Why Chromebooks Make More Sense Than Ever
If you've been following the market share reports, you know that Chromebooks--portable computers running Google's cloud-centric Chrome OS platform--are starting to succeed, especially in several niche markets such as the education market. Additionally, PCMag.com has a big story out on why Microsoft should be worried about Chromebooks, and Business Insider has argued that Chromebooks are the best hardware choices for many users. The fact is, some new incentives from Google as well as some newfound forms of compatibility with popular applications make Chromebooks more viable than they ever have been.
One reason to look into a Chromebook is that Google has recently extended its end-of-life policy for Chrome OS from four years to five years. This policy, of course, will not only appeal to enterprise users, but also to schools, which are attracted to Chromebooks for their low costs. Schools want to avoid expensive upgrade, support and renewal costs, and Google is wise to woo them by removing such hassles.
For months now, Google has also been pursuing a strategy that allows users of the Chrome browser and Chrome OS to easily find and run "packaged apps." Chrome packaged apps are now available in the Chrome Web Store, and these applications make a Chromebook more appealing now than they were before.
Part of what's driving Chromebooks forward is that Google is on a rapid release cycle with Chrome OS. And, very importantly, Google has relaxed the fiercely cloud-centric vision it originally had for Chrome OS, so that applications for Chromebooks can be used offline.
You can now get Chromebooks that will let you open and edit Word and Excel files, and Google's Chrome Apps store now calls out applications that you can use offline. While you still can't get some coveted software found on PCs and Macs, such as Photoshop, you can edit videos, play games and more on Chromebooks.
Finally, especially if you have typically used a Windows machine, you are familiar with the sheer amount of malware that gets aimed at that operating system. As Business Insider notes:
"Chromebooks are also extremely secure. Chrome OS apps and web pages run in a restricted environment called a sandbox. This means that if you're accidentally directed to a malicious website, the dangerous content won't be able to affect or access any other apps on your Chromebook."
There are even a lot of predictions coming out about Chromebooks representing a market share threat to both PCs and Macs. When Chrome OS first arrived, questions swirled about it, but it now looks like Google's platform and the low cost Chromebooks that run it are here to stay.