Although it was introduced primarily as a rival to the OLPC XO laptop, Intel’s Classmate PC is now set to become available in the developed world as well as the developing one.

Analysts believe that the EU and US Classmate will be primarily targeted at the education sector. To this effect, Intel has already run a number of pilot tests with the laptop in US schools in Texas, Oregon and California.

It’s also expected that the Intel Classmate sold to US and European markets will operate on the Windows platform rather than Linux and feature more advanced architecture than the model sold to developing nations.

Component questions

To date Intel has declined to comment on what components will feature inside the EU and US-bound model, who is supplying them and what specific features the 'new' Classmate will boast in addition to previous models. However, analysts have already dubbed the model a ‘second generation’ Classmate.

Reuters reports that a senior Intel spokesperson said the laptops would sell for between $250 and $350 (£125-£175). Of course, this doesn’t account for the standard ‘rip-off Britain’ premium. We’d expect them to cost at least £200, if not more, by the time they really do land on UK shores.

Given the huge success of the Asus Eee in the ‘developed’ world along with disappointing sales of the XO and Classmate to ‘developing’ nations it seems the altruistic notion of building affordable PCs for distribution in poorer parts of the world is in danger of being replaced by the much more lucrative business model of simply flogging pared-down, no-frills PCs to students in comparatively rich countries.

Or are we just being cynical again?