Google Chromebook is becoming a popular laptop, even outselling Macs and Windows PCs on Amazon lately. Does this mean that Windows PCs are fading away and could be replaced by the new kid on the block? No. I don’t think that’s going to happen though Chromebook is definitely stealing many browser happy users away from under Windows umbrella.
Chromebook – Pros
Google, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Samsung are all manufacturing Chromebooks. A Chromebook can range from $199 to $499 based on features, connectivity, and hardware specifications. Samsung’s Chromebook is just over 2.4 pounds, 0.7 inches thin and offers 6.5 hours of battery life. Other manufacturers also offer similar specs with dual core processors, 100GB Google Drive cloud storage, HDMI ports, VGA ports, Bluetooth, USB ports (2.0 and 3.0), WiFi support, memory card slots, 16GB-320GB hard disk space, and camera – everything an avid Internet user needs.
A Chromebook relies heavily on cloud services. Without the internet, it’s got nothing except a few on-device apps that are not enough to justify a purchase. But not surprisingly, a good number of laptop users are comfortable with this setup. They don’t need the familiarity of a Window or Mac operating system or have use for a Microsoft Office Suite. They mostly work with cloud applications such as Google Apps to get things done and they store most of their stuff on the cloud. For the rest, there’s the Chrome Web Store that hosts a range of web applications for Chrome devices.
The most refreshing thing about Chromebook is its simple user interface. The major part of the Chromebook is the Chrome browser that hosts all web apps. It’s fast and snazzy. All other controls – dialog boxes, text buttons, taskbar, and file manager are well spaced and quite straightforward. It’s the ideal device for students, children, on-the-go workers, and seniors who mostly work on the Web.
Chromebook – Cons
Chromebook has one big failing – its total dependence on the internet. That’s despite having the specs to work very well offline too. Perhaps, the Chrome OS is not mature enough to handle it or maybe Google’s vision is too skewed towards the cloud. However, it’s a lost opportunity. Perhaps, we’ll see more development in this regard in the coming year.
Moreover, internet access is not as common an amenity across the world. In these locations, a Chromebook would not be very useful outside home or office environments equipped with WiFi. Google will lose out to lesser known brands offering affordable laptops in this market. Another failing is a limited choice of apps in the Chrome Web Store.
I think it’s safe to say that Microsoft doesn’t have to worry about Chromebook till Google overcomes its major weakness. However, Microsoft may have something to worry about when it tries to put the blame of Windows 8 tablets’ lukewarm reception on hardware vendors. Not only has this attitude put off Microsoft hardware partners but it’s compounded their lack of faith in Microsoft’s latest operating system.
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