LA schools math quiz: $500 Chromebooks or $700 iPads for students?

District bosses lob Google-powered laptops into formerly exclusive deal with Apple

A technology-for-schools deal touted as a huge win for Apple will become a head-to-head competition with arch-rival Google.

The web ad giant has won the rights to sell Chromebooks to schools as an alternative to iPads, The LA Times reports, citing the Los Angeles Unified School District.

This will turn around what had been a sweetheart deal valued at more than a billion dollars for Apple with America's second-largest school district. The original agreement had called for all students in the district to be outfitted with a handheld computer – an iPad in other words. The deal would have resulted in an estimated 650,000 devices sold for use by students, teachers and administrators.

Samsung, Acer and Dell are among the manufacturers in the running to provide the Chromebooks under the new plan, if they are desired. Apple, of course, will provide the iPads. The fondleslabs, once loaded up with software, will cost about $768 each, we're told, whereas the Chromebooks are $100 to $200 less.

The district's plan with Apple was called into question in August when reports suggested misconduct between Apple, school district officials and software house Pearson. Planned purchases of hardware were suspended that month.

Now, according to The LA Times, Apple will be forced to compete against Google's Chromebook in 27 schools. Under the new plan, schools will be able to choose between purchasing iPads or Chromebooks pre-loaded with the educational software for the district's Common Core educational plan.

Apple has yet to respond to a request for comment on the matter. ®

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