What’s ahead for Chromebooks in 2020?
Chromebooks and G Suite for Education have been seriously taking the EdTech world by storm. Today, penetration into the schools market is sitting at over 30 million devices being used as student devices, and 80 million students and teachers on G Suite. That’s a huge slice of the pie internationally for Google.
It’s easy to see why so many are moving towards using the Google systems and devices. The actual Chromebook is low maintenance, can be bought quite cheaply, and offers a simple computing setup that can be used by children throughout their schooling career. The actual devices are also generally rugged and durable – strong enough to stand up to being chucked into a school backpack every day.
Since Chromebooks clearly aren’t going anywhere – except into more classrooms – let’s take a look at what’s in store for these devices in 2020:
2-in-1 and tablet Chromebooks
A new development that started appearing at the end of 2019 is the inclusion of touchscreen Chromebooks. These are coming in the form of a standard tablet from Google itself and a 2-in-1 device from Lenovo (the combination device that has a keyboard plus touchscreen capabilities and can fold over to become a tablet). This appears to be just the start of this revolution, with more manufacturers looking to add to the lineup in 2020.
The first tablet came about because Google was looking to take over even more of the edtech market and competing directly with Apple’s iPad. By offering the option to write or draw directly onto the screen with a specialised pen, Google was hoping to steer users who love the iPad over to them. It’s all still in the early stages, but certainly worth keeping an eye on in 2020.
Linux applications available
In 2017, the Google Playstore was added to all Chromebooks as standard. Users couldn’t get the full suite of apps on the Playstore, but options for apps have started to expand and the integration is getting smoother. The next evolution of this was to add Linux apps to the features of ChromeOS. This crossover was launched in the second half of 2019 and is now becoming widely available and popular.
With the addition of Linux apps, there are more options for programs that can be installed natively on the actual device. These apps don’t rely on an internet connection to work or to access previous content created by them. Yes, this takes away from the great cloud functionality of the Chromebook. However, it does give the device more of a standard laptop feel and opens up some options for use while on the go.
Linux apps are all open source and free to use, which certainly does fit in with the Google ethos. The apps are all contained within the Linux system on each device, so they won’t interfere with the general running of the Chromebook. Currently, accessing and using these apps isn’t quite as smooth as using Android apps. However, the Google Playstore has already had two years to work with ChromeOS.
Extended end-of-support dates
One of the biggest worries most Chromebook users have (now that it’s become public knowledge) is the fact that devices all have a built-in end-of-life date. This date is six and a half years from when the processor used in the device first appeared on the platform. Meaning, if you bought new Chromebooks for your school today but the processor was three years old, you would only have three and a half years of support before Google stopped updating those devices.
The good news is, Google has started extending this date for a large number of existing devices. They are also planning to extend the time frame for future devices by up to 30%. This will give you a lot more time with your Chromebooks. If you’d like to know where your particular devices stand on the support timeline, you can check out the list here.
Thunderbolt 3 is coming to new models
This is fast becoming the way of the future for connectivity between devices. The Thunderbolt 3 technology combines standard USB, display and even audio ports into one USB-C port. It’s much faster and far more secure, and has become standard on many Windows and Apple products in 2019.
In 2020, it’ll be coming to Chromebooks. This tech allows for extremely quick transfer of files from one device to another. It also provides far more stable and impressive connectivity to external displays like smart boards in your classroom.
Further development of the Chromebook App Hub
Google has been hard at work on their App Hub, which launched in 2019. The goal of the Hub was to create a space for teachers to get inspiration and information about Chromebooks and G Suite for Education. This space is ever-evolving and is definitely worth bookmarking if you’re a teacher. It should provide even more insights and apps to use in 2020.
Chromebooks and Mobile Guardian
As the world of Chromebooks expands and matures, we’re proud to be keeping up with what’s happening. Mobile Guardian for Schools will have your back on Chromebooks next year and beyond. Our solution gives you even more control over your devices to make sure your students are safe. Here’s to a great 2019 and an even better 2020!