Report: Global K-12 Chromebook shipments to rise by 32 percent due to COVID-19

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Google donates chromebooks and wifi hotspots to California.

Due to COVID-19 related school closures, global education sector orders of Google’s Chromebooks will rise by 32.3 percent year-on-year, reports DigiTimes. The publication notes Europe, Japan, and the United States-based K-12 learning institutions are driving shipments of the affordable personal computers.

The Taiwanese site estimates coronavirus pandemic prompted school Chromebook shipments will top orders for educational Windows laptops this year.

COVID-19 Drives Educational Chromebook Shipments

According to DigiTimes, international electronics makers will ship 42.1 million Chromebooks to K-12 schools this year, an increase of one-third from 2019. The outbreak of the coronavirus and its subsequent spread across the globe prompted the spike in demand by forcing primary education centers to establish distance learning programs.

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Lacking adequate supplies, school districts the world over placed orders for large quantities of cloud laptops to facilitate the transition. In response, Google donated 4,000 Chromebooks and 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to help rural Californian K-12 students continue their education amid the global health crisis.

Similarly, the Japanese government launched a ¥300 billion ($786 million) emergency initiative to acquire Google-powered laptops for its COVID-19 displaced students.

Why Chromebooks Are Popular in Education

Notably, schools across the globe have viewed Chromebooks as ideal learning equipment before the onset of the pandemic.

After debuting in 2011, Google’s laptop line quickly gained traction in the educational sector because of its comparatively low cost. By 2016, American K-12 learning institutions utilized 58 percent of their mobile device capital on Chrome OS-powered PCs. In 2018, the National School Supply and Equipment Association reported Chromebooks represented 60 percent of U.S. civic educational computer purchases.

Besides, the international education sector dedicated 64 percent of its connected device spending to Chromebooks in 2016.

In addition, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology made the affordable laptops a cornerstone of its Global and Innovation Gateway for All (GIGA) program. Tokyo devised the initiative to provide every Japanese student with a computer terminal, and Google’s PCs beat out competing brands. DigiTimes notes the GIGA plan will be a major driver of global Chromebook shipments this year.

The Future of Laptop Computers

As remote work, education, and sports fandom become an everyday reality, global Chromebook usage will likely increase.

As it happens, Google had been in the process of making its cloud-connected laptops more powerful and versatile before the pandemic hit. Last February, the corporation announced its new Acer-made student Chromebooks would come equipped with quality AMD processors. This January, reports emerged that the Big Tech giant sought to bring Valve Steam gaming platform to its machines.

Plus, in April, the search company revealed plans to optimize the function of Chrome OS by making a chipset supply deal with Samsung.

At the beginning of the last decade, technology critics scoffed at Google’s entry into the laptop market. However, the firm’s PCs have become a staple of global education and could become popular among cost-conscious gamers and workers. It seems the Silicon Valley giant has upended skeptics’ expectations by successfully playing the long game.

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