FETC 2010: Hardware

HP Mini 5102 Red - Angle
HP Mini 5102 Red

Computer manufacturer Asus showcased products ranging from mini-notebooks to high-powered desktop replacements. These include the Eee PC Series of lightweight, portable notebooks for students; the Eee Box Series of energy-efficient “nettop” devices, equipped with the Express Gate mini-operating system, that let users access the internet and other desktop machines; the Eee Top Series of touch-screen devices that include a computer inside of a monitor, running touch-optimized software; and notebooks and LCD monitors.

HP demonstrated several new products aimed at schools, including a multi-touch netbook, called the HP Mini 5102; a touch-sensitive tablet computer, the HP TouchSmart tm2; an all-in-one desktop PC, the HP Pro MS200; and new workstations for schools’ high-end computing needs, such as computer aided design (CAD), graphic design, and gaming.

The HP Mini 5102 has a 10.1-inch screen, a metal casing, and a spill-resistant keyboard that is 92 percent of the size of a full-sized keyboard. It is multi-touch enabled, meaning users can pinch, grab, and rotate images on the screen. It runs Windows 7 with an Intel Atom processor, comes in multiple colors, and starts at $399 (although the multi-touch version costs $50 more), with volume discounts available—a price that could help schools more feasibly implement one-to-one computing programs, HP said. The student version comes pre-loaded with the Digital School Suite of content creation software from Adobe.

The HP TouchSmart tm2 is a tablet PC with a keyboard and rotating screen that converts the device into a laptop or slate format. Users can interact with the device by using the keyboard, writing with a stylus, or touching the screen. It includes handwriting-recognition software that can convert written notes into a text-based Word file automatically, making it a useful tool for taking notes in class or in the field, HP said. The TouchSmart tm2 starts at $899.

HP TouchSmart tm2
HP TouchSmart tm2

The HP Pro MS200 is an all-in-one desktop PC that is Energy Star 5.0 compliant, saving schools both space and energy, HP said. The company also unveiled a new entry-level workstation, the Z200, that is priced like a desktop but offers more computing power for schools that need it. In addition, HP showcased two new mobile workstations, the EliteBook 8440w and 8540w, that are more expensive but allow users to take the machines home for completing CAD or graphics assignments.

NComputing launched a USB-based virtual desktop kit, the U170. Based on more than 10 years of product development and refinement, the U170 is a high-speed USB 2.0 peripheral that automatically assigns to a user any other USB device attached to it, such as a keyboard or mouse. The U170 is an easy way for several students to share the processing power of a single computer, the company says.

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