Acer is preparing to release a Windows 10 laptop at a price point that sounds almost too good to be true. Technobuffalo.com reported on July 25, 2015 that Acer made an announcement about the Acer Aspire Cloudbook, which will be available in mid-august.
The Cloudbook will be a notebook type of computer, available in 11 and 14 inch screen sizes, with prices starting at only $169. Acer did not reveal any detailed specs, but likely this will be device suited to a specific type of user with basic computing needs. The Cloudbook could be a device aligned the needs significant number of students across K-12 and higher education, analogous to Chromebook users.
The name “Cloudbook” indicates limited, if any, physical storage. The intention seems to use mostly the cloud for storage. This would be analogous to the Chromebook strategy where most everything is stored in the cloud, and very little on the physical machine.This strategy requires a persistent internet connection in school, and elsewhere. This could be a concern because some students do not have internet connections at home.
In this price range, a very modest processor is likely to be along the lines of a Celeron or Atom. For a good number of students, internet browsing and search, accessing web sites, and using applications such as a word processor are the primary uses of a technology device, thus low power processors are quite sufficient.
Memory, or RAM, is perhaps the biggest single factor affecting computer performance. How much RAM will be standard and how upgradable the Cloudbook will be, are important questions that need to be answered. For such a low priced computer, expandability options might also be limited or non-existent.
For an inexpensive machine running Windows 10, this is an intriguing new offering. The price point is something many schools and students could afford, especially compared to more expensive tablet options that cost 2-4 times what the Cloudbook is going to be priced.
As many schools have discovered, tablets often offer limited functionality, mostly because of productivity limitations and the lack of an integrated keyboard. The recent iPad debacle in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) continues to serve as a prime example about up front analysis, and properly aligning technology to educational needs. The most expensive technology is not the best solution particularly if not aligned to student needs. Many schools are successfully using Chromebooks, which are a fraction of the price of tablets.
Surely no one size fits all, but for schools and students with limited budgets and basic computing needs, this could fit the bill for many.