Chrome OS is finally available for tablets and we already have the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the first tablet to run Chrome OS for tablet. The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 has a focus on education in K-12 classrooms and features a 9.7” display, a stylus, and support for Google Play Android apps. The million dollar question is whether or not Chrome OS for tablet stands a chance.
Tablets may not be selling well overall, but there seems to be some agreement that they are best suited for education, and manufacturers are getting with that programme. Apple’s new iPad 9.7 also has a focus on education.
But back to Chrome OS and a quick look at the Acer Chromebook Tab 10. Here are key highlights:
- It is designed to promote engagement and collaboration between students, teachers
- This tablet can be managed with a Chrome Education license; secure and easy to use for students
- It comes equipped with a stylus for natural scribbling
- Support for Google Play to give students, teachers access to educational Android apps
- Planned support for Google Expeditions AR to enable immersive learning experiences
On paper, this looks good. The question is, Has Chrome OS developed fully enough to be a viable alternative to Android OS on tablets?
Is Chrome OS For tablet Viable?
Here is what we know: Android app support on Chrome OS, for example, is still not a 100% smooth affair. Not all apps work well, and not all take advantage of the bigger display for say split screen usage. What of content sharing and notifications? Still sub-par as well.
Where it is now, Chrome OS does not seem like a viable replacement to Android OS for tablets – and certainly not ready to take on iOS. For now. That may change at some point in time and then the whole picture will be different.
Chrome OS is great on Chromebooks. But the tablet market is already a weak one, because like some of us said years ago, tablets are not really mobile and so are not a real need for most people. They exist in a grey area – not as potable as mobile phones, yet not as powerful and versatile for work as laptops. It is no surprise that tablet sales has dropped in recent years.
Tablets As Niche Products
Niche products like Microsoft’s Surface tablets have done well for obvious reasons. But any OS that will change the fortune of tablets in the consumer market – if that chance exists at all – has to bring something else to the table.
The current push for wider adoption of tablets for education appears to be a valid way forward for tablets. Education is a huge space that tablets can be customised to corner. If Chrome OS gets that right and does not try to push itself as a product for consumers, we just might have a winner here. So, to answer the question, Does Chrome OS stand a chance in tablets?, I say, It depends; time will tell.
PS: K-12 refers to kindergarten (K) and the 1st through the 12th grade (1-12) of school.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.