The Chromebook is still relatively new on the personal computing scene, and somewhat a divisive issue among prospective purchasers. The first Chromebooks were announced at Google’s I/O Conference in May 2011 and were met with little fanfare, but lots of skepticism. Fast forward to 2014 and things have not changed all that much, except the massive sales and command of the top two best-selling laptop spots on Amazon.
Not quite a laptop, and definitely not a tablet; the Chromebook utilizes Google’s Chrome OS which is basically Google’s famous browser, Chrome, with a hardware interface. Oftentimes, Chromebooks don’t have much more under the hood than you would expect to see in a smartphone; and this is why many are hesitant to take the leap and own one for themselves.
The many criticisms leveled at the Chromebook are well founded, but it is important to recognize that even Microsoft is scared of these new devices and their skyrocketing popularity. What scares the competition is often good for the consumer, and below are 6 reasons why Microsoft’s woes are justified, Chrome OS is great and you can’t afford to ignore the Chromebook.
The chromebook offers buyers a range of remarkably affordable options from a number of great manufacturing companies such as: Samsung, Acer, Toshiba & HP. It has become taken for granted that there aren’t people who can afford the latest Macbook Pro Retina Displays one often sees littering the tabletops of a local Starbucks. Sure there are the cheaper Windows based laptops, but if you want to accomplish anything on those you will need to dish out extra for the appropriate software to accomplish anything. Which brings us to our next topic:
Chromebooks are not just low-budget hardware devices; they represent access. Unlike normal laptops with their traditionally large hard-drives and slow-to-learn OS’s; chromebooks are simple and easy to use. Their simplicity allows them to be fast, and many chromebooks promise a less than 7 seconds startup time so you can get online and be productive faster.
While Apple and Windows are constantly pushing their machines forward to push the limits of what’s possible; Google has made a series of devices for the everywoman/man to find what they need, learn what they want, and do what they must, without barriers!
With Chrome OS, Google has identified exactly what the majority of users need out of their computer and given it to them at a serious fraction of the competition. People, with noted exception, need their computer predominantly for the internet. Because of this, chromebooks are designed to work online and as such, many of them come with mobile data connectivity built-in, try buying that at the Apple Store.
Google has gone pretty much all-in with cloud storage on the chromebooks. Each chromebook purchased comes with 200gb cloud storage, and everything you create or save on them is backed up instantly, so you’ll never lose that all-night 15 page essay again.
Connectivity and affordability are two things that can not be stressed enough in a world where we have begun to realize that access to the internet is directly relatable to knowledge and success. This digital divide, the separation between the internet haves and have-nots, is not just a matter of geography or wifi; but rather the exorbitantly high costs for the hardware required to plug-in. And, the chromebook is the first device to ever directly address this problem in a holistic manner…
… Which is exactly why Google has targeted schools, teachers and students with chromebooks. It can not be overstated how essential connectivity is to education in today’s world and the chromebook is made for everyone from the elementary classroom to the executive boardroom, and every university class in between.
With chromebooks, schools can now afford to give every student internet access, college students can purchase their own personal computer without needing an extra loan, and a homeless man can build his very own app.
With the average chromebook weighing less than 3 lbs. it is hard not to see the appeal when faced with the option of what to carry around in your backpack all day. The materials used in chromebooks are not the fine brushed aluminium of the macbook pro, but they are extraordinarily light and easy to use on-the-go.
With most having a 16gb or 32gb solid-state hard drive, the option to work offline and a 5-7 second boot time; you can pretty much do what you want, when you want where you are.
Chromebooks are definitely built to last. As long as you don’t drop it from the top of your dorm, or office building, a chromebook should last you multiple years. This is due in large part because Google is constantly refreshing and updating Chrome OS, and there are developers all over the world constantly releasing cool apps for it. Oh, and did I mention that chromebooks are virtually virus proof?
The original Samsung Chromebook announced in 2011 is still good to this day, and is in fact the number 2 best-selling laptop (today) on Amazon. In fact, Samsung just announced the release of their second chromebook, but will continue making the first because it’s still a justifiably great purchase, with strong demand.
The Takeaway and How This Changes Education
The chromebook is not for everyone to be sure; it’s not a great choice for gamers, dj’s, web developers or engineers. However, it may be the single most important invention of the new millenium for education. Chromebooks are revolutionizing the technology sector, not by pushing the boundaries of what a personal computer can do, but by pushing the boundaries of pushing the boundaries of who can do it.
Students, all over the world, are getting online [some for the first time] and are able to accomplish amazing things with chromebooks. Because of this, the internet audience is ever expanding which is exactly what Google aims to do, and as a result every industry involved with the internet is coming along for the ride.