The first Chrome OS tablet has no keyboard

Acer Chromebook Tab 10

It wasn’t too long ago that we saw the first touchscreen Chromebook, then the first Chrome OS device with a built-in stylus. Now, Acer has just announced the first web-powered tablet – designed with students in mind.

Oddly named after a clamshell-styled device, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is the first Chrome OS tablet with no physical keyboard – in fact, the announcement makes no allusion to a keyboard at all. 

Rather, it’s a classic, all-screen 9.7-inch tablet featuring an IPS (in-plane switching) panel with a fairly high 2,048 x 1,536 QXGA resolution. The good news is that you can still pair it to a Bluetooth keyboard, and the Chrome OS tablet also comes with a Wacom EMR stylus that students can use can use to sketch, take notes and mark up papers precisely.

In terms of power, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 comes equipped with an OP1 processor with a dual-core Cortex-A72 and a quad-core Cortex-A53 processors. Also on board is 4GB of RAM, a 32GB eMMC storage drive, 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth 4.1. 

This Chrome OS tablet also joins the USB-C revolution with a single Gen 1 port for charging and data transfers.

Acer Chromebook Tab 10

Beyond running the usual Chrome OS app, the Tab 10 fully supports the Google Play Store, so users can download any of the millions of Android apps.

Acer also claims users can expect up to 9 hours of battery life to last students through the day. That’s not exactly on par with the double-digit run times we expect from Chromebooks, but impressive nonetheless given the tablet only weighs 1.21 pounds and measures just 0.39 inches thin.

The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 arrives this April with a $329 (about £230, AU$425) price tag that seems a little high at first blush, but it’s basically $499 (about £350, AU$640) Samsung Chromebook Plus specs in a tablet-sized device.

We’ll have to see whether or not it holds up against Apple’s likely education-focused iPad announcement this week, which is clearly Acer's intent with the tablet. Being a major player in the Chromebook for education sector, Acer has a lot to lose if Apple returns its Sauron-like gaze upon this end of the tech world as expected.