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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market 193

SmartAboutThings writes In Q3 2014, IDC notes that Google shipped 715,500 Chromebooks to U.S. schools while Apple shipped 702,000 iPads. Thus, Apple's iPad has lost its lead over Google's line of Chromebook laptops in the U.S. education market as Google shipped more devices to schools last quarter. While analysts say [registration required] that this advantage for Google's Chromebooks can be attributed to their low cost, the presence of a physical keyboard has also been seen as an important factor.
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Chromebooks Overtake iPads In US Education Market

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  • Uh yeah? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @10:46AM (#48506101)

    When you have a device that lasts maybe 5 years of use, adding about $100 per child per year just for the device really starts to add up.

    I suppose chromebooks could be used for some entry CS-like education and obviously word processing, but I have no idea what educational aid an iPad contains besides maybe text books, but if that was the case, I'd rather have schools endorsing an epaper solution being far cheaper, energy efficient, and probably better on those poor kid's eyes (staring at screens for 8 class hours and how many home hours?).

    • Are you imagining a current consumer Chromebook will last 5 years?

      Will the batteries last that long?

    • >When you have a device that lasts maybe 5 years of use,

      It might last 5 years, but I want a new toy at least every 2 years.

  • My daughter has one. It's great that she has something portable with a keyboard. Still, it's not very powerful. That may be the PC gamer in me though.
    • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @11:06AM (#48506285) Journal
      My nephew has one. It does everything he needs it to do for school, which is all one should expect out of a machine offered to kids through school.
    • Our 6th grade STEM school started using them recently as well. They do what they are supposed to do, that is, give the kids a tool for researching, preparing papers and presentations, submitting work, keeping track of certain scheduled items, and communicating. They are not computer science development tools, and are not meant to be.

      The nice thing is the kids can access their school google accounts from home computers as well, allowing a lot of flexibility.
  • simple (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @10:52AM (#48506169)
    They're about half the price and they have a management back end that's friendly to IT departments. That's all there is to it. Unfortunately, they're cheap, featureless pieces of crap that break constantly due to horribly cheap parts because they're just awful pretend laptops but every school district I know of passes the hardware failure cost onto the kid who "broke" it even if they didn't break it. What a great system.
    • Re:simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Idou ( 572394 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @11:38AM (#48506561) Journal

      pieces of crap that break constantly due to horribly cheap parts

      That is just as meaningless a statement about Chromebooks as it is about Android phones. . . What specific company hardware are you talking about (e.g. I have had a very good experience with Samsung and HP Chromebooks)?

      Regarding your "featureless" statement, have you heard of Crouton [github.com]? Also, were you aware that an increasing number of Android apps are coming to Chromebooks [google.com]? Your post seems to represent the segment of /. that has not bothered to really look into chromebooks before hating them. . .

      • Your post seems to represent the segment of /. that has not bothered to really look into chromebooks before hating them. . .

        The same could be said of ipads...

    • Yeah all of you championing Chromebooks really need to look at the models being pushed cause it AIN'T the nice ones folks, its those bottom of the line Samsung Exynos ARM craps and the other "Walmart Special" piles of junk.

      I looked into possibly selling 'em as a netbook replacement (man I miss those $250-$300 netbooks, they were great) and managed to grab a couple models NIB for like $75 a pop....I ended up letting 'em go for like $20 more than I paid because they were just GARBAGE, we are talking worse bu

  • Misleading (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If you sell more product in one quarter, it doesn't mean you overtook your rival, it just means your rival has already sold millions of iPads and schools are saying "no thanks, we'll wait till we need a iPad upgrade".

    • by thaylin ( 555395 )

      It does mean they overtook their rival in quarterly sales.... Why would you think it meant something else, I assume you thought it meant in total sales?

  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @11:09AM (#48506307)
    I love my iPad but if I had to use it as my primary tool for completing schoolwork and taking lessons, I would lose my mind.

