I’ve commented several times in the past about my reservations with the SMART Technologies family of interactive whiteboards. I think they’re too expensive and too small. Most recently I posted about the GTCO SchoolPad, a bluetooth-equipped, SMART Board alternative that interfaces wirelessly with a computer and projector. The teachers who have tested the SchoolPad have really liked it, and all of them prefer it to the standard SMART Board.
Not to be outdone, SMART has announced their own wireless “slate,” the AirLiner WS100. I haven’t had a chance to see one in person because the units are backordered, but I saw a good demo of the SMART Notebook software today which can be installed anywhere in a school that has a SMART Board. The software will also be used with the AirLiner. The cost of the Airlier is very competitive at $489 for educational institutions.
I’d say that SMART has jumped back into the lead with this AirLiner product. It’s about $200 cheaper than the SchoolPad and the software seems much more powerful than the SchoolPad’s Interwrite software. Given our teachers’ reaction to the SchoolPad, I’m sure that the AirLiner would be a huge hit with them. At $489 I could imagine buying an AirLiner for almost every classroom that has a projector.