Google’s Chromebook experiment is something that’s always been pretty interesting around here. For those unfamiliar, a Chromebook is essentially a laptop that only runs Google Chrome. Sound appealing? We’re guessing no.
How about this definition: a Chromebook is essentially a laptop that does not run Microsoft Windows or Apple macOS or Windows or Mac apps. Interesting yet? No? Ok, let’s step back and dig into some of the reasons we think this often overlooked little experiment might be more than meets the eye.
Chromebooks are Cheaper
…On average, that is, than similarly powered Windows and macOS laptops. Google’s $999 Chromebook Pixel provides a variance here, but the rest of the players have filled the void left by that horrific period in IT about a decade ago when Netbooks had their 15 minutes of fame.
Chromebooks are Simpler
Specifically, they run a lighter weight operating system than their PC and Apple counterparts. We’ll spare you yet another talk on the general value of removing complexity from your IT but it applies here as well. This simplicity:
- It allows Chromebooks to boot in less than 10 seconds. More importantly (as it’s more frequently encountered) resuming from standby is instant — not a few seconds, truly instant.
- It allows the use of more efficient processors, including lower cost ARM variants. Imagine a $160 laptop that lasts for a solid 12 hours. There’s a few, and here’s one
- It allows for less associated cruft. You aren’t bombarded with pop-ups to upgrade to the next version of the OS. You don’t see popups to buy more toner for your laser printer or any of the other crapware that popular computers ship with.
Chromebooks are More Secure
Through normal Chrome OS use you’ll find that little of your actual data is stored on the machine. That said, anything on the disk is still encrypted by default via eCryptfs. This is not the case with Windows devices, Windows phone, Amazon tablets, Macs, and most Android devices.
By the way, this also happens to by why our Encrypted Workstations are such a hit in healthcare.
Also on the security front, Chromebooks don’t get viruses. Feel free to pose a few what-ifs and technicalities in the comments, but numbers don’t lie; malware isn’t an issue for the platform.
Future of Chromebooks
The Chromebook project as a whole seems confusing for all. Some of the tech press are infatuated with them while others feel they’re completely nonsensical and destined for an upcoming death. As recent as last quarter, the latest round of confusion grew to such levels that Google felt the need to publicly respond.
As opinions are being thrown about wildly, we’ll play along:
The combination of Intel’s Skylake chips, USB-C, Google I/O, and further maturation of centralized client management tools will result in way more awareness of Chromebooks as a viable option than ever before.
This will increase quickly until the end of Summer 2016 and continue at a normal pace after that.
We’ll be keeping an eye out.