The Chromebook was initially met with scorn and mockery. That has changed.
Running on a foundation of Linux and selling at a price point nearly anyone can afford, the Chromebook has finally hit its stride. As of this writing, the top two best-selling laptops on Amazon are:
- Acer C720 Chromebook
- Samsung 11.6 Chromebook
In fact, six of the top 20 best-selling laptops are Chromebooks.
There's a reason for this popularity. And there are plenty of reasons Chromebooks are a good choice for many businesses. Let's look at why the Chromebook belongs in companies across the globe.
1: Cost effectiveness
You'd be hard-pressed to top the price point of the Chromebook. Unless you're looking at the Pixel (which is a stunning piece of work), you'll be dropping about $179 to $300 USD for one of these devices. At the pace hardware is replaced these days, that's a welcome prospect for businesses — especially for a reliable mobile device. The Chromebook offers outstanding ROI. As the years progress, usage won't bog these babies down, so (barring a hardware issue) they'll work as well as they did when you first bought them.
2: Seamless integration with Google Apps
More and more small businesses are migrating onto Google Apps, and they'll want devices that integrate into that platform with ease. That's the Chromebook. On no other platform will you find such perfect integration with Google Apps. And with Google Apps enjoying increasing success within the world of business, the Chromebook will become an essential element in Google's toolkit.
No other device gives you this much speed for such a low price. Because ChromeOS is a single-minded platform, it doesn't suffer from bloat like most other operating systems. A device featuring an Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4 GHz and 2 GB of RAM feels far more powerful than it should. And with a boot time of between four and 10 seconds — and instant-on from sleep — you'll lose no work to laggy machines.
By its nature, the Chromebook lends itself to an efficient experience. When you work with a Chromebook, you know what you're getting into. Although you can use the internet exactly as you would any other machine, you'll find fewer distractions than you would on a standard PC. You work, full screen (for the most part), focused on the task at hand. And because there is absolutely no learning curve, getting up to speed on the device is like hopping from one web browser to another.
Remember, ChromeOS is based on Linux, so it already enjoys an incomparable level of reliability. And because the users won't be installing the standard applications, there's little to no concern for malware and virus infections. These devices just work. That means an added cost savings for businesses, very little downtime, and hardly any user training. Imagine not having to spend resources removing viruses and malware on a daily basis. Imagine not having to hand-hold users on how to use a PC.
6: Browser-based work
Most everything we do now is tackled through a web browser — so much so that the software on a standard PC is slowly becoming waste. With that in mind, why would most users even need a standard PC when they can do everything they need with a web browser — and one of the best browsers on the market?
7: Apps and add-ons
If you think the Chromebook is nothing but an overhyped web browser, think again. With an ever-growing app store, there are more tools than you might expect. And as the Chromebook continues to rise in popularity, the app store will continue to expand to include increasing numbers of business-focused tools.
8: Cloud friendliness
Remember a few years back when no one knew what the cloud was going to be? Now we know, and it's become essential to doing business. The Chromebook is the ideal cloud-centric tool on the market. But even without the cloud, the Chromebook still functions (working in offline mode). If your work has migrated to the cloud — or soon will — why not make use of the single best cloud platform available?
9: Outstanding hardware
I've compared the trackpads and keyboards of the low-end Chromebooks to those of higher-end hardware. I have to say, the Chromebooks get the nod on almost every instance — especially with the trackpads. Getting quality builds for such a low cost is a huge plus for businesses that need machines that users can use effectively. Even comparing the flagship Chromebook Pixel to a MacBook Pro with Retina, the Chromebook hardware wins, hands down.
I've already mentioned the Pixel, but it deserves special mention. If you're looking for a piece of hardware to really and truly impress clients, walk past the MacBook Pros and go directly to the Pixel. The Pixel is without rival for screen, keyboard, and trackpad. Period. Once you've experienced the Pixel, all else will pale in comparison. For CEOs looking to get that special nod from clients and other executives, the Pixel is the Aston Martin of laptops. It may seem shallow (and something few would admit to), but a solid first impression can sometimes make or break a business deal. An ugly truth made beautiful with the Chromebook Pixel.
Here to stay?
The Chromebook is here to stay. For those who say "nay,"
I would first ask they use it before they abuse it. The Chromebook is an ideal
tool for much of what users do on a day-to-day basis. With incredible cost
effectiveness, reliability, longevity, and seamless integration with Google
Apps, choosing a Chromebook for business is a no brainer.
What do you think? If you have yet to try a Chromebook, what's stopping you? If you have tried it, what did you love/hate about the device?
- 10 apps that make Chromebooks feel like a real desktop
- Three ways to record and share a presentation with nothing but a Chromebook
- The future of computing has a name: Chromebook
- Private school's Chromebook program explains why Google's laptops have captured nearly20% of the educational market
- Put Chromebooks in proper context: This is not a joke
- Pricey Chromebook Pixel: Built well but impractical to upgrade
- Chrome books find a cozy corner at CES (CNET)
- What Chromebooks can do offline (ZDNet)
- Your next corporate computer might be a Chromebook (ZDNet)
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.