Last week I saw a $219 Windows 10 Lenovo with a solid state drive. It booted in about 10 seconds. It was only a Celeron processor but it was still a nice little laptop. This seems to be a Chromebook killer. I have never been a Chromebook fan, paying $200 – $300 for a free browser just seemed a little odd. The big selling points for the Chromebooks has been the super-fast boot up and the remote manageability. The first reason appears to be trivial. In the classroom it is not. The minute or two of boot time always seems to take longer and there are always one or two out of twenty that are just stubborn and want to take their time. For often tech leery teachers this time loss just reinforces their opinion that tech is a pain. Chromebooks were a jewel in the boot up department. Hit the button and there was the screen. Of course from there things were limited to a browser but teachers were finding work arounds and good solutions to their needs. It is the second selling point that really sold Chromebooks and it is the second selling point, in my opinion, that should have never even been a consideration. Remote management is nice, in fact for a large school with hundreds of computers it is almost a must, but to make a buying and deployment decision based on the convenience of the IT department is just ridiculous. The shortage of IT staff in schools is a reality so making a decision based on the ability of an IT department to support a device is going to be a buying issue, ridiculous or not.
Due to my school’s economic situation (poor) I as the IT staff do not have a lot of labs or school owned devices to maintain. We go real strong towards BYOD so the Chromebook vs. Windows laptop has not been an issue for us. We are looking at expanding our laptop numbers in the elementary school and I was seriously considering Chromebooks simply because of the price. A decent Windows laptop was in the $400 range, a Chromebook was $200. With a $219 Windows 10 laptop available the Chromebook is dead. Now if Microsoft would just come up with a way to flash the OS. Maybe next year.