SA to trial locally-made Google laptops in schools

Chromebook laptops will be assembled in Australia for the first time under a new deal between Google and Adelaide-based gaming PC manufacturer Allied Corporation to supply the computers to school students.

The partnership – Google’s first with an Australian manufacturer – opens the door to state and territory governments to buy locally-made laptops for schools, creating more than 500 new jobs in South Australia in the process.

Premier Peter Malinauskas on Thursday heralded the partnership as “ground-breaking”, saying the state’s Department of Education will consider sourcing Google Chromebooks locally upon the successful completion of a trial.

“The fact that Google – one of the world’s biggest companies – wants to use South Australia as its base for manufacturing in Australia and New Zealand is a huge vote of confidence in our great state,” he said.

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas at an Allied Corporation facility. Image: Twitter/@PMalinauskasMP

Allied Corporation, which produces high-spec gaming PCs and ships them across the world, will make the Chromebooks at its manufacturing facility in the suburb of Beverley using intellectual property and design standards supplied by Google.

It is one of only 13 companies worldwide to have been approved by Google to manufacture Chromebooks, according to InDaily, and the first in Australia and New Zealand.

Two South Australian public schools – Cleve Area School and Murray Bridge High School – will test the devices in the classroom, with 60 Chromebooks expected to be ready for students when they return from the summer break later this month.

Pending tests to understand whether the devices “can withstand the rigours of the classroom”, Mr Malinauskas said South Australia’s Department of Education would then have the option of procuring Chromebooks locally rather than from overseas.

“It’s an exciting prospect to think there is potential for devices manufactured here in this State to become a viable option for our South Australian schools and indeed for schools across the country,” he said.

Allied chief executive Aron Saether-Jackson described the partnership as a “game-changer” for the company and proves that Australian companies are more than capable of high-tech computer manufacturing.

“Our gaming PCs are already in demand all over the world and with this new partnership, Australian governments will have the option to buy superior laptops that are locally manufactured, at competitive value,” he said.

“We’re in a race for the jobs of the future and we welcome the vision of the government, and its policies that prioritise procurement from SA-based firms over companies from overseas.”

Google and Allied also hope to supply the devices to other public and private schools across Australia and New Zealand that rely on Chromebooks, which Google for Education director Colin Marson said are the “preferred device in education globally”.

“With the support of the South Australian Government, we are excited to be working with South Australian manufacturer Allied to assemble Chromebooks in South Australia for the first time,” he said.

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