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April 29, 2020

Google seems to be involved with just about everything these days. While there’s something comforting about seeing the logo on your screen, the company has had a harder time penetrating other markets. While Chromebooks have been a modest success for the company, they’ve really hit their stride when it comes to education. Because the computers are so cheap and easy to use, colleges across the country have adopted them. In fact, they represent a bigger share of the education market than any of their competitors. With their latest announcement, Google hopes to use two new devices to further extend their lead in that market.

Both of the new devices are, deep down, just slightly updated Chromebooks. That’s not a bad thing, though – the computers are lightweight, easy to use, and have decent battery life. The suite or web tools available through ChromeOS is almost universally praised, and most students who have used one Chromebook won’t have nay trouble transitioning to the new computers. Each of these new devices does have something new to offer the student market, though, and should be able to compete quite well in a very crowded educational marketplace.

The first of these two devices is the Chromebook Spin 11. This isn’t exactly a new devices, at least when you look at the specs. Pretty much identical to the Chromebook 11 N7, it’s precisely the kind of low-end but acceptable netbook that you’d expect from the line. Where it really stands out, though, is its ‘World View Camera’, which the company claims students will be able to use in a microscope mode. This will make the computer a must-have unit for science classrooms across the country. The computer also supports inexpensive Wacom styluses, making it a great choice for art students as well.

The other big announcement was for the Chromebook Flip C213. This computer is tough and modular, made more for IT departments than for students themselves. While it’s a handy little device, the goal is for it to be easily repaired when things inevitably go wrong. This makes the computer an ideal device for being loaned out or used in large classrooms, as it should help to drop replacement costs. The computer itself isn’t particularly powerful or impressive, but it helps to spread the narrative that Google is making computers specifically for the education market.

Google’s new laptop offerings are pushing a new story, one that puts Google firmly in the corner of educators and students everywhere. The computers might not have the social cache or appeal of some of the company’s competitors, but standardization means quite a bit when it comes to dealing with student technology needs. If Google manages to keep up its pace and sticks with the education market, it’s very easy to see how students would begin to think of Chromebooks as the default option when it comes to educational software. In these circumstances, it’s not the power behind the computer that matters but rather the fact that Google knows the needs of its target audience.