The first Chrome OS tablet is here

By Stephanie Smith  |  Created March 27, 2018  |  PC |  Other | 

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Chrome OS can run on laptops, desktops, convertibles and several different form factors, until today. Thanks to the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, we can now include tablets to the list. Acer’s Chromebook Tab 10 is pretty much meant as a rival for the iPad since its being announced just one day before Apple is supposed to announce a new low-cost model.

The Tab 10 has a 9.7-inch, 2048 x 1536 display — just like the iPad — with front- and rear-facing cameras, an estimated nine hours of battery life, an OP1 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a USB-C port. There’s also a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. But what’s particularly notable is that the Tab 10 also has stylus support; like Samsung’s Galaxy Note series, the Tab 10 even has a small stylus built right in. It’s a Wacom-branded stylus, and it doesn’t require a battery or any additional charging. The price of the table will be $329, which is the same price as Apple’s current entry-level iPad. Apple’s expected to release an iPad that costs $259 tomorrow, but if you need a stylus, Apple currently sells that separately for $99 more. It also has to be charged and stored separately.

While Acer will sell the Tab 10 to the public, it’s really targeting the device at the education market (again, much like the iPad that Apple is supposed to announce tomorrow). It’s no coincidence that this tablet is being announced today: Acer and Google are very much trying to preempt Apple with an education-focused tablet of their own to bolster Chrome OS in a market it’s already leading. The Tab 10 will likely have some advantages on whatever Apple introduces tomorrow. Though it may be more expensive, having an integrated, non-powered stylus will make it easier to use and store, or offer more options than an iPad that comes without one. (Although, the fact that neither tablet has a keyboard could hurt both and make schools pick a traditional laptop.) The Tab 10 will also be able to run Android apps.

Schools may already be used to Chrome OS, too, as Google’s operating systems currently dominate sales of classroom computers due to their low cost and extensive cloud maintenance tools. At $329, the Tab 10 is somewhat more expensive than other Chromebooks, which often start below $300. But if schools are looking for something like an iPad, Acer has just given them an option.

The tablet goes on sale in North America next month, then expands worldwide in May.