It’s almost puzzling that Google was so proud of the first ever Chrome OS tablet and yet restricted its availability to the education market. Granted, it was really aimed for students and schools anyway, preempting Apple’s launch of the more affordable but Pencil-compatible new iPad. If you have actually been wishing you could get your hands on the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the good news is that you can now do so. Just be prepared to for what you’ll be getting for that price.
As far as Chromebooks go, the Chromebook Tab 10 isn’t bad at all. You get a 9.7-inch 2048×1536 screen to compete with the iPad’s Retina display. It is powered by a Rockchip OP1 like some Chromebooks are and has 4 GB of RAM. Best of all, it already comes with a Wacom-powered stylus you can stow away inside like one of Samsung’s S Pen tablets.
Of course, it runs Chrome OS rather than Android, though you can definitely run Android apps on it, too. And if you’re really daring, you can even enable Linux support and run all the software you want. At least until you hit the processor’s limit. That and those three operating systems are not exactly fine-tuned to work in tablet mode, ironically.
That mostly explains why Google and Acer limited its availability. It might not stand the scrutiny of consumers but would do OK by students who will use it for limited purposes. Given early reviews, that might actually have been a smart move.
Still, there’s no stopping the market demand for the Acer Chromebook Tab 10. Now you can pick one up from Newegg for the original $330 price while various retailers on Amazon are selling it for higher prices starting at $350. Official distributor CDW is also selling it for $340, higher than the official price for schools and academic institutions.
Update: Acer has been in contact to underscore that the Chromebook Tab 10’s intended audience remains K-12 schools, and that “the vast majority” of sales are into education channels. Sales to consumers are a side-effect of that distribution and reseller network, rather than a strategy change around the product itself.