During his Technology in Emerging Countries Keynote yesterday, Intel Chairman Craig Barrett also spoke about the role technology plays in further economic growth in developing countries. Barrett also highlighted a year-long program called the Small Things Challenge that is raising awareness, funds for education, micro-financing in fight against global poverty.

As you may know, Intel has launched a new version of its low cost Classmate PC at this CES, and it's a tablet. The new flexible design converts from a clamshell to a tablet mode and has a touch screen. According to Intel research with students and teachers, the 180-degree swivel design, rotational camera and touch screen encourage better classroom interaction.

The tablet has a 8.9-inch, 1024x600 display there's a 1.6GHz Atom chip under the hood. Solid state storage and SD are the storage options. There are also two USB ports and a VGA output. There may also be options for 3G and WiMAX.

Backpack friendly

"Education is one of the best ways to improve the future for individuals, villages, or nations," said Lila Ibrahim, general manager of the Intel Emerging Markets Platform Group, which developed the Classmate PC reference design.

"There are 1.3 billion school-age children around the world and of those only 5 per cent have access to a PC or the Internet. The IT industry has a huge opportunity to contribute to how technology can improve students' learning and students' lives. With our announcement today, Intel continues its long-standing commitment to advancing education through technology to transform lives around the world."

The Classmate also has a water-resistant keyboard and is also "backpack friendly" – able to withstand bumping in a backpack and accidental drops by students. In tablet mode, the screen also has a "palm rejection" feature, designed to allow the child to write more naturally by resting their palm on the touch screen.