1 in 5 U.S. school districts now using Chromebooks says Google VP

Samsung Chromebook XE303

Not everyone is warming up to the idea of Google Chromebooks, but the education market seems to be. Chromebooks are used in 22 percent of U.S. K-12 school districts said Google’s┬áCaesar Sengupta, vice president of product management for Chromebooks, speaking to Business Insider on Wednesday.

2013 Chromebooks

We knew that some school districts were adopting Chromebooks — it’s been a recent recurring topic on our Chrome Show podcast — but more than one in five school districts taking the Chrome OS plunge is more than I expected. And I’ve been using a Chromebook full time for nearly 1.5 years.

The rising adoption makes sense though for a number of reasons. For starters, most Chromebooks are lower in price that traditional laptops or computers: You can find a few models for under $200, for example. They’re also easy to manage and deploy through the Chrome Admin console.

Of course, Windows machines can be managed through Microsoft’s tools as well, but having done that in a past life — I used to flash images, manage and deploy laptops to a mobile sales force in the thousands — it’s more of a complicated process than managing Chrome devices. Chromebooks are inherently more simple: A Linux kernel and the Chrome browser are the bulk of the software.

Should Microsoft be worried? Maybe in the long-term, but Windows isn’t going away from the classroom any time soon. However, the entire browser and cloud based approach provided by Chromebooks does have cost and usability advantages both for end-users and for support organizations. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues in the education market, and if it does, how Microsoft tries to combat it.

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