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The Digital Divide Starts With a Laptop Shortage

New York Times |

A surge in worldwide demand by educators for low-cost laptops and Chromebooks — up to 41 percent higher than last year — has created months-long shipment delays and pitted desperate schools against one another. Districts with deep pockets often win out, leaving poorer ones to give out printed assignments and wait until winter for new computers to arrive.

Adding to the problem, many manufacturers are putting a priority on producing expensive electronics that net greater profits, like gaming hardware and higher-end computers for at-home employees, said Erez Pikar, the chief executive of Trox, a company that sells devices to school districts.