    This one is a bit of a no-brainer. There is the keyboard, the trackpad, the cost, and the screen-size. Also many sites require such niceties such as right clicking, or click and dragging.

    But what is even more silly is when Microsoft pathetically tries to strongarm a school system into using its wayyyyy expensive surface technology. It is not only expensive on a per unit basis but is used by Microsoft to engage their whole licensing nightmare engine with one upsell after another of enterprise crap.

    So while any school system that gets iPads is just wasting its money, any school people who get the surface should be fired for wasteful incompetence.
    • Surface RT costs $200 - about the same as a chromebook.

      Ms Office365 is free for educators/students - same price as Google Docs.

      MS includes OneDrive cloud storage and email for free - just like Google does.

      A prudent school administrator could build an MS-centric environment for the same initial cost as a Google-centric one, and with the same on-going costs.

      Choosing Windows 8.1 with Bing devices in-place of the Surface RT would open up the entirety of the PC software world (within reason) for about the same c

      • by zerofoo ( 262795 )

        "A prudent school administrator could build an MS-centric environment for the same initial cost as a Google-centric one, and with the same on-going costs."

        No way.

        The Microsoft cloud approach still requires Anti-Virus and associated management, it still requires a way to image the computers to some configuration standard, it offers no way to distribute configuration and security policies based on computer or user profiles.

        To get anywhere near what Google is offering in terms of Google's security and manageme

    • Surface pro 2s have been selling for as low as $300. That is $200 cheaper than an iPad Air, and they come with a digitizer (you know, so you can actually take real notes) and you can add a well-designed keyboard cover.

      If you're an engineer looking for a high-end ultrabook, then yes, the Surface Pro can easily set you back $2000. However, for schoolwork, Microsoft actually seems to be providing a much better alternative than the iPad. An actual PC tablet running an i3 (not a toy running ARM) with an actua

  • Adminstration (Score:5, Interesting)

    by flogger ( 524072 ) <non@nonegiven> on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @11:18AM (#48506401) Journal
    Right out of the gate, Chromebooks are easier to administer at an "enterprise" level. Yes, the school district needs to "sell its soul to get the management console (domain control and device management.) Google has been helpful with support for any needs we have. Getting in touch with and help from apple for issues is near impossible.

    Chromebooks come with some good tools for using existing infrastructure without too much of a learning curve. Getting teachers to open and use a spreadsheet on an ipad is a lot more tricky than opening the same file on a chromebook.

    Bottom line, if you are dealing with more than 5 devices, chromebooks save a ton of time and energy.
    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      My daughter is a teacher and her school just rolled out Chromebooks for all high school students. Google has a lot of nice education applications which allows her to administer her class, check assignments and assign work on the Chromebook.
      Check out:
      https://www.google.com/chrome/... [google.com]

    • Getting teachers to open and use a spreadsheet on an ipad is a lot more tricky than opening the same file on a chromebook.

      Perhaps, but you are mixing the ease o fuse of a piece of technology with the ability to use the underlying technology. It does no good to be able to open a spreadsheet more easily if you have no idea how to use the spreadsheet beyond the basics; and my experiences with school systems is they give the teachers technology and expect them to use it without teaching them how to use it. As result, they spend hours struggling with the technology and sometimes simply discard it because it is too much of a hassle

  • Not surprised (Score:5, Interesting)

    by edremy ( 36408 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @11:22AM (#48506435) Journal
    This seems a no-brainer for me in a couple of ways. Chromebooks aren't any more fragile than normal laptops in my experience- yes, they are cheap but dropping a $1200 Macbook Air, a $500 iPad and a $200 Chromebook on a tile floor are all likely to do permanent damage. My two (very rough) kids haven't managed to kill my Acer 720 yet. Given the low price and the "All files are in the cloud, devices are totally interchangable" it's easy to deal with them, plus they have a working keybaord and a trackpad.

