Will the Google CR-48 $20/month deal be a game changer for K12?
Google is planning to launch a $20/month CR-48 netbook package for students. If it is what I am reading on the web, the CR-48 netbook will include a 2 year contract of 100MB/month Verizon 3G service. So if you were to total the 2 years, you would get a 12.1 inch Atom processor with 2GB RAM netbook loaded with ChromeOS (instant web in 8 seconds) + 3G internet (100MB/month limitation) for about $480. For schools strapped with cash flow, this could be an intriguing option instead of purchasing a netbook up front without any 3G service. So instead of paying $400-$600 up front, a school can spread the cost over 2 years. With 30 Chromebooks at $20/month, the bill would be around $7200, versus purchasing a class set of netbooks up front, say around $600 (after taxes, shipping, and 3 year warranty), which will be roughly $18,000. You also have to provide a wireless infrastructure to support the devices, versus a limited 100MB/month 3G coverage. Many administrators will have to way the cost of owning the device versus leasing a device. If you purchased the equipment, you more than likely extend the life cycle of it another couple years. However, to provide an option for students to receive 3G service at that rate, it could potentially be the better option. Nevertheless, before we dive into any contracts, I would need to answer the following questions:
- What happens to the device after the two years? Does Google take it back?
- Could you lease the device for only 9-10 months and return it for the summer?
- Could the student or school purchase the device after the contract is up?
- What does the tech support policy look like from both Google and Verizon?
- What happens if a student goes over the 100MB/month cap? Is it automatically blocked?
- Is 100MB enough? Will there be options to upgrade?
- Can ERate be applied to the contract?
- What is the warranty on the device?
- Is the offer only for students, or could K12 faculty have this option?
- Will the CR-48 ship with new specs? Or will it still have the N455 Atom Processor?
- What are the student privacy policies on these contracts/equipment?
- Will Google be installing any tracking software on these devices?
- Will they offer a 4G version?
- How customizable will you allow the device to be? Will administrators or students be allowed to make system changes?
- In a K12 environment, will there be security and filtering capabilities built into the device?
- Will the contracts be managed individually, or centralized with school/district?
For a thorough review of the Google CR-48 netbook, check out Jason Bedell’s blog post: Review Google ChromeOS
Valuable Chromebook webinar hosted by @discostew: Chromebook Pilot Program
Here are also a few valuable articles written recently about the Chromebook:
- Google ‘Chromebook’ focuses on enterprise push – Computerworld
- Will Chromebooks for education be a good deal for schools? – RWW – Audrey Watters
- $20 Laptops for Student from Google: The Question to Ask – Cool Cat Teacher Blog
- Is Your School Ready for Google’s Chromebook for Education? – Audrey Watters
- Uh-Oh, Microsoft: Businesses, Schools Love Google Chromebooks – Wired