RM combines sleek design with full PC functions for its impressive new learning pad
Most ICT-in-learning observers have been expecting Android tablets to rise to Apple's iPad challenge, but RM will this week introduce the most convincing, open alternative so far for schools. It's cheaper too, at £399.
The RM Slate PC is a Windows 7 learning pad with 11.6-inch multi-touch screen, front-facing 1.3 megapixel webcam, Bluetooth, wifi, Intel processor, 2Gb of memory and flash-memory hard drive, OMTP audio connector, 2 USB ports and one mini-HDMI, plus slots for SD and SIM cards. It's a 'proper' computer that gives users access to everything they would normally use including Flash.
Users have access to all the movies, music, photos and ebooks expected of a device like the iPad, along with all the sites and site features which depend on Adobe's Flash (which is said to run very quickly). So the new tablet will have considerable appeal for schools attracted by the iPad but not by Apple's locked-down ecosystem.
The full connectivity means that it can also be used with most of the other technology found in schools, including data-loggers and sensors. PC users will also find it more useful when out of range of wifi services because the RM Slate PC is a Windows 7 computer that will run the programs they have on their other computers, particularly those that aren't reliant on internet connection. It's very much a learning pad for the rest of us.
The RM Slate PC has been designed exclusively for school use
The RM Slate PC is now available for purchase and will be delivered from November 15. It has been designed exclusively for school use and is housed in a strong magnesium alloy case with rubberised grip finish. It measures 295mm long x195mm wide x14mm thick and weighs just under a kilo. Battery life is a minimum of three hours – something RM hopes to improve – and it features a compact, lightweight charger. Optional extras include a dock, stylus and keyboard.
RM's Group PR manager Rebecca Bleasdale last week showed a working pre-production model to the press and revealed some more developments coming from the company. The slate will be followed by a stylus-driven RM miniTablet100 with 10-inch swivel screen and Atom processor for £350.
Schools should expect further touch-screen developments from RM. "We are at the start of 'touch' and we don't want to dictate how schools and learners will be using this technology so we will be listening carefully to feedback," she said.
The company will also be launching wireless battery charging for digital devices under the brand name Wild Charge, and it has a new video version of it's popular Podium podcasting software for "vodcasting". Podium Video will make video podcasting easier and more accessible for Windows users and should appear within a couple of weeks. The popular RM range of Easiteach whiteboard software has also been further developed, and for a range of technologies and languages. Deals have already been struck with other countries, including India.
One of the key RM messages from Rebecca Bleasdale was the company's focus on making available 'best of breed' products and services for its customers, along with an open policy of working with a range of industry partners that include Microsoft, Apple, Intel and Google. In fact it's probably not entirely coincidental that Google enterprise education evangelist Ross Mahon will be at RM to talk about "Adopting Technology in an Education Environment" at its Learning Platform User Forums on October 12-13
RM Slate PC technical specifications:
Windows 7 (Professional or Home Premium); 11.6-inch multi-touch screen with three-way rotation; front-facing 1.3 megapixel webcam; microphone; 2 built-in speakers; Bluetooth 2.1; wifi (802.11b/g/n - 5GHz to follow); Intel Pineview-M processor (1.66GHz); 2Gb of memory; 32Gb flash drive; OMTP jack (for audio in and out); 2 USB and one mini-HDMI; SD and SIM card slots; dock connector; 295x195x14mm; 995g; optional extras include stylus, dock and keyboard.