Few can have missed thBack to schoole enticing offers for Chromebooks at back-to-school discounts, with the Google Store offering up to $30 off already dirt-cheap devices, or as little as $159.99 for Acer’s 10-inch Chromebook. Few can have missed as well the news that Windows 10, long anticipated and much tried in beta release test versions, has now gone public, and is available for download, or for installation on new PCs. And is also available on cheap laptop platforms pitched to take on the Chromebooks and beat them at their own game.

Acer, purveyor of ultra-el-cheapo Chromebooks, is one of the first out of the gate, with the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook series, described as “the perfect answer for those looking for an online-oriented and portable notebook with a full Windows experience.” While hardly specced to the max, these machines offer a very favourable price/performance tradeoff in comparison to Chromebooks, and are still able to access many of Chrome’s key features via the Chrome browser. And the Cloudbook 11 will reportedly come in at only $169.

Teleread’s own reporting has already singled out Chromebooks as potentially more-than-acceptable ereading platforms for students and adults alike. There’s no reason to think that Windows 10 budget laptops will be inferior in this regard, especially when they will have access to a far wider range of software. And the downside of Google’s own comprehensive suite of web-based tools – for Google, but definitely not for users – is that much of the Chrome experience, and most Chrome-based resources, are accessible via browsers, with no reason to opt for the full-blown Chrome OS if a comparably priced but far more versatile Windows 10 device is available.

Some feature tradeoff analyses hand the palm unambiguously to Windows 10. Now, for so long as Chromebooks were substantially cheaper than Windows laptops, that could be an acceptable tradeoff; but if the price differential is minimal or nonexistent, then many kids and purchasers will start to ask: Why settle for less? Will Chromebooks be able to retain their lead in the K-12 space? All in all, the battle for kids’ hearts and minds could start to get very interesting – and beneficial for the kids.


  1. @Paul: I’m delighted to see another perspective on Chromebooks to augment my own. Nice post.

    In the end I suspect we would both say, “It depends.” Chromebooks are one way for schools to offer each child a computer while keeping ongoing costs down. Remember, Chromebook apps update themselves, and beyond that, security risks are lower. What’s more, many would say the interface is less complicated than Windows 10’s. And despite the drop in the prices of Win 10 laptops, some would still argue that Chromebooks offer more value.

    If, however, you want to run a wide variety of apps, then, yes, Win 10 is the way to go.

    Meanwhile I’ll be curious to see if the new low-end Win 10 laptops can do justice to Windows. I was pretty underwhelmed by the performance of an econo-laptop from Acer a few years ago. But perhaps the newer successors will be up to the job.


    P.S. Some corporations might be interested in Chromebooks as thin clients that actually can run Windows software remotely via special softwre.

  2. Fun fact: the first Chromebook I ever saw, when they were first being tested, was in the ownership of a fellow shopper at Best Buy. He hadn’t been enchanted with the overall performance of ChromeOS, and so he’d stuck Windows 7 on it instead. See, the thing about Chromebooks is that, if they’re based on a standard Intel chip, as they usually are these days, they can run Windows. So it’s not impossible someone might choose to stick Windows 10 on their Chromebook instead; who knows? 🙂

  3. And I would add that Chrome, Windows 10 and Linux all show how the OS is moving to the background and becoming free as in “free beer”. Remember the enormous hype around Windows 95 and compare it to the relatively muted introduction of Windows 10. Unless you are doing some sort of highly specialized work like architectural design, corporate accounting/tax, or complex graphics, just about any machine will work fine. Your average schoolkid doesn’t need all the advanced features of Excel, Libre Office is plenty, and will run on any machine, and is free to boot. And updating your facebook page works in pretty much any browser, as far as I know. It won’t be long before we all carry our own computers around on a usb-sized stick and plug them in to any available monitor, keyboard and mouse. Then we attach to the great server in the cloud and run whatever apps we want, regardless of the underlying OS.

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