Google's Chromebooks haven't exactly seen the kind widespread consumer adoption the company would like, but apparently they are starting to make some small inroads in the education market. During his keynote at the annual Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) conference in Orlando, Google's Rajen Sheth revealed "hundreds of schools across 41 states" have at least one classroom with Chromebooks.
The exact figures were not revealed so it's impossible to know how many individual Chromebooks have actually made their way into the U.S. school system. However, the company did announce three new major deployments that will see 27,000 students provided with Chromebooks in Illinois, Iowa and South Carolina.
The "one-to-one" program includes the Council Bluffs Community School District in Iowa, which is deploying 2,800 Chromebooks in its high school and 1,500 in two middle schools, the Leyden Community High School District in Illinois, which is giving the devices to 3,500 students in their two high schools, and the Richland School District Two in South Carolina which will deploy 19,000 computers.
Google's web-centric laptops from both Acer and Samsung are available starting at $299 and offer a pretty basic hardware combination that includes 11.6- to 12.1-inch screens, a dual-core Intel Atom N570 processor, 16GB of solid-state storage, Wi-Fi and optional 3G connectivity. Google also offers a "Student Package" that allows college students to pay $20 per month for a Chromebook.
The announcement comes just days after Apple made headlines with its latest push into the education market, introducing iBooks 2 and partnering with big-name publishers to sell individual textbooks for $14.99 or less – a fraction of the cost of many physical books today. The Cupertino-based giant claims that there are 1.5 million iPads being used in education and will leverage this to try and revolutionize learning.