Under its The World Ahead Program, which is designed to "enhance lives by accelerating access to uncompromised technology for everyone, anywhere in the world", Intel launched the Intel Classmate PC – a low cost UMPC aimed at children in developing nations, just like OLPC’s XO.

The original 7in Intel Classmate PC had an 800x480 colour LCD screen, 512MB of memory, a 2GB hard drive and a low-powered version of Intel's Celeron M processor.

Available with either Linux or Windows XP, the original 1.45kg Intel Classmate PC also benefitted from a water resistant keyboard and touchpad as well as a built-in speaker and microphone, two USB 2.0 ports and one 1 SD slot.

In April this year, Intel unveiled the second-generation Intel Classmate PC. Also built on the Celeron M processor, the upgraded UMPC features 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and mesh network capabilities as well as an optional 9in LCD screen, a six-cell battery, a 30 GB hard disk and an integrated webcam. The second-generation Intel Classmate PC will be available to PC vendors in a range of configurations, but will retain the same basic design.

Intel view the Classmate PC as just one of a range of low-cost laptops now being developed that the chip maker calls 'netbooks' and it has already hinted that future versions of the Classmate will be built with it’s Atom processor.

Although it’s not currently available to UK consumers, plans are afoot to bring the Intel Classmate PC to UK and Europe later this year. It’s expected to be be priced between £125 and £175.

OUR VERDICT

It remains to be seen just how useful the Intel Classmate PC will be, but we can't wait to get our hands on one to find out.