The few times a year that Apple announces new products are a little bit like Christmas to me – the lead-up just keeps getting bigger and longer. Is it really necessary to put out Christmas decorations at the same time as Halloween candy? Can’t we just enjoy one holiday at a time?
But I digress. Apple announcements really take over the airwaves – sometimes for a week or two prior – so some of you might have missed this one – did anyone else notice that Google released a new Chromebook last week?
If you didn’t, you should have. Because while netbooks haven’t always gotten a whole lot of love, this one has some potential to be the device that will actually see the inside of classrooms.
I’m not going to argue the whole netbook vs. laptop vs. tablet debate, because that’s a whole other can of worms. So let’s assume that you (or the Powers That Be) have decided that netbooks are what you’re serving in class from now on. What makes this one interesting?
In short, the price.
Starting at just $249 (with the option to upgrade to a faster, slightly larger version for $449) makes it one of the most affordable options on the market. For sure, it’s a nice drop in price from a well equipped laptop (and a better price difference than iPad vs. iPad mini). It is slightly lighter, and has about a 1/2 hour less battery life (6.5 hours) than its competitors, but the size, weight, and price of the machine seem to make it a great fit for classrooms.
The chromebooks will use the standard array of Google apps (Think Gmail, Drive, YouTube, etc) and boasts excellent security, and quick and easy switching between users, which would make it a good sharable device for the classroom . Google is claiming that the new chromebooks are being used in pilot programs in a number of schools, but we have yet to hear how many schools they’re actually deployed in and those pilot programs are doing. If your school is participating, or if you’re buying a new chromebook, we’d love to hear what you think!