Chromebook envy? No, me neither

Acer Chromebook

Google promotes Acer’s Chromebook

Given the importance of everything cloud, you might ask yourself why haven’t Google Chromebooks taken off in New Zealand.

This is partly because they haven’t been officially launched here.

Chromebooks are low-cost laptops designed for use with cloud applications. Think of them as  thin clients.

Physically most Chromebooks sit somewhere between the traditional laptop and the Ultrabook format. Typically they have low-end processors and small SSDs. Many have built-in 3G data modems.

Chromebooks run Google’s lightweight Chrome OS. The operating system is effectively a swept-up version of Google’s Chrome browser. That makes it idea to use with cloud applications, especially Google Apps. They can’t realistically run anything other than cloud apps.

So why bother?

Because they make life simple. There’s nothing to maintain or setup, Google does all that for you.

You switch on and go. It takes just 8 seconds to boot. Any updating happens automatically in the background. All your data is stored in the cloud. You don’t have to worry about making back-ups. And their design makes them secure when compared to other small computers.

This makes them great for businesses run by people who can’t or don’t want to bother with traditional computers and all the support they need.

But then so are tablets. And that’s why I’m not in the market for a Chromebook. Are you?

6 thoughts on “Chromebook envy? No, me neither

  1. Hmmm. I think there’s more to it. I agree there’s a need for official support in NZ but I think the bigger market is education not business. When I look at my children’s computer usage it is nearly 100% web based. Both their school directed use and personal use. They live in a browser.
    It’s interesting that the first accessories an iPad owner often buys are a cover and keyboard. So the need for a keyboard is definitely there. The Chrome Books are ready to go in this regard. Keyboards are just a more productive interface. The combination of an iPad + cover + keyboard will always be more expensive than a Chrome Book.
    Google also provides Apps for Education free to schools. Everything a school could want with a nice management console. My son’s primary school just when Google this year!
    You’re right about the easy of manageability. Since everything is in the cloud keeping children on task is easy. Unwanted sites can simply be blocked. In low decile schools it’s even possible to have class sets. Each child gets their own account and access to their own data just by signing into any Chrome Book. No need for complicated single sign-on systems.
    The tablet experience for browsing the web is less than satisfying in my opinion too. The need for constant zooming in and out gets old fast. It’s a lot like looking into a room through a keyhole. Hence the proliferation of apps that simply repackage the web into a form factor that works for tablets. The Chrome Book doesn’t suffer from this problem.
    The recent announcements from Google and Mozilla around WebRTC are exciting.

    http://blog.chromium.org/2013/02/hello-firefox-this-is-chrome-calling.html

    https://hacks.mozilla.org/2013/02/hello-chrome-its-firefox-calling/

    With web video this good just in the browser who needs apps.

    Chrome Books must be gaining some traction because CDW has just joined the game.

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/rtn/pr/cdw-google-partnership-turns-a-new-page-for-enterprise-chromebook-solutions/rfid639160510/?channel=pf

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    • That’s a important point. While I was fact-checking my post I saw plenty of references to Chromebooks in education overseas – apparently that’s where they are winning sales.

      My kids finished schools a few years ago, but I feel for today’s parents who are pressured to pay for tablets, netbooks or PCs as well as stationary and, sometimes, uniforms. Getting a $500 (or less) Chromebook would take some of the pressure off.

      We’d need to get support sorted before they were a practical option for NZ schools.

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  2. Pingback: Google’s Chromebook Pixel pushes boundaries | Bill Bennett

  3. If you look at what most people spend their time on its a great option, if they were sold for the US price 250usd to nzd is $300 a small fee to be able to do your school work and everyday emails and web browsing. A tablet is designed for media and chrome book is great for students. I use one everyday while at tech and it does everything I need.

    Best way to get one is buy it from Amazon us and sign up for a Youshop address with the postshop. In total it cost me $360nzd.

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