratory application, an ArtRage art program, and for teachers, a Classroom Management application. Intel has teamed with Intellisense to provide camera imaging tools in its Lab Camera and Media camera apps, and it has partnered with Kno on digital textbooks and Mythware on eLearning by Mythware. Also available are MyScript Notes Mobile and Stylus Mobile apps for note-taking and handwriting lessons, respectively.
In addition to their Android 4.x operating systems, both tablets also come with the following Intel educational software applications:
- PASCO SPARKvue
- eLearning by Mythware
- Lab and Media Cameras by Intellisense
- MyScript Notes/Stylus Mobile
- Kno Textbooks
- Classroom Management (for teachers)
- Intel Education Resources (skool content, Khan Academy videos, British Council English Language; Intel digital literacy resources)
The applications are supported with Intel Education Resources, which includes school, science, and math videos from Khan Academy, and English language learning content from the British Council. Intel also offers its own digital literacy content.
The tablets also come with Intel Education Theft Deterrent and McAfee Mobile Security tools.
Intel Education Tablets specifications
The table below summarizes the specifications for both the 10-inch and 7-inch models.
|10-inch model||7-inch model|
|Processor||Intel single-core Atom Z2460 (“Medfield”) @ 1.6GHz||Intel single-core Atom Z2420 (“Lexington”) @ 1.2GHz|
|Flash||16GB eMMC||8GB; microSD slot|
|Display||1280 x 800 capacitive 5-point touch (16:10) with stylus||1024 x 600 multitouch (16:9); optional stylus|
|Wireless||802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 2.1 EDR||802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 3.0 (optional)|
|Camera||2MP rear; 0.3MP front|
|Audio||Integrated speaker and mic; audio I/O|
|Sensors||ambient light, accelerometer||ambient light, accelerometer, GPS, eCompass|
|Accessories||Temperature probe; snap-on magnification lens|
|Battery life||6600mAh (24.4 Whr); 6.5 hours||4200mAh (15.5 Whr); 7.8 hours|
|Ruggedization||IP41 (ingress resistance), water resistance; 50cm drop||IP41 (ingress resistance); water resistance; 60cm drop|
|Dimensions||272 x 174 x 13.2mm (10.7 x 6.9 x 0.52 inches)||200 x 122 x 9.95mm (7.9 x 4.8 x 0.39 in.)|
|Weight||689 g||355 g|
|OS||Android 4.0||Android 4.1|
The Intel Education Tablets appear to be available now, with pricing unstated. More information is available at the Intel Education Tablet website.