Google Confirms That Chromebooks Are Selling Well in Schools
While market predictions for PCs have been generally bleak, Chromebooks--portable computers based on Google's Chrome OS platform--have been doing well in sales terms. That's especially true in schools, where many districts are purchasing the low cost systems that run cloud applications for students to use.
As a matter of fact, if Chromebooks continue to sell well in school districts, a generation of students might emerge that is more comfortable running applications in the cloud than running local ones.
Low cost laptops running Chrome OS from Google have appealed primarily to consumers, but the education segment has especially favored them. As a matter of fact, Microsoft has been feeling the push, and recently announced its intentions to help deliver $199 laptops that can compete with Chromebooks, especially in schools.
David Andrade, CIO of the Bridgeport Public Schools district in Connecticut, has discussed how well the deployment of 9,000 Chromebooks has done for his district. Westwood High School in Massachussetts is buying Chromebooks to issue to students who will return them once they graduate. The Bell-Chatham school board has approved Chromebook purchases for students, as has the Sumner School District.
According to KELO in Sioux Falls:
"Board President Doug Morrison says teachers report greater opportunities in classrooms. He says the Chromebooks opened up a whole new world to manage classrooms with the students. They offer many more learning options for the students. The District reports that almost 18% of the Chromebooks given to students needed repairs which is much lower that other districts according to the Sioux Falls' provider...The devices are part of the public school's Student Technology Initiative."
Overall, schools purchased more than one million Chromebooks in the second quarter of 2014, Google recently announced. The announcement shines light on the fact that many students are going to become much more comfortable with cloud computing and working with applications in the cloud than they otherwise would be.
As reported by Mashable, noted Silicon Valley analyst Tim Bajarin, who has covered Apple for many years, said: "There are no governments or IT departments running out to buy these products — they would be underwhelmed. Instead, this growth is being driven by education."
Many years ago, Apple Computer went after the education market, and that move may have to do with the growing popularity of Apple systems among adults, many of whom are familiar with Apple's platform and applications. Google has an opportunity to mimic those early efforts from Apple, and could even afford to subsidize Chromebook purchases in schools.
I've made the case before for why it would be smart for Google to step up incentives for Chromebook buyers. Google has already explored this avenue. For example, buyers of Chromebooks have been getting 100GB of free Google Drive storage, free WiFi when flying, Google Play incentives and more. The next step in that strategy could be supplying incentives for school systems interested in buying Chromebooks.