Chromebooks to Give Tablets a Run for their Milk Money

May 16th, 2011

We've talked a lot recently about iPads in the classroom and how schools could use tablets to save resources while giving children a more interactive, personally tailored learning experience. Not to be outdone by tablet mania, this week Google announced its own educational initiative at their much ballyhooed I/O Developer Event.  Source Long known as the sultan of search engines, Google has dabbled but never achieved a stronghold with any hardware or computer peripheral products (see Nexus One smartphone). However, Google's recent endeavor with netbook makers Samsung and Acer might be the best hope yet since they are directly tied to the Chrome operating system, which has earned high marks and widespread adoption. According to a article titled, Google Slaps Microsoft's Face with a Chrome Netbook, the deal would work as follows:
Consumers will be able to buy what Google calls a Chromebook starting at $350 (as of June 15); meanwhile, business users can get the bundles for $28 per user per month, while those at schools and government institutions pay $20 per user per month.
Source The article's author, Erik Sherman, points out several potential pitfalls including compatibility with existing software and the potential loss of cloud-based data. His biggest concern, however, is the potential blowback that could occur if Google doesn't up its customer service game. Commenting on the perceived value, \Mr. Sherman states:
Cheap is worth nothing if people aren't happy with what they bought. Customer satisfaction comes with service and communication, not with technology.
While we understand the concerns, Google also deserves credit for coming to the table with a robust and affordable operating/computing system for college students and business professionals. With tuition, room and board, books and beer costs approaching astronomical levels, it's nice to see an option (netbook or not) that gives students a little spending leeway so they don't feel like they're buying a product that will be completely obsolete or maxed out in two years. The San Diego Mercury News highlights more happiness in their post, Google's Chrome to run on new netbooks:
Laptops and netbooks become much simpler devices, allowing machines that boot up very quickly and have long battery life, running software that can be updated automatically through the cloud without having to download to an individual machine.
Students and professionals will have to sacrifice certain programs and functionality with the new Chromebook, but pair it with a wireless keyboard, USB MicroHub and some other peripherals, and the functionality will barely be missed.  Since students are such heavy consumers of new technology, we'll continue following tablet, netbook and operating system updates so we can continue developing complimentary products. What do you think? Would you trust your personal data and schoolwork to an Internet-based cloud service run by Google? Continue the conversation with us here on the blog or on Facebook and/or Twitter. We love to interact with you!

About the Author



IOGEAR enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic getaways. While not traveling, IOGEAR enjoys a great game of shuffle board whilst playing the banjo.