What Can You Do With a Chromebook?

16 March 2015

What is it?

A Chromebook is a laptop designed to run the Google Chrome operating system. It cannot run Microsoft Windows. A Chromebook is what's known as a thin client – where the laptop itself only contains basic hardware and storage capabilities and most of the processing is done (and data stored) on Google's Servers.

You sign into a Chromebook using your Google ID (e.g. Gmail ID) – after that you can download specific apps from the Google store to perform functions on your laptop computer.

The Google Chrome browser now becomes more important – most of your interaction with the internet occur with the Chrome Browser.

The Chrome Operating System is basically a modified Linux operating system.

Chromebooks are generally about 50% cheaper than Windows Laptops because of the less hardware requirements. However there are some which are equivalent in cost and performance.

Who is it for?

The device is designed as a low cost laptop. For us it seems a cross between a laptop and a tablet computer with the way apps are displayed on the screen, and their functions.

It is a simple device, which is easy to setup, and easy to use, and mostly secure.

Google says the device is mostly for first-time computer users and households seeking additional computers. Google is also aggressively marketing the device towards schools (particularly in the US) because of its low cost and simple setup.

So the device is for people who have very basic requirements, it's also a good candidate for schools because the device is easy and cheap to maintain. The device also starts up quickly like tablets.

What can you do?

•Browse the Internet
•Watch online videos
•Access online email accounts
•Install apps to provide Microsoft Office like functionality (it is not officially Microsoft Office)
•Remotely access other devices (such as Windows PCs and Networks)
•Access some cloud applications (as long as the cloud app doesn’t require a Windows Plugin)
•And other things!

What can't you do?

•Install Windows Applications (e.g. business software)
•Install Windows devices (most USB drives and external hard drives are OK, but other than that specialised devices such as printers, scanners, input devices, USB sound cards etc. will not work)
•Store large amounts of data on the laptop (most of your data is stored in the Google cloud). Thus you need a fast internet connection with sufficient download allowance.
•Use it without an Internet connection (it needs an internet connection, however it can be used briefly in off-line mode)
•Directly connect to printers and other devices (instead you must print through Google cloud print service)
•Compatibility with enterprise security protocols (e.g. Specialised WiFi security and VPN networks)

There you have it a look at Google Chromebooks. We believe they only have very limited use in the business market at this stage due to their limitations, but down the road who knows? They certainly suit basic home users and educational users and Google knows this and has marketed the devices this way. For more information contact us below.

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