Acer is a company that focuses heavily on Educational world and, on the occasion of the event BETT 2022presented a series of new products aimed at students and teachers, trying to cover all market segments and satisfy various types of users: from the compact Chromebook 511 and Spin 311 up to the more generous Chromebook 314, passing through the Travelmate B3 and Spin B3 with Windows 11 SE or Windows 11 Pro Education.
We at Tom’s Hardware had the pleasure of interviewing Tiziana Ena, PBU And Marketing Head Of Acer Italywho revealed more details and some curiosities about this new line of products that we are sure will be able to be well received by schools, as they meet the real needs of teachers and students of any grade.
The Chromebook market has grown a lot due to the pandemic and distance learning in 2020, but in recent months we have seen a gradual return to presence, especially in the school environment. As it stands, are Chromebook sales continuing to grow or has there been a reduction in sales volumes?
Contrary to what was thought, that is to say that the beginning of 2022 would be extremely negative, sales continue to go well because we are still in a very flourishing moment, given that Italy as a country was still technologically not very advanced in some segments, such as Education, and therefore today we are trying to run for cover. In fact, if in the pre-pandemic period in the family there was probably only one suitable device, today we are starting to think that the need is to have a device for each component, especially when there are students, and this situation is driving the market a little longer. Unfortunately, the demand collides with the actual availability of products which, although improved compared to last year, is hampered by the lack of raw materials, with consequent delays, as well as problems related to logistics. Overall, however, Acer is satisfied since the beginning of this 2022.
The Chromebook range for the Education world is made up of different models, ranging from those for the little ones, like the CB 511 or Spin 311, to those for older students, or even teachers, like the CB 314. What is, or what are the “flagship” solutions according to Acer?
Acer has a rather extensive range of Chromebook products and to say which is the “best” device of all is a bit of a contradiction, as nowadays there are so many devices that are dedicated to different types of students; therefore, there is no real device that is suitable for everyone, but rather a specific laptop for each type of student, as well as teacher. The best-selling products are those with a 14-15 “display as they have a wider user base, but the models with 11” panels are certainly also very popular, mainly aimed at younger students, for example those of elementary.
Chromebooks designed for the educational world must be able to withstand constant stress from students, especially the smallest ones, but our attention was caught by the declaration of conformity to safety standards for toys. How did you come up with the idea of conforming to these standards during the development phase?
Acer has been working in the world of education for several years and, precisely because it cares so much about this segment, we have tried to create a 360 ° ecosystem that combines not only devices, but also technologies, to meet various needs. This means that Acer is in constant contact with teachers, schools and students and the need for resistant tools is certainly among the priorities. For this reason, a line of products has been created, both in the Chromebook and Windows category, designed to resist in the school environment to meet the needs of this segment. For example, the reinforced chassis and compliant with the two certifications, both the toy and the military one, allow us to offer products that are perfectly in line with the users’ requests. Among other important elements, we can also mention the presence of a display able to rotate up to 180 ° or drain the water in case drops fall on the keyboard to protect the internal components. The choice of these solutions is nothing more than the result of a continuous exchange of options with those who actually use these devices every day.
In schools, in addition to Chromebooks, Windows laptops are also widely used. The new TravelMate B3 with Windows 11 SE offer an operating system designed specifically for the Education world: what are the advantages that these products bring to students, compared to a more “classic” Windows notebook?
Not all schools are aware of the fact that there is a version of Windows dedicated to the Education world. At the operating system level, Windows 11 SE has a simplified interface compared to the standard edition and with a set of optimized tools, but the main difference is that the cost of a license is much lower than a traditional one. From the point of view of use and teaching, absolutely nothing changes, as the tools available are exactly the same, but it is important that schools are aware of the existence of Windows 11 variants explicitly dedicated to schools.
The new Chromebooks and TravelMates are specially designed to accompany students throughout the day. What are the main measures that Acer has taken to ensure that children can face the school days in total serenity?
In addition to everything related to the protection and certifications that we have already discussed above, from the point of view of the design of the products, reinforced hinges and doors have been inserted in order to provide notebooks able to meet the needs of this particular type of users. Other tricks are also the use, for example, of Windows 11 SE for the Windows world, while on Chromebook the use of the Zero Touch Enrollment automatically allows new users to be registered simply via the e-mail address, a particularly important feature both for students and for those who have to manage the fleet. Some devices are very light and it is possible to rotate the display 180 °, not to mention the availability of a wide range of cuts available, including the rather particular 12 ″ one, as well as screens in 16:10 format for greater extension portrait and read web pages and documents more comfortably than the classic 16: 9.
Another very important aspect is linked to sustainability, on which Acer is focusing a lot. In this regard, a touchpad called Ocean Glass was used on some models, made with recycled materials from the sea. Thanks to tools like these, students can look at the world of sustainability in a different way. In addition, some devices have an antimicrobial treatment, both on the screen and on the touchpad, which keeps the glass surface cleaner and reduces the actions of bacteria. Finally, moving on to the software, Acer on laptops equipped with the Windows operating system pre-installs a software called Acer Classroom Manager, which simplifies the management of the classroom and allows the teacher to see what the students are doing, so as to correct them and evaluate their work in real time.