Intel unveils new generation of netbooks at CES

LAS VEGAS Fri Jan 9, 2009 11:45pm EST

1 of 9. Showgoers look at mobile internet device handheld computers at the Intel booth at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 9, 2009. The small computers are powered by the Intel Atom chipset.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Intel Corp rolled out on Friday the next generation of its netbook computers aimed at the education sector and emerging markets, touting the variety of ways technology is helping the world's poor.

Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker, unveiled the third generation of its Classmate PC netbook, which is made by local computer makers in a number of countries and runs on Intel's low-power Atom chip. The newest model features a touch screen and convertible tablet form.

The machine is designed to be rugged enough to withstand a pounding from schoolchildren. Intel says only 5 percent of the world's 1.3 billion school-age children have access to a PC or the Internet, and 75 million are not in school at all.

"Technology can be used in tremendous ways to impact people's lives on the ground," Intel Chairman Craig Barrett said during his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

He said technology such as mobile Internet devices and better connectivity offered by 3G, 4G and WiMax will allow poor nations to deliver vital education and health services.

As an example of how technology is being used to benefit emerging nations, he described a Warner Brothers video game that is being used for HIV awareness in Kenya.

In emerging nations, Barrett said, "Those that take advantage of technology are probably going to be the winners."

Earlier in the week Intel issued its second revenue warning on the fourth quarter.

Chip and chip equipment companies throughout the industry have been shedding jobs as the global economy slows. However, Intel said it is comfortable with the current size of its headcount.

"While we haven't made specific projections on the size of the workforce, the restructuring we did in 2006 has put us in a good position to weather the current economic environment," Intel spokesman Tom Beermann said Friday in an e-mailed statement.

(To see blog posts from the Consumer Electronics Show, please visit MediaFile at blogs.reuters.com/mediafile. For other CES stories, see here)

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; editing by Carol Bishopric, Richard Chang)

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