Hardware

Samsung's Chromebook Pro sets the stage for the future of Chromebooks in the enterprise

Samsung's forthcoming laptop, the Chromebook Pro, is a hybrid machine with a plethora of features that could make it a good tool for business users.

Google's browser-based Chromebooks have slowly been trickling into classrooms and offices over the last few years, but the new Samsung Chromebook Pro aims to make the devices even more useful for professionals. Announced in tandem with the Samsung Chromebook Plus at CES 2017, the Chromebook Pro is expected to ship sometime this spring.

For starters, the Chromebook Pro utilizes the hybrid laptop-to-tablet foldover design that made many Windows machines popular, such as those in the Lenovo Yoga. It also features a touch screen and a passive stylus, which have proven popular among professionals.

As far as specs go, the Chromebook Pro relies on an Intel Core m3 processor, and offers 32GB of internal SSD storage, two USB-C ports, and 4GB of memory. When it's available, it will cost $549.

SEE: Chromebooks: The smart person's guide

One of the biggest selling features for this Chromebook, and all that will come after it, is its support for Android apps through the Google Play Store. Google announced the crossover potential for the two ecosystems in May 2016, but it's just starting to take off in the market.

The use of Android apps on supported Chromebooks opens up a host of new opportunities for productivity. However, many apps still don't support the form factor just yet.

The design of the Chromebook Pro is utilitarian, but still professional—it wouldn't look out of place in a boardroom. Additionally, a CNET test of the device saw battery life of close to nine hours.

All of these features combine to make a mid-level priced Chromebook that doesn't really feel like a Chromebook. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing, as it could win over some professionals who are used to a more traditional OS and machine. CNET's Dan Ackerman even called it "the Chromebook for the Chromebook skeptic."

Targeting education professionals and business users was always on Google's agenda for the Chromebook, and the Samsung Chromebook Pro represents the future of how OEMs will approach these devices for that audience. Acer and Asus both recently announced new Chromebooks that make use of styluses and a convertible form factor as well, so we will likely continue to see similar options from other providers.

It's worth noting that Chromebook sales overtook Mac sales in the US in May 2016. Combine that with Google's G Suite advancements and its growing popularity among businesses, and it could be a sign that Chromebooks will eventually be seen more and more as an adequate business tool.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. The Samsung Chromebook Pro has a plethora of features that enterprise users will find handy, and a popular convertible form factor.
  2. The Chromebook Pro will cost $549, and will be able to run Android apps.
  3. Chromebooks and Google's G Suite are growing in popularity among educators and business professionals alike.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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