26 April 2017
Google recently confirmed that all the Chromebooks launched from 2017 will have the Android apps support. The company also talked about the two new Chromebooks that will target the educational sector and these are coming from Asus and Acer. Google shared the names of these two Chromebooks, however, didn’t provide any specific details of both of them separately. But, Google shared the details of the two at the BETT (British Education and Training Technology), one of the largest education technology conferences in the world.
However, Google was actually interested in sharing about the Android and Adobe apps idea with a support of a few assets, for instance the stylus. But, before diving into the apps section and know how Google utilizes this support in the education department, let’s first learn about the two new Chromebooks from Acer and Asus that will join the growing list of other educational Chromebooks from HP, Dell, and more. The two new Chromebooks were actually announced at the(BETT) show in London.
The first is the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 (R751T), which is actually a convertible variant of the ruggedized Chromebook 11 N7, highlighted at the recently held CES 2017 as well. There isn’t any drastic change in the specifications of the latest offering from Acer, you will find 11.6-inch touchscreen protected by Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass, Intel Celeron quad-core processor N3450 or Intel Celeron dual-core processor N3350 processor, and a couple of storage and RAM options – 4GB/8GB LPDDR4 memory either with 32GB/64GB through eMMC flash.
Acer Chromebook Spin 11 (R751T) is a convertible Chromebook with military grade durability (U.S. MIL-STD 810G) compliant which is perfect for the students. As mentioned earlier, Acer Chromebook Spin 11 will provide additional capabilities thanks to the support for Android apps via the Google Play Store out-of-the-box.
Talking about the Asus Chromebook Flip C213, it’s another ruggedized Chromebook with a 360-degree hinge. It comes with rubber bumpers and has a “modular” construction. For now, the details of the Asus Chromebook Flip C213 are on scarce, however, you can expect the same compatibility as an Chromebook must have to run the Android apps, like Intel x86 architecture.
Apart from this, Googe shares the common features that both the Chromebooks possess.
Both the models support the inexpensive Wacom styluses and according to Google, the stylus comes with Optical Character Recognition in apps, it’s easy to search handwritten notes. Interestingly, this pen like stylus doesn’t need pairing, so you can always replace it if lost. Another common asset fitted on both of the Chromebooks is the “World View Camera” which according to Google has been kept to take the pictures and videos from all the directions and for the same reason the camera is placed on the keyboard side (just above the keyboard) and can be used in the Tent mode. Google even says that the students will be able to “turn it into a microscope.”
Another addition is the USB-C charging so that the student won’t find any hassle in charging their devices as this process takes very less time than the conventional one.
All these assets explained indeed play a vital role but not without the apps. For instance, a stylus is helpful if you have many things on your device to utilize its potential and Google is fortunately giving you a way to spend more time with your Chromebooks with the help of the Android apps support. Google gradually provided the support of the same to some of 2016 models of the Chromebook and eventually Google announced that from future there won’t be any problem as all 2017 models will come with Android apps support out-of-the-box. And, for the educational sector, students have a plethora of Android apps to try, including the Toontastic and Science Journal for learning both online and offline.
However, there is one thing to keep in mind that Android apps on Chrome OS are still technically in beta which means you can expect noticeable bugs.
For now, Google writes that in the coming weeks, the "Chromebook administrator will be able to create a library of approved Android apps and install them on select”managed Chromebooks." These “Select” Chromebooks are the latest devices from Acer and Asus of course, and a few from previous years. Google has managed the list of the supported Chromebooks too.
Also, Google says,
Users on managed Chrome devices can’t automatically use Android apps on their Chrome devices, even if their device supports it. First, you need to enable Android apps for Chrome devices in your domain.
And, for this, Google has mentioned the steps as well, so you can follow them and let an app downloaded to your compatible system.
Together with this, Google also announced the availability Adobe’s Android apps that have optimized especially for Chromebooks. The Adobe Creative Cloud apps, including Photoshop Mix, Lightroom Mobile, Illustrator Draw, Photoshop Sketch, Adobe Comp CC, and Creative Cloud Mobile, all of them will be available for free download. Also, Google announced new creative apps for these Chromebooks that include WeVideo, Soundtrap, and Explain Everything. These are available in the U.K. and Nordics at a discount from resellers XMA, Lin Education and Avalon Solutions when purchased as a bundle.
We’ll continue to work with educators in 2017 to build tools that support the important work they do every day.
The price of both the Chromebooks are yet to be known, but Google did confirm that they wil be available from late spring. So, stay tuned.