The PC market has experienced one of its first highs in a long, long time last quarter as production and supply has finally caught up with the growing demand for desktops, laptops, and even tablets for remote work use and home entertainment. Things, however, aren’t as rosy as they may seem, especially when you consider the overall computer market. Despite slowly catching up, manufacturers and component suppliers are still coming up short with the needed volumes to supply the flood of virtual students that will need a laptop soon.
The first months of the COVID-19 pandemic have seen a focus on remote work arrangements and the sudden need for computers at home. Now, however, another kind of remote activity will need to take place at home as schools start to open, most of them virtually. Unfortunately, schools and students are seeing a severe shortage of laptops in the market that is just as historic as the demand for them.
The number of laptops that schools need far outnumbers those of remote workers by the thousands. Acer has reportedly received orders for hundreds of thousands of new Chromebooks from California and Nevada alone. Stores are showing devices, including Chromebooks popular in schools, as already out of stock.
It isn’t just laptop makers that are coming up short, though, as supplies of parts like batteries, screens, and even processors are also drying up or getting delayed at shipping. Many schools loan out devices and need these parts to repair or maintain them, especially those that have seen years of use.
With many schools forced to adopt virtual classroom arrangements, the lack of access to even cheap laptops could prove detrimental to this new education system. And that’s not the only problem schools are facing. Naturally, these virtual schools will require students to have their own broadband Internet access, something that is still a barrier for many families across the US.