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Intel Corp. and Portugal have signed a memorandum of understanding under which the former will sell and help to deploy 500 thousand of Classmate PCs to the latter. The Portuguese government is providing educational PCs to school children receiving basic education under its Magellan initiative that complements the e-Escola program.

Intel will provide technology advice and support to the Portuguese government in managing, promoting and implementing the e-Escola and Magellan initiatives. Intel also plans to create a “Competence Centre” in Portugal to expand the use of mobile PCs and Internet access and use that knowledge to replicate pilot projects in other countries.

Under the Magellan Initiative, the country’s half-million children receiving basic education will get educational PCs over the course of the coming school year through Portugal’s Ministry of Public Works, Transportation and Communications (MOPTC).

Intel will serve as the government’s technology advisor for the Magellan Initiative, as it did with Portugal’s existing e-Escola subsidy program for older students. Intel is providing advice on needed infrastructure and training, as well as designing the student laptops that will form the bases of the program. The full-functional classmate PCs are designed for young students; the systems are compact, simple to use, water- and shock-resistant and loaded with locally relevant educational software. Education-oriented software for classmate PCs is currently available in Portuguese and other languages.

The second-generation Classmate PCs from Intel come with 9” screen (with 800x480 resolution) and features Intel Celeron M353 (900MHz) processor, Intel 915 chipset with built-in graphics core, 512MB of DDR2 memory, 30GB hard disk drive with 3600rpm spindle speed, built-in webcam, Ethernet and Wi-Fi controller, SD card slot and so on.

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