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Locally-made Google laptops for SA schools

An Adelaide-based company will assemble Google Chromebook laptops for South Australian students in an Australian-first partnership with the Californian tech giant.

Jan 18, 2024, updated Jan 18, 2024
L-R: Allied VP of sales and marketing Luke Flesher and Premier Peter Malinauskas. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily.

L-R: Allied VP of sales and marketing Luke Flesher and Premier Peter Malinauskas. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily.

Cleve Area School and Murray Bridge High School will be the first two schools to trial 60 Chromebooks made in time for Term 1 by Beverley computer maker Allied, under a new partnership with Google.

Allied will be given access to Google’s IP and design standards to assemble the devices in Adelaide, which will have a ‘Made in China’ and ‘Assembled in Australia’ badge on the casing.

The company will be the 13th tech company in the world permitted by Google to manufacture and produce the laptops, and the first to do so in Australia. Allied was unable to disclose the value of the deal.

Allied, which currently makes computers for video game enthusiasts from its Adelaide site, said it could manufacture more than 100,000 Chromebooks per year and hoped the partnership would create 500 new jobs.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said the partnership was “a big deal”.

“What we’re seeing in Adelaide is a renaissance of manufacturing as it changes to a new, globally competitive marketplace,” he said.

“Allied, with young leaders who are dynamic and competitive, show that we have the ability to do this at home.”

Allied VP of sales and marketing Luke Flesher said the Chromebooks were a “game changer for education”.

“They’re incredibly secure, they’re lightweight in terms of resource requirements, and they bring with them a lower cost base, meaning more devices per dollar spent,” he said.

“Chromebooks will now be made here in South Australia and available for the state government, the national government and educational institutions to procure these laptops.”

The nuts and bolts of Allied’s Chromebooks. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily.

Google regional manager Paul Hutchings said the tech giant selected Allied because of the company’s reputation in the gaming space.

“Allied is such a good brand; they’ve been doing so much in gaming, they’ve got good credibility in that respect, but we were also looking at the opportunity to really drive local production,” he said.

Hutchings said there was a “very structured and rigorous process” to go through to become an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for Google, and congratulated Allied for being the first firm in Australia to pass through those hoops.

The company will initially just assemble the laptops using kits supplied by Google, but Flesher said Allied had broader ambitions.

“As part of an expansion program, our plans would involve a new manufacturing facility that would involve robotics and automated processing, to move from assembly to advanced manufacturing,” he said.

“That’s something we’re talking to Google about as well – there’s another level of manufacturing accreditation that we would need to go through for that. But it’s a very different scale of economics and that’s a part of our longer-term plans”

The Premier said the state government would back Allied in via procuring its locally-assembled laptops.

“What we’re talking about here is government support through procurement – that is the acquisition or purchasing of laptops made locally,” he said.

“If we’ve got the capacity to produce laptops locally at a competitive price point… then that’s exactly the laptop that South Australian kids should be using.

“We can’t have a situation where children grow up in a household that is more economically challenged, missing out on access to a laptop, because that is a tool of the workforce of tomorrow.”

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