For many years, if you wanted a laptop, the first choice you needed to make was: Windows or Mac? Laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Apple and other manufacturers either ran Microsoft Windows or Mac OS. Recently, a new class of laptops, Chromebooks, have become a real third alternative. In this blog, we’ll discuss what a Chromebook is and when it might be your best option.
A Third Option To Windows and Mac
Most people have heard of Google’s Android operating system (OS) that runs most of the world’s mobile devices. You may not know that Google has also developed a desktop operating system, Chrome OS. While Android is a mobile OS that competes against Apple’s iOS, Chrome OS competes in the same space as Windows and Mac OS X.
Devices designed to primarily run Chrome OS are called Chromebooks. Chromebooks are made by all of the major laptop companies that also produce leading Windows machines.
Are You Using Desktop Applications?
If you’re running Windows or Mac, you’re probably also using various desktop applications, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop. If desktop applications such as these are essential to your day-to-day work, a Chromebook isn’t for you. With Chrome OS, the system is designed primary to access the Internet using the Chrome browser. Therefore, all of the applications you’ll be using are web-based.
A Google-First World
Google’s primary mission with Chrome OS is to create an environment where you can access Google services, such as Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs, without having to rely on a third-party, such as Microsoft or Apple, providing the operating system. If you’re already living in an all-Google online world, the Chromebook is a perfect and less-expensive option.
An Internet-First Experience
This doesn’t mean that you have to be running all Google to consider getting a Chromebook. It’s more a matter of how much of your computing experience is online. If your day is mostly using web-based email and browsing the web, a Chromebook will do everything you need. Even Microsoft Office users can benefit. If you’re working in their cloud-based Office 365 and OneDrive, you can be very productive on a Chromebook.
More Power For The Price
Why give up the power of a true desktop operating system? The most attractive feature of a Chromebook for most people is price. Really good Chromebooks are less expensive than mid-level Windows machines, and nowhere near as pricey as Macbooks.
There are a few reasons for this. Chrome OS is open source, so you’re not paying for the cost of licensing Windows, or the premium for Apple hardware. Since the primary goal of Chrome OS is to run a web browser, the technical requirements for the hardware are much lower. The amount of memory, hard drive space and processing power to run Chrome OS and the Chrome browser really fast is a fraction of what’s needed for Windows or Mac.
While hardware manufacturers are starting to make Chromebooks with comparable specs as Windows and Mac laptops, in most cases all of the extra power is overkill.
Another big appeal of Chromebooks: they are much less complex to operate than PCs and Macs. If you use a browser now to navigate the web, you already know most of what you’ll need to in order to operate a Chromebook. Since everything is on the Internet, there is generally nothing to lose on the Chromebook itself. Chromebooks are far less vulnerable to viruses and malware then Windows and Mac machines. Even if something were to happen, they are much easier to restore to their original state.
How Has Your Computing Experience Changed?
You have probably been using a laptop for years. Maybe you’ve even bought a few, and probably don’t even think of switching from the Windows or Mac that you’re used to. But, think about how you use your laptop and if it’s changed over the years. Do you ever install any applications, other than a new web browser? Are you storing all of your stuff in the Cloud? Are you spending too much time dealing with keeping it running properly, as opposed to doing what you need to do? If so, then consider switching to a Chromebook for your next laptop. They are designed for the modern, online and always-connected experience, at a lower price, to make your life simpler and more productive.