It was inevitable, and we've heard rumors and news and news about rumors of a tablet running Chrome OS for years. All that is behind us now because Acer has pulled the wraps off the first Chrome tablet and it's called the Acer Chromebook Tab 10.
It looks like it will be a winner, too. This 10-inch tablet (9.7-inch display) has a 2018 x 1536 resolution and runs on the same OP1 platform the Samsung Chromebook Plus sports under its hood. There's a Wacom EMR pen with its own slot to keep it in bundled in the box, and the standards like 4GB of RAM and SD card reader are there. The full specifications:
|Operating system||Chrome OS with Android support through Google Play|
|Display||9.7-inch QXGA backlit LED, 2048x1536|
|Rear camera||5 MP|
|Front camera||2 MP|
|Connectivity||2x2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi
|Ports||USB 3.1 Type-C
Combo headphone/microphone jack
|Battery||34 Wh (Up to 9 hours)|
|Stylus||Wacom EMR (included)
With onboard housing
|Software||Support for Chrome Educational licensing
Planned support for Google Expeditions AR
|Dimensions||172 x 238.8 x 9.98 mm
Like most of the Chromebooks we've seen for 2018 so far, the Chromebook Tab 10 is being marketed as a Chromebook, erhm, Chrome Tablet for Education. That means it will have full support for Google Classroom and a Chrome Education license (those are sold separately). In the past Chromebooks for Education had their own expensive slot in the Chromebook world and not every model could take advantage. The Education branding seems to be changing though, and it's great to see solid but affordable Chrome devices qualify for policy management through the Chrome Education license.
The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 combines advances in hardware and application support to enable more meaningful learning for an even wider range of K-12 students [and] encourages students to discover new ways of understanding the world around them. -James Lin, General Manager, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business at Acer
Most of us won't be buying a Chromebook Tab 10 or any other model to use in an educational capacity, though. The good news is that the Chromebook Tab 10 doesn't compromise when it comes to consumer features, either.
The Wacom EMR pen is a fantastic way to add dedicated stylus support to Chrome, as it communicates with the system the same way an active stylus does but needs no power source. Everything is baked into the display and the nib is tracked for both position and pressure. A great selection of Android drawing and writing apps have been updated to work with Chrome's pen support and the experience is actually quite good.
One potential sticking point is having just 32GB of storage available because Android apps do not have access to the SD card to store data. Yet. A solution is in the works, but in the meantime, you might have to mind what you install. Gamers take note.
All in all, this looks to be a fabulous way to kick off the new Chrome tablet category with a solid spec sheet and an even better price tag. April is right around the corner and you can bet we're itching to see what the Chromebook Tab 10 brings to the table.