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No Java Support for Chromebooks

posted May 12, 2011, 8:57 PM by Eric Curts   [ updated May 12, 2011, 9:18 PM ]
While digging through the fine details about Chromebooks on Google's support site (http://www.google.com/support/chromeos/a/), I came across a concerning fact about Chromebooks:

In the Chromebook FAQ page at http://www.google.com/support/chromeos/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1290513 there is the  following question and answer:

Will Chromebooks support Flash, Java, Silverlight, and other plug-ins we need for some of our internal applications?
Chromebooks have Flash support built-in, but they do not support Java or Silverlight.

More details can be found on the Chrome OS Plug-ins help page at http://www.google.com/support/chromeos/bin/answer.py?answer=142064 comparing the differences between plug-ins handled by the Chrome browser versus the Chrome OS (and therefore the Chromebooks):

On Windows, Mac, or Linux? Google Chrome supports most popular plug-ins, including Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Java, Windows Media Player, Real Player, QuickTime, and Microsoft Silverlight.
On Chrome OS? Google Chrome supports Adobe Flash Player, the Google Talk plug-in, and PDF.

Is this a concern for schools?  I think it is.  Although the majority of educational websites use Flash, and hopefully more will move toward HTML5 as time goes on, there are many excellent educational websites that still use Java to deliver interactive experiences to students.  Some examples that we currently use in our schools include:
Does that mean that the Chromebooks can not be used for those sites, and for any others that use Java?

When the iPad came out, there was a lot of news (or concern, teasing, frustration) about how it did not support Flash.  Google made a point to announce that their mobile OS, Android, supported Flash and therefore gave you access to the entire web.  Unfortunately it looks like Chromebooks may not give you access to the entire web, including some truly valuable educational resources.

[Note: I have contacted Google for clarification on this issue in case I am misunderstanding the documentation.]
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