The shortlist for the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) netbooks tender is down to six, with ASI Solutions coming up against Acer, Asustek, Dell, HP and Lenovo.
Seen as a key part of the digital education revolution, the tender is worth hundreds of millions of dollars and will see 197,000 year 9-12 secondary students allocated computing devices that will only work with a DET login and password, and cost less than $500.
The devices must also weigh no more than 1.75kg, be smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, have a minimum screen size of 8.9-inches, be capable of enabling voice and video communication, have a start-up time of less than five seconds, and be attractive to the user through aesthetic customisation.
Software licensing and a four-year warranty are also to be included in the $500 price tag with students able to take ownership after they leave school. The only devices on the market fitting this description are netbooks or mini notebooks.
The shortlist for a second tender for the rollout of wireless connectivity to all schools to support the devices includes NEC, Lenovo, IBM and ASI Solutions. The DET website lists 16 companies – including Telstra, Vodafone, inTechnology, HP and Datacom – as having submitted expressions of interest.