Seven iPad alternatives for schools
These tablets give school leaders other options to consider besides Apple’s ubiquitous device
“This is the year of tablets—now is the time when we’re starting to see more and more full-scale adoption,” said Richard Black, director of marketing at Acer.
For schools, Acer specializes in providing Android-based tablet solutions, with five options in the Iconia Tab A series—from the 7-inch, 8GB A100 tablet ($249) to the 10.1-inch, 32GB A700 tablet ($449). All five tablets feature front- and rear-facing cameras. Black touted Android-based tablets as a less expensive option for schools, and he noted that the ever-increasing number of educational apps in the Google marketplace now make it possible for students to access resources such as Wikipedia Mobile and universal dictionaries at a single touch.
For Windows-based tablets, the 10.1-inch Iconia Tab W500 combines the portability and ease of use of a multi-touch tablet with the productivity and efficiency of a standard laptop, starting at $549. It runs on Windows 7 and connects to an optional, dockable keyboard to transform into a complete workstation. In anticipation of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, coming this fall, Acer also has increased its Windows-based tablet offerings with the June 4 launch of Iconia W700 and Iconia W510.
Black emphasized that Acer continually improves upon both types of tablets in ways that meet schools’ needs: For example, all Acer tablets provide 8 to 13 hours of battery life, which can take students in one-to-one computing programs through a full school day.
In May, Acer launched EduCare, a service package specifically for schools. For $179, schools can purchase a tablet warranty that covers accidental damage, such as a child dropping the device, and includes two-way shipping for items that need repair.
Acer also hosts monthly, public webinars by school technology staff from across the country. The May webinar discussed how to implement a one-to-one tablet program, and the March session covered the role of tablets in immersive education.
“[We provide] great products, great price points, and commitment to the education market—it’s a win-win-win,” Black said.