Mobile Computing | News

Chromebooks Surge in K-12 as Tablets Drop Off

Personal computing devices are continuing to surge in K-12, but tablets have lost a lot of their momentum. According to a new report, notebooks — especially Chromebooks — are back on top as tablet shipments were decimated in the latest quarter.

A total of 2.4 million personal computing devices were purchased by schools and districts in the second quarter, a 12 percent increase over Q2 2103.

But according to market research firm Futuresource Consulting, tablet shipments in K-12 fell off 10 percent in the second quarter of 2014 from Q2 2013, the first year-over-year decline for tablets. According to Futuresource, "The availability of other devices, such as detachable tablets and convertible notebooks, has given districts and end users more choice in terms of choosing the device that meets both student and teacher needs."

According to Futuresource Market Analyst Phil Maddocks, "As well as LAUSD announcing that they are considering other alternatives to tablets, we have seen other school districts look at other form factors such as Baltimore School District which has announced it is purchasing convertible notebooks for its students and teachers, while Fresno school district has rolled out 15,000 detachable tablets to students. With new Microsoft devices due to be launched later this year from many OEMs, new Chromebooks — as well as the launch of Apple's next iPad — the choices for US school districts is continuing to increase."

Tablets made up the majority of device shipments to K-12 in the second quarter of 2013, but this year the lost that position as devices in notebook form factors, including Chromebooks, regained the lead.

Chromebooks in particular accounted for nearly 30 percent of device shipments in the second quarter — or nearly 720,00 units — helping to take the overall notebook category back into the lead slot.

"Chromebooks have so far provided an affordable way for districts in the US to provide personal computing devices to students and teachers in preparation for Common Core assessments," Maddocks said in a prepared statement. "Increased competition in the Chromebook space, fuelled by the entrance of many of the major PC OEMs have kept the space price competitive, while Google has made some innovations such as announcing the availability to run Android applications on the platform as well as launching its own classroom management solution. However with several of the major PC OEMs projected to announce cheaper Microsoft based devices towards the end of the year, competition is only expected to intensify."

Chromebook shipments outnumbered shipments of Windows and OS X notebooks combined. According to Futuresource, Samsung and Acer have become the two largest suppliers of Chromebooks to schools.

Futuresource's latest K-12 Education Technology Market Track is available now. Additional details can be found at


About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).