While Google is probably wishing the world forgot about its less than stellar history with Android tablets, it isn’t writing out the device form factor completely. It is, instead, reframing tablets within the context of Chrome OS, particularly with its first tablet, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10. But in order to do that, it has to bring some features over from Android to Chrome OS, which is what it’s doing now with its education-themed update.
What tool is most associated with school and students? Why the pencil, of course! Specifically the venerable yellow No. 2. To give the Chromebook Tab 10 a legit school notebook feel, Google has partnered with STEADTLER to bridge the digital and analog divide with, what else, a digital pencil. Joining accessories like the new Belkin USB-C keyboard, the STEADTLER Noris digital for Chromebook gives students (and grownups) the power of digital ink, complete with pressure sensitivity. It’s pretty much the same Noris digital for Samsung devices, which requires no pairing or charging. It even comes in more than just yellow.
Android has long had VR and AR support, in one form or another, so Chrome OS should have them as well. Google recently launched its Expeditions AR Pioneer Program for Android phones but will soon be expanding that to Chrome OS tablets starting this fall. That means the Chromebook Tab 10 will get that feature even before some Android tablets do.
One thing that Chrome OS has always been better at compared to Android is system management. Google is widening the gap even further with new features that will delight school and IT administrators and parents. Device off hours, for example, can put a limit on the school will have policies in effect so that parents can take over during the hours the student isn’t at school. Quizzes made through Google Forms will also have a locked mode that will prevent students from getting distracted by other tabs or apps until they submit their final answers.
While these features definitely make Chromebooks, especially the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, more attractive for school or office use, they also add to the overall appeal of Chrome OS devices in general. With stronger push on both hardware and software sides, Chrome OS might indeed soon become the only OS you’ll ever need.