    On the flip side, I'm really seeing a move towards Google Apps for my middle schooler. Virtually all his projects are done as part of a group, and they work from online documents. He doesn't need the high end features of Word or Excel: he needs a way to have multiple people work on something over two weeks. It's easy for the teacher as well- just send them the link and you're done, no papers to lose.

  • Schools are just looking for a cheap method to deliver educational materials digitally. Chromebooks have some tools and support for managing the content. The maintenance of the device is simple, which is probably a plus to schools that don't have much of a budget for an IT department. However, I wonder if the savings are really significant over old fashioned textbooks. I really doubt there is any educational benefit over traditional methods of education. I always kind of agreed with Clifford Stoll that the
    • >Schools are just looking for a cheap method to deliver educational materials digitally.

      My daughter's school expects the pupils to bring their own laptop. If you can't afford one, they'll lend you one.

      This is way preferable to trying to pick a one-size-fits-all chromebook for all students. Schools cannot administer computers. They try, but get it horribly, horribly wrong.

  • by JoeCommodore ( 567479 ) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @11:43AM (#48506603) Homepage

    I talked to a primary teacher this Thanksgiving (IIRC, 6th grade) about chromebooks in her class.. She loves it, kids do thier stuff in Google Docs can turn it in electronically, etc. Reports are done as presentations, so in part it is reducing a lot of paper...

    Though I wonder what the long term cost for society will be. Possible dependency on on-line services?

    • Possible dependency on on-line services?

      The Cloud ate my homework? Certainly more believable than the dog eating it, especially with all the news articles we keep seeing of major vendors such as Microsoft having outages.
      The Cloud is great for offline backup services (be sure to encrypt), but connectivity is not a given even in this day and age. Work locally.

    • Another question you should ask yourself is -- is this legal under educational data privacy laws? The answer is probably not, but as usual with internet things people just ignore the laws.
  • So they outsold iPad one quarter? And now they are the leader? What about the previous 15 quarters going back to the ipad launch? They have a LOOOOOONG way to go to replace Ipads.

  • by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @12:09PM (#48506831) Homepage
    I've been to a couple of meetings in UK schools where Chromebooks are being marketed agressively and potentially given away or sold at cost. If that's happening in the US, it's bumping up the numbers.

    All the class material and class management are in the 'cloud' [that is at Google central] so 'you don't have to worry about anything' and the total cost of ownership is near-zero.

    What's wrong with this picture? Plenty, vendor lock-in, third party and [in the UK] foreign control of a vital resource and not understanding whatever long game Google is playing, just to start with. They're maximising shareholder value or about to, they are not a charity. And as for 'don't be evil' my a***.

    Above all, we can make [or repurpose] Linux books, quite easily.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @12:30PM (#48507053)

    Most kids do the following:
    1- write reports
    2- make presentations
    3- do research on the web
    4- read books

    Tablets stink for #1 and #2. Even for #3, things like cutting-and-pasting text for note taking is a PITA on a tablet. The only conceivable thing tablets are better for is reading books - but (at least at my kids school) they already have most of the books they use yearly in print.

    In addition, everything on the chromebook is stored on line. When a kid can start something at school, work on it at home on the family PC, then continue on mom's laptop when we need the PC for something else, you really see how convenient it is, and finally turn it in by sending a link to the teacher. Yes, there are drawbacks (the internet being down, less privacy, dependence on one company), but it is so damn convenient for all parties involved. It is a case of technology making things easier.

    • You forgot one thing:

      0. Play (educational) games

      Ever heard of 'Brain Pop' or 'Study Island'? If not, do you remember playing Oregon Trail in the '80s? If you told most public school teachers you were going to prohibit students playing games, even educational games, on computers, far fewer teachers would fight to get computers in their classrooms...

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2014 @12:40PM (#48507157)

    We've had great success with our Chromebook deployment. For most computing tasks, they are cheap and easy. They boot quickly and management is a snap.

