According to a tweet (shown below) from @GoogleForEdu we should be expecting more Chromebooks to hit the market sporting stylus pens.
— Mike de Leon (@EdTechDeleon) January 24, 2017
This news comes right on the heels of the announcement from Google that they partnered with Samsung to bring us the Samsung Plus and Samsung Pro Chromebooks, each sporting a stylus.
Besides those two Samsungs, we’re told to look for more Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP, Dell and Lenovo all with stylus and touch support. We even have some details already on two of these models: the Acer Spin 11, and the Asus C213, both aimed at the education market.
Before we get into the specs for these two machines, here’s a quick quote from Google regarding the stylus pens that we’ll be seeing in the near future:
Stylus capability: Both Chromebooks come with an intelligent, affordable stylus for student note-taking and drawing. The low-cost pens resemble #2 pencils with a unique eraser for correcting mistakes and don’t need charging or pairing, so they can be shared and easily replaced if lost. These Chromebooks use an input prediction model built using Google’s machine learning to ensure writing is extremely responsive. And with Optical Character Recognition in apps like Google Keep you can easily search handwritten notes.
This is all great, especially for educators. We all know that kids aren’t the most responsible creatures around. It’s not a matter of if they will lose their stylus, it’s a matter of when and how many times.
Alright let’s take a look at that Acer and Asus.
The Acer Spin 11 Chromebook:
First of all, I’m a bit disappointed. Awhile back a friend of mine brought in a Windows laptop of his that was quite unique. Instead of folding the screen all the way back like the 360 degree hinge sporting Asus Chromebook Flip, the screen on this Windows laptop actually spun around on a vertical axis, and then folded back down on top of the keyboard, with the screen up. This was great because then you weren’t pressing keys and the touchpad while holding the device in tablet mode.
Given the name “Spin”, I initially thought this was how the Acer would work. Sadly, it’s not. It has a 360 degree hinge like every other convertible Chromebook we’ve already seen. Which isn’t a bad thing really, it just got me excited there for a second that we were getting something we hadn’t seen yet in the Chromebook universe.
Anyways, here are the specs.
From Acer’s website:
Built on the Chrome operating system, the notebook has an 11.6” HD IPS display with highly accurate touch sensitivity. It is powered by either an Intel® Celeron® quad-core processor N3450 or Intel® Celeron® dual-core processor N3350 depending on model. It also and comes with 4GB/8GB LPDDR4 memory and either 32GB/64GB on–board storage through eMMC flash.
Wireless connectivity comes through with 2X2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, while wired connectivity comes through with 2 USB Type-C ports (USB 3.1 Gen 1 – up to 5 Gbps transfer of data, DisplayPort over USB-C and USB charging) and two type A USB 3.0 ports as well as a MicroSD card reader.
The Chromebook Spin 11 (R751T) weighs in at 1.4kg and measures 296 (W) x 206 (D) x 20.5 (H) mm and has up to 10 hours of battery life.
The Acer Chromebook Spin 11’s design is specialized to handle the rough-and-tumble of the classroom. Adhering to the stringent U.S. MIL-STD 810G military standard2, the Chromebook Spin 11 is tough and can withstand daily knocks and drops, whether a drop from a table or being jostled around in students’ school bags. Thanks to a reinforced chassis structure and rubber bumper surrounding the keyboard, the Chromebook Spin 11 can withstand drops from heights up to 48 inches (122cm). The design also incorporates a unique drainage system which can endure up to 330ml of spilled water and channels liquid away from important components. As a further barrier to damage, the keyboard has recessed keys that prevent students from removing, swapping or otherwise interfering with the keys.
So 4 or 8 GB of RAM, that’s a huge plus. 32 or 64GB of internal storage might come in handy when it comes to installing Android apps. A decent Celeron processor from Intel. Military grade durability, which is almost touch enough for middle schoolers. USB-C port, as well as two USB 3.0 ports. This is a solid machine! Add the stylus and Android apps and kids are gonna absolutely love this machine.
The Asus C213 Chromebook:
Well we don’t really know anything about the Asus yet except that it has USB-C, 360 degree hinge, rugged corner bumpers, a stylus and Google Play Store out of the box.
Google is also quoted as saying “…we expect our partners will continue to build an even wider variety of Chromebooks in the future, including detachables and tablets.”. I don’t know about you, but that excites me. I like the idea of a detachable keyboard on my Chromebook. I’m typing this on an Asus C302CA Flip 2 right now, and it’s pretty sweet that I can flip the screen back into tablet mode, but it’s a tab bit heavy with the keyboard and all. I would love to just detach the screen from the keyboard and have a real tablet mode for watching Netflix or reading Google Play Books. Then, I can attach the keyboard again when I need to get work done.
Thanks to +Chip Colandreo for the tip