Troubling data has started to emerge recently, which shows that many schools are actually scaling back on their investments in education technology at a time when digital education is becoming increasingly important for students. Unfortunately, budgetary restrictions are often to blame, as schools struggle with keeping their hardware and Internet infrastructure up to date simultaneously. More than two-thirds of the schools surveyed by the Consortium for School Networking admitted that they have been forced to cut back on maintenance of existing technology and the acquisition of new machines because of inadequate funding. At the same time, the ratio of computers to students is increasing across the nation, and most schools are struggling with Internet connections that are nowhere near fast enough to support all the teachers and students trying to get online.
Cloud computing is clearly here to stay, and it has spurred the release of several new Internet-based computers over the last few years. Chromebooks have been popular since Google introduced its prototype in 2010, and the Chromebox was launched just two years later. These machines run the browser-centric Chrome OS, and they are both affordable and robust. Recently, the Chinese manufacturing giant Lenovo announced that it was going to enter the mini-computer market with the imminent release of its ThinkCentre Chromebox. This new product is geared specifically toward education and small business users, and it will officially launch in June 2015.