What is Google Chromebook?
Google's first Chromebooks started shipping this month and Cloud-based laptops from Samsung and Acer running Google's Chrome OS are also on track to ship. Problem is, everyone seems to think that Google's new Chromebook is a great laptop -- for someone else.
In this "Chromebook: The Computer for the Rest of Them" article on Datamation, author Mike Elgan looks at the Google Chromebook and explains why he believes that most Chromebooks will be purchased by IT professionals -- not for their own use, but for clueless users, as the latest attempt to prevent those users from screwing everything up and wasting the IT department's time.
Chromebook: The Computer for the Rest of Them
Everyone seems to think that Google's new Chromebook is a great laptop -- for someone else. Apple's slogan for the original Macintosh in 1984 was: "The computer for the rest of us." The slogan for the Chromebook should be: "The computer for the rest of them."
Chromebooks won't be used by most Google employees. They need "real" computers to build the world's most successful search engine and all the other products and services Google builds. Google's work is too important for Chromebooks.
Chromebooks offer a compelling list of benefits. They boot in 10 seconds, then last 8.5 hours on a charge. Because all apps and data live "in the cloud" (on some server somewhere), they don't vanish when your hardware dies or goes missing.
Chromebooks come in cheap Wi-Fi only versions, and more pricey 3G varieties, which also support Wi-Fi. Prices range from $350 for the Wi-Fi-only Acer unit to $500 for the 3G Samsung device. Companies can rent them for $30 a month.
But the Chromebook concept also has major flaws. The company intends to update the software without notifying anyone. That means IT departments can't test those updates before rolling them out.
The biggest flaw is that without an Internet connection, Chromebooks become seriously hobbled. While some apps, such as Google Docs and Gmail, work offline, most apps won't work without a connection.
Chromebook's Biggest Problem
Based on demos (I won't get my hands on one until later), Chromebooks appear to be innovative and well thought-out. The problem is that they're not best at anything.
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