Once again, fellow blogger, Jason Perlow, has hit on a concept entirely useful to business users, but perhaps even more useful in education. The idea of an Android-based netbook isn't entirely new, Jason hits the nail on the head in his post:
What we really should be thinking about for netbooks is Android, not Ubuntu. With Android, Google has really thought out about what should go into a digital convergence OS. It’s got an excellent built in browser and its interface is as good as anything Apple has, and because it is open source, it would allow multiple manufacturers to use it. Price point of an Android netbook? I’m thinking $300 or less.
Regular readers should know that I'm a huge Ubuntu fan. Will it replace OS X for me? No, not anytime soon. Will it replace Windows wherever I can reasonably deploy it and still meet my users' needs? You bet. However, a $300 Android netbook would sit at that golden price versus functionality point that would be a deal-changer in Ed Tech.
Google is getting there in terms of offline Google Apps. Add to this a solid browser and a growing community of developers and you have one heck of a little device that could easily be customized for K-12. Look at OpenSUSE's educational community (en.opensuse.org/Education): a dedicated core of developers has created an incredible software repository both on the server and desktop side that drastically expands OpenSUSE's ability to meet the needs of educators. Unfortunately, it hasn't seen the uptake it deserves due to a variety of market factors.
Google, on the other hand, is already an established brand, both inside and outside of education. Cheap netbooks running Google software with an active community of developers focusing on education? It's affordable 1:1 nirvana. Thanks, Perlow...now if we can just find someone to start building these things...