Educators are largely opting for Chromebooks in the classroom over Apple MacBooks and Android tablets, a new study suggests.
According to a report from research firm NPD Group, Google's low-cost Chromebook computers soared past Apple's MacBook line in terms of commercial sales, thanks largely due to growth in the education sector.
"There are no governments or IT departments running out to buy these products — they would be underwhelmed," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies. "Instead, this growth is being driven by education."
Apple's MacBook and iPad sales declined this year as competition from Google's Android and Chrome lines ramped up, while Chromebooks and Android tablets experienced the most commercial growth with 1.76 million, compared to just 400,000 units in 2012.
"Certain organizations are looking for low-cost devices that have a strong connection to a set of Google services such as Google Docs and Drive,"
"Certain organizations are looking for low-cost devices that have a strong connection to a set of Google services such as Google Docs and Drive," Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, told Mashable. "Along with form factor and price, Chromebooks are a more compelling choice for students and companies over full-fledged notebooks or tablet."
I still am somewhat new to Google Docs. I find the concept very solid, but the implementation is still rather labor-intensive when trying to share Google Docs with Office users. Perhaps I just haven't devoted the necessary time to figuring this out.
Microsoft's Windows tablets saw a bit of increase, too, which added even more choices to the market in 2013.
Chromebooks accounted for 9.6% of the combined laptop and tablet markets from January-November 2013, compared to just 0.2% from the same period in 2012. But beating out Chromebooks overall in the sector is Windows notebooks (34%), desktop computers (27.8%) and iPads (15.8%).
Through November 2013, about 4.4 million desktops, notebooks and tablets were sold through commercial channels, up 25.4% from the same period in 2012.
Chromebooks are typically priced between $199 and $299, so budget-strapped education systems see these devices as a tremendous opportunity to bring cheap laptops into the classroom. A standard-sized iPad starts at $499, while the MacBook line starts at $999.
Cost is the best selling point for Chromebooks!
Bajarin said in addition to keeping strict budgets, Chromebooks are becoming increasingly more popular in education because of the keyboard.
"Education is still very keyboard-centric," Bajarin said. "It's driven by the concept that you want students to create and not just consume. The iPad is great for consumption and areas where touch can be integrated, but when it comes to writing papers or making comments, there are challenges."
Although iPads are still outselling Chromebooks in education, Google's budget option will still likely grow in 2014, he added.
"The education market is very strong on Chromebooks and that isn't going to change anytime too soon," Bajarin said. "Could Apple create a relatively inexpensive device that could compete in that market? Maybe, but probably not. True Chromebook competitors won't likely surface for another year or two, so Google could remain a star of education for a bit longer."
Image: AFP/Getty Images
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