Sunday, 22 April 2018

Chrome OS in a tablet form factor

Acer released the first Chrome OS tablet: the Acer Chromebook Tab 10. The tablet is directed at education and supports a Wacom pen. I like the idea of a Chrome OS tablet and can realistically envisage it to be a laptop replacement (of course, many users may prefer a larger display). In contrast to the iPad Pro series, Chrome OS runs a desktop PC environment that also supports mobile applications via the Google Play store.

The problem with the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is the high-end specifications that means a relatively high price for a device targeted at education. If these tablets are to be adopted in schools then it is important that vendors make the right compromise between pricing and specifications. For example, a good camera, long battery life and stylus support are necessary but a resolution beyond full HD is not. This is the first Chrome OS tablet and more affordable ones are a strong possibility.

Apple's recently released iPad with Pencil support is another attempt at gaining access in education. Apple aims to take on Chromebooks that are now gradually dominating the sector. Apple's size means that it will always have a place in education; however, what makes the Chromebook model a better fit is the simplicity of deployment and affordable hardware. The latest iPad may be priced lower relative to other iPad models but the pricing, after introducing the Apple Pencil and external keyboard, makes it a costly option even when compared to the high-end Acer Chromebook Tab 10.

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