I want to reiterate in this post on just why the Chrome OS in a tablet form factor makes sense. The key, in my view, is the versatility of Chrome OS that can run on different form factors. Previously I noted my skepticism that a tablet running a mobile operating system can function as a laptop replacement (Apple marketed this idea when it first released the larger iPad Pro). However, with Chrome OS now supporting Android applications, I think it can serve the dual purpose of a laptop and tablet.
Apple's iPad Pro essentially runs a mobile OS and Microsoft's Surface 2-in-1 devices runs a desktop operating system with some tablet features built-in. In contrast, Chromebooks that come in diverse form factors are better suited to make use of two different focuses of a mobile and desktop interface. When required Chromebooks can now run mobile-based applications and for other tasks, there is a desktop interface.
This cross-pollination between a mobile-centric operating system and web-centric desktop operating system offers the best of both worlds in education. In the case of Android, there are useful applications for the classroom, e.g., Google Arts & Culture and Google Expeditions. Further, many Chromebooks now support touch and pen input that could make use of the different features in these applications. The desktop interface, on the other hand, works better for multi-tasking between tabs and extensive writing in Google Docs.
Another issue to consider is that many Chromebook are ruggedised and spill-resistant. To contrast, the Apple iPad requires the extra purchase of a rugged keyboard combo if it is to be feasibly used in the classroom.
Chrome OS has matured into a versatile operating system that works across different form factors. Neither Microsoft nor Apple offer anything similar to Chrome OS and I predict Chromebooks to continue to dominate and expand in the education sector.
Tuesday, 24 April 2018
Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Microsoft announced the release of Windows 10 S a few months back, to take on the success of Chromebooks in the education sector, and now major vendors are releasing budget devices with the operating system. One of the earlier options is the Asus VivoBook W202NA; the laptop is designed to be used in classrooms and can withstand drops from up to 3.9 feet. The device is not priced as an entry-level device and comes with a weaker Apollo Lake Celeron processor (N3350), 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC. Overall, I am sceptical about Windows 10 S for different reasons but one of the biggest problems is the relatively sparse selection of applications compared to Google Play that is being made available on more Chromebooks. Laptop Mag published a review of the W2020NA that can be accessed here.