Chromebooks are the biggest selling platform on the PC market. Period. End. Of. Story. At least on the consumer side of the fence. When you take a look at the numbers in the world of business, the story is a bit different.
Google isn't happy about that and wants to do everything they can to even up that lopsided playground. To that end, they understand that, as the platform exists, there are a few holes in the landscape that need to be filled.
With the help of Dell and Asus, some of those holes have been filled.
You may have already heard of the business-ready Chromebook Pixel and the Asus Chromebook Flip. Both machines offer powerful, well-built hardware ready to take on the navigation of daily business life. Now you can add the Dell Chromebook 13 into the mix. Outside of the Pixel, this new Dell-powered Chromebook is one of the first in form to be considered a true Premium Professional Chromebook. What sets this particular piece of Chrome OS hardware apart from others? Plenty. Let's take a look.
Productivity and connectivity
The Dell Chromebook 13 was created to meet the needs of an on-the-go, productive lifestyle. This new chromebook features i3 or i5 processors with up to 8 GB of system memory, 16 GB of storage, and up to 12 hours of battery life. This machine boots in under 6 seconds to get you up and running immediately. If you happen to rely on video conference calls, you'll find the combination of the 720p HD webcam, dual array mic, and the IPS display (with anti-glare and touch options available) a perfect combination.
Look and feel
The Dell Chromebook 13 is a sleek machine that any business person would be proud to show off. The carbon fiber cover and sleek, rounded edges make this one sexy mobile option. But it's not just about looks. This machine makes use of a carbon-fiber weave cover, a magnesium alloy palm rest, and aluminum alloy base to make it both light and sturdy. The 13 inch, 1080p IPS display is a scratch-resistant, Gorilla Glass NBT solution... so you won't have to worry so much about damage when on-the-go.
Okay, so we can go on and on about the hardware. The truth of the matter is all Chromebooks will forever be judged against the Pixel. As an owner of a first-gen Pixel, I can say that (outside of battery life) no laptop I have touched comes close to that piece of flagship hardware.
With that said, what exactly is Dell doing differently with this new Chromebook? What is it that makes this new hardware so business-centric? With the Dell Chromebook 13, you get support for the following:
- Dell's leading manageability, security and desktop virtualization solutions
- Dell's unique IP from Dell KACE (which provides inventory management and service desk support)
- Dell SonicWALL Mobile Connect (VPN) app
- Dell Secure Mobile Access appliance (which provides secure access to company resources)
- Optional Content Filter subscription services
- Dell Wyse vWorkspace desktop virtualization software (which enables the user to access Windows applications and environments)
- Google's cloud-based management console
- ProSupport Plus
Those features truly set the Dell Chromebook 13 apart from all other Chrome OS offerings to make this the first enterprise-centric Chromebook. And this is exactly what the Chrome OS platform needs... the first company to show off just how well the Chromebook can integrate into the landscape of business.
Release and price
The new Dell Chromebook 13 will be made available to the US and Canada on September 13, 2015 and will start at an amazingly low $399.00. You'd be hard-pressed to find a similar piece of hardware at that price.
It is my belief, that once the Dell Chromebook 13 hits the market, other business-centric offerings will follow. Enterprise businesses need a level of ease and reliability they can get with the Chromebook. Now, thanks to Dell, they get just that... with the addition of some features crucial to enterprise computing. Dell has always been about finding solutions that make sense (like with their line of developer-specific Linux laptops... such as the XPS 13). The Chromebook 13 will go a long way to enabling business users to work more efficiently and reliably.
What do you think? Will Dell's Chromebook usher a new rise in Chromebooks for the enterprise?
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 jackwallen.com.