Chromebooks: A cheat sheet – TechRepublic

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This complete information covers every thing you could learn about Google’s Chromebooks and Chrome OS.

Why must you contemplate a Chromebook? Listed here are three causes
When you’re available in the market for a brand new laptop computer, a Chromebook may be a great choice. Here is why, and why not.

With each passing iteration of expertise increasingly more of the issues we use most transfer to the cloud. Google is aware of this, which is why it created merchandise similar to G Suite, which permit customers to create, edit, and retailer paperwork on-line.

Chrome, