Google and Acer today announced their collaboration on a new tablet powered by Chrome OS. Called the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, the device is targeted at schools to be deployed to thousands of students as an alternative to a classic Chromebook or other laptops.
The Chromebook Tab 10 uses a plastic build with glass covering the 9.7-inch 2048×1536 display. Above the screen sits a 2MP front-facing camera housed within a relatively large bezel, while a 5MP rear shooter sits on the back. Inside, you get an OP1 processor that we saw in the Samsung Chromebook Plus which will deliver both smooth performance and nine hours of battery life, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a microSD card slot, a USB-C port for charging, and a headphone jack. Of course, you also get 802.11ac Wi-Fi support and Bluetooth 4.1
A feature that should help with all students is the built-in stylus support. Housed inside the Chromebook Tab 10 is a Wacom-powered pen that doesn’t require a battery to be used in conjunction with the tablet. It offers smooth input for things like handwriting and drawing and should provide more precision for users.
Of course, the entire device comes powered by Chrome OS with full Android app support. It’s the first time the OS has been featured on a dedicated tablet so it should be interesting to see what it’s like without a proper keyboard and trackpad.
Surprisingly, I was able to go through this entire article without mentioning the iPad. But let me assure you, it was hard. Apple’s holding an event tomorrow to unveil a cheaper iPad aimed at the same market Acer and Google are targeting: education. By introducing the first Chrome OS-powered tablet a day before, Google has created even more competition between them and Apple as things begin to heat up surrounding both companies’ efforts in the education space.
And honestly, things are steaming at this point. The Chromebook Tab 10 has the same size screen and resolution as the current iPad and share eerily-similar designs. Of course, Apple uses aluminum, but the overall shape and form factor don’t stray too far away from each other. Plus, both devices cost $329 which, clearly, isn’t a coincidence.
We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to make any judgments as to which device schools will gravitate toward providing for their students, but so far, it looks like an uphill battle for both companies.
The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 will be available next month in North America and later expand to other parts of the world.