Google Chromebook Pulls Ahead of Apple in K-12 Market


Google Chromebooks are currently the best-selling devices in K-12 schools, according to a recent report from the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Google sold 713,000 Chromebooks to K-12 schools during the third quarter of 2014, which averages out to about 250,000 each month between July and September.

In comparison, Apple sent out 702,000 iPads, accounting for about 85% of all tablets shipped at that time. The number is a 4% drop for Apple from quarter two.

"The third quarter is especially important," says IDC analyst, Rajani Singh. "It captures a major portion of technology purchases that schools make in the year."

Since Google has expanded their Play for Education program to include Chromebooks and Android tablets, increasingly more schools are using the devices for their curriculum. The program allows teachers to share educational apps and YouTube channels and videos with students, along with thousands of free books.

Google's Apps for Education is currently in use by over 40 million students and teachers across the globe. The program, along with around the clock IT support, comes at no cost for schools. The apps include Docs, Gmail, Calendar and Drive, as well as Google Classroom, which allows students and teachers to work together on classroom assignments in real-time.

Google has put forward a series of smart decisions to aid in their record sales numbers. Most recently, the company allows students at 12 universities across the US to borrow Chromebooks for multiple days, free of charge, as part of of a Chromebook lending library, in an effort to entice students to purchase the inexpensive notebooks that can be purchased for as low as $200. Google has also created special Chrome app education packs at a bulk discount when 20 or more licenses are purchased at once.

The devices also feature easy management capabilities, in that they do not require much IT support to run effectively.

When it comes down to it, the success of the Chromebook is due to its low cost. The bulk discounts make the laptops a more economical choice than traditional Windows notebooks and iPads. Schools are more able to afford the low-cost devices, and can enjoy not having to find funding for the large IT departments that usually come with alternative systems.

Lenovo is also considering placing a low price on its upcoming Chromebook to compete with the Google devices. In addition, Intel Core M-powered Chromebooks may be coming onto the market as well, featuring a longer battery life.

However, if Chromebooks continue to see a large push in the education market, Acer, Samsung and HP could gain the most. In the third quarter of 2014, Acer sold 240,000 Chrome OS laptops to K-12 schools, Samsung sold 174,000, and HP had 127,000 units sold.

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