Throughout this year, market research news has been basically dreary for PCs and PC equipment makers. But, as sales of PCs slip, sales of new-generation devices are rising. Chromebooks, running Google's Chrome OS platform, have been one of the bright spots in the hardware market. Now, school systems around the U.S. are purchasing Chromebooks for students, a trend that Google could subsidize and one that is reminiscent of Apple's strong focus on the education market from years ago.

If you stay tuned to news from U.S. school districts, you'll see that school systems are purchasing Chromebooks at a steady clip. Westwood High School in Massachussetts is buying Chromebooks to issue to students who will return them once they graduate. The Bell-Chatham school board has approved Chromebook purchases for students, as has the Sumner School District.

It's no secret why school systems are opting for Chromebooks rather than computers running Apple or Microsoft platforms. Chromebooks are inexpensive, with solid systems available for under $250. Google has also made solid steps toward providing compatibility with Microsoft Office applications. Through Google's acquisition of QuickOffice, it is allowing users of the Chrome browser and Chrome OS to edit Microsoft Office applications.
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--jeremy