Although they might not be the notebook of choice for power users, over the past few years Chromebooks have become increasingly popular in certain market areas, especially the education sector where cost effectiveness plays a big role in how a product is perceived. The accessibility of Chromebooks also seems to be the reason why the Robertsdale High School in Robertsdale, Alabama, recently decided to switch from MacBooks and iPads to Chromebooks for the upcoming school year. For readers who may need a bit of background story, this is a rather unexpected turn of events for Apple fans, mainly because Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, used to attend Robertsdale High.
For the past several years, teachers and Robertsdale High students from 3rd to 12th grade have relied on MacBooks to get their schoolwork done, while younger students used iPads instead. In total, this accounted for roughly 20,000 Apple devices covered by a three-year plan named “Digital Renaissance” worth $24 million. However, according to fresh reports, starting next school year Robertsdale High students will be given Lenovo Chromebooks for their school work. The school intends to acquire 23,500 brand new Lenovo N21 Chromebooks for roughly $6.6 million, and apparently the school will manage to cover these costs simply by reselling their old MacBooks. According to the school board, Chromebooks with an average price of $200 are roughly 75% more affordable than the alternatives bearing the Apple brand; this being one of the reasons why the school decided to switch gears. Furthermore, according to the Baldwin County Public Schools System’s chief technology officer Homer Coffman, Chromebooks are “simpler to maintain and [...] use”, and are also more secure than MacBooks. Students and teachers already use a wide variety of Google education applications; a practice that is most welcomed by the world of Chromebooks. The CTO added that “Baldwin County will not be using bleeding edge technology with this implementation. It will be using proven technologies”.
Sure enough, the Lenovo N21 Chromebook is not a high-end device by any means, but it can be a very cost-effective machine for education, and has already been discounted by online retailers several times before, including in April and May 2016. It is equipped with an 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768, an Intel Celeron N2840 CPU clocked at 2.16 GHz, 4 GB of RAM, 16 GB of SSD storage expandable via SD, and a 3,200 mAh battery rated for an average of 9.5 hours of usage. It also weighs only 1.2 Kg which can definitely be a plus. The school intends to have all 23,500 Chromebooks ready for students before the new school year starts this fall.