Synnex is set to empower Google Chromebook resellers supporting North America K-12 schools and commercial customers. The strategic Google-Synnex relationship will help resellers to deploy and centrally manage fleets of Chromebooks within schools and vertical market settings. The move comes only a few weeks after the search giant further enhanced its Google Apps partner program for resellers.

Chromebooks are web-enabled notebooks that run Google Apps and other SaaS services. The low-cost devices were slow-sellers in 2012 but gained critical mass in 2013. The devices commanded 21 percent of laptop sales in 2013, according to NPD.

Still, Chromebooks have been somewhat of a mystery to channel resellers. On the one hand, there are now more than 6,000 Google Apps resellers. Some of them now attach Chromebook sales to their cloud migration projects. But overall the "channel" for Chromebook resellers has been in its infancy.

Part of the challenge: Making sure schools and resellers can easily manage the devices. That's where Google Chrome Management Console enters the picture. Synnex -- which offers Acer, HP, Lenovo and Samsung Chromebooks -- now offers a range of console services to its North America channel base. The services include:

  • Pre-sales Consultation: Stretching from wireless assessments to console set-up and proof-of-value school trials.
  • Pre-deployment Service: Here, Synnex updates Chromebooks, configures neworks and delivers Chromebooks pre-enrolled to the school district.
  • End-User Concierge Desk: For teachers and administrators; offered on behalf of the solution provider.
  • Onsite Teacher Training: This is the biggest item of all, in The VAR Guy's opinion. Within a local school district, The VAR Guy has heard teacher missteps have been the biggest stumbling block to effective Chromebook use. The kids are ready to run. Google has an effective solution. But the teachers themselves need training, The VAR Guy has heard directly from local community members.

The question marks about Chromebooks are "over. We're here. We're the only game in town right now," said Synnex VP Eddie Franklin. "We've got thoughtful answers to the what-if scenarios with the Chromebook Management Console."

Franklin made it clear that Synnex isn't playing platform favorites -- the company continues to support a range of operating systems and devices. But resellers who can't describe how Chromebooks potentially fit into a K-12 setting will most surely find that they're losing business to rivals that have embraced the opportunity, Franklin said.