    Microsoft is now trying to duplicate this success. They are giving away Office 365 E1 subscriptions to schools and non-profits. I will grant MS this, their online versions of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are quite good and closely mimic the desktop versions.

    Now for the bad:

    1. Microsoft's "version" of a chromebook is something like the HP Stream 14. It's about the same price and about the same quality. Unfortunately, these do not run a locked-down/hardened version of windows. They run the same desktop OS everything else does. This means you need AV, imaging tools....etc to mass deploy these things. Chromebooks don't need any of that stuff.

    2. The OS that ships in the cheapy laptops cannot be joined to a traditional domain. User management and policies for these devices cannot be centrally managed. Google's management tools are fantastic.

    3. Logins everywhere. To login to these cheapy windows devices, you need to either have local accounts, or a "live" or "microsoft account". This means you need a "live" login to get past the login screen, and an Office 365 login to do any work - it's madness.

    In-short, Microsoft is jumping into cloud computing and chasing the incumbents in a half-assed way. Situation normal over at Microsoft.

    • Microsoft's "version" of a chromebook is something like the HP Stream 14. It's about the same price and about the same quality. Unfortunately, these do not run a locked-down/hardened version of windows. They run the same desktop OS everything else does. This means you need AV, imaging tools....etc to mass deploy these things. Chromebooks don't need any of that stuff - yet.

      Wait until there are countless millions of chromebooks, deployed by IT-ignorant school administrators in smaller schools/districts (as

      • by edremy ( 36408 )
        Viruses are going to be tough to get distributed though. Something bad happens to a Chromebook? Hit the factory refresh button and it wipes everything on the machine. Since everything is stored with Google just log back in and all your documents are there. Pretty much the worst you have to do is redo your screen background, or flip a few advanced setting toggles if you're bothered.

        It's one of the prime reasons I bought one for the family. Kids mess around with weird web sites? I don't have to worry

    • The OS that ships in the cheapy laptops cannot be joined to a traditional domain. User management and policies for these devices cannot be centrally managed. Google's management tools are fantastic.

      The OS MS offers on the very low-end devices is a zero-cost version of Windows 8.1 - it is full Windows 8.1 with one difference, it is not allowed for the OEM (Dell, HP, etc) to alter the default search engine from Bing or browser from IE11. The end-user is absolutely free to change default search engine/browser

    • Logins everywhere. To login to these cheapy windows devices, you need to either have local accounts, or a "live" or "microsoft account". This means you need a "live" login to get past the login screen, and an Office 365 login to do any work - it's madness.

      Yes, this is madness, but in time I'm sure this too will be sorted out OR a school could simply use Google a Docs and Google Drive on their Windows With Bing devices and avoid the madness... Remember, anything you can run on a desktop can run on these devi

      • Microsoft got where it is today because its enterprise tools are so good. In a small school district, with a part-time IT guy, I could see this being a real mess but if a school has a properly staffed, full time IT department, it is not that hard to manage these things through active-directory and other enterprise tools.

        Actually, that is why most universities have switched from local administration to Google or Microsoft for email and such, and Microsoft seems to be winning that battle. You can create one

  • Our president François Hollande made promises:
    Starting September 2016, every highschooler will get a tablet beginning from the 5th grade (typically aged twelve)

    Another promise, they will also learn to code.
    Great .. but why give them a tablet and not some other device that would allow them to apply what they learnt..

    We citizen are told again and again that there is no money, but there is money for buying gadgets..
    We are going through the same mistakes that were done years ago in other countries...

    2 year

  • For some reason, this reminded me of a passage from "The Demon-Haunted World" by Carl Sagan. The computing world seems more and more divided between a small creative class (scientists, artists, programmers, engineers, writers, et cetera) who mostly use PCs (laptops, desktops, workstations, convertibles like the Surface) and a much larger consumer class (people who primarily use toy computers like the Apple TV, Xbox, iPad, iPhone, et cetera).

    I don't doubt that tablets have the potential to be useful in educ

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