Google has been running a small segment of its Play Store designed specifically for educational users for the past two years, as part of the tech giant’s efforts to increase tablet adoption in schools. However, the Play for Education initiative will be coming to an end sometime next month, as there simply isn’t that much demand for the service.
Google has announced that it will cease selling Play for Education licenses in about a month’s time, essentially bringing an end to the scheme. This means that new schools won’t be able to buy and install apps in bulk batches for students any more. However, institutions that already own licenses will continue to see support for their tablets until their end-of-life date. Play for Education initially launched in the US, followed by a roll outs in Canada and the UK in 2015.
“As of March 14 or later, Google will no longer sell Google Play for Education licenses. We’re committed to providing schools with the best-in-class tools for the classroom, including Chromebooks” – Google spokesperson
Although this might seem like a disappointment for Google at first glance, the company’s educational Chromebook platform has fared much better. So much so in fact that Apple’s Tim Cook took aim at the platform just before the start of the New Year. Chromebooks accounted for 4.4 million of the 8.9 million devices sold to schools and school districts in 2015 and will now be the company’s primary focus in the education sector.
In a way, Google was hedging its bets with its tablet program, and is now simply closing down the less successful of its two approaches. I have to admit, Chromebooks are much better to work on than tablets anyway.