Portugal to Buy 500,000 Classmate PCs


The Magellan Initiative, a new program launched as part of Portugal's education technology plan to help the country better participate in the emerging knowledge-based economy, was announced in conjunction with chip-maker Intel on Wednesday.

Under the plan, Portugal will buy 500,000 Intel-based Classmate PCs, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates and Intel's Chairman Craig Barrett announced.

The Classmate PC is a fully functional Intel-based PC designed for students and is shock and water resistant.

"This new collaboration with Intel underscores Portugal's commitment to advance quickly toward a knowledge-based economy," said Socrates, in a statement. "By equipping our schools with state-of-the-art computing technology and Internet connectivity, we hope to hasten the transition to economic models that benefit our citizens."

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"We enthusiastically support Portugal's commitment to a comprehensive technological plan for education," said Barrett.

Intel's global technology initiative hopes to improve economic and social conditions in developing countries through technology, and Intel's Classmate PC are part of that project. Intel is providing training and support to Portugal and is planning to create a "Competence Center" in the country to expand the use of mobile PCs and Internet access.

Portugal's decision to go with Intel's Classmate PC over the laptops produced by the One Laptop Per Child project, the brainchild of MIT's media lab, has been called a "nail in the coffin" of the OLPC project by the media. The OLPC project has received about 600,000 orders for its laptops and has been mired down in internal disputes. OLPC has also had a rocky relationship with Intel.