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Google Rolls Out New Chromebooks, Allows Access to Android, Adobe Apps

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Google is releasing two new Chromebooks for the education market that aim to be more versatile and practical for the everyday student.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 will be a convertible device that can double as a laptop and a tablet. The Acer Chromebook will have wide-ranging stylus capabilities and a camera built into the keyboard that is “world facing,” or can capture photos and videos from all directions. The camera can be turned into a video camera or a microscope, according to Rajen Sheth, Google’s director of product for Android and Chrome for education and enterprise.

The Asus Chromebook C213 will also be a convertible device with a 360-degree hinge, stylus capabilities, rubber bumpers and modular construction for easier repairs.

Both Chromebooks will be able to withstand drops and spills on the keyboard, Sheth said. They will also be USB-C charging, so one Chromebook cart can charge any device quickly, and the need to keep track of specific power adapters will be eliminated.

The new Chromebooks are scheduled to arrive in late spring, in time for back-to-school planning. Google did not offer a specific price, but the devices are designed to be affordable for the student market.

Google also announced that starting next week, millions of Android apps will be available for Chromebook users. Previously, Chromebooks were limited to using Chrome web apps. Now, thousands of apps available on the Google Play store will be accessible to Chromebook users, both online and offline.

In addition, Adobe has released a suite of Creative Cloud apps optimized for Chromebooks. These include Photoshop, Mix, Lightroom Mobile, Illustrator Draw, Photoshop Sketch, Adobe Comp CC and Creative Cloud Mobile. They will be available for free download, and will incorporate the capabilities of the stylus and the “world-facing” camera. The Adobe Creative Cloud apps are designed to scale properly for larger displays, such as the 11-inch touchscreens on the new Chromebook models.

Finally, Google has made updates to its popular Google Classroom learning management system, so that all new Chromebooks can take advantage of new features, such as differentiated instruction, specific management of student work, notifications and analytics.

For more information, visit Google’s Chromebook blog.  

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at rchang@1105media.com.

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