Dell announced today a slew of new products that include a Windows laptop, a pair of tablets that grant the choice between running Android or Windows 8 and a Chromebook built for students.
The new devices are aimed to be used in classrooms complete with “schoolyard tough” builds designed to withstand all the bumps, drops and spills of daily student life. For example, all products are encased in rubberized trim to help absorb the shock from drops.
The most interesting of the new devices is the second-generation Chromebook 11, which replaces last year's model. It features a 180-degree hinge design that ought to keep the integrity of the hinge intact should students decide to play rough with the laptop. Dell also sealed the Chromebook’s keyboard and trackpad in a liquid-resistant covering made to protect it from the inevitable juice or milk spill.
Furthermore, the Gorilla Glass-covered, 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 display can be configured with either a touchscreen or an anti-glare panel. As for its innards, the schoolyard Chromebook runs a new Intel Celeron CPU, works on a faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio and can stay charged up to 10 hours on its battery.
The piece de resistance, however, is the “activity light” on the lid that glows different colors depending on context. For example, a student could have the light shine one color when they have a question, or another when they want to raise their hand. Dell already has a laptop for kids with an LED indicator that shows if kids are online, but the tech firm imagines even more uses like teachers splitting classes into discussion groups by assigning students colors or students using colors to cast votes in classroom elections.
“The classroom is changing quickly, and innovative technology is a major way for students to enjoy a collaborative educational experience,” said Sam Burd, vice president and general manager, Dell Personal Computing Product Group . “Education devices need to be really robust to make it through a school district’s life cycle. They also need to be powerful and flexible enough to suit individual learning needs, and make collaborating within the classroom simple. Our latest education solutions give students, teachers and IT managers the tools they need to provide an engaging learning experience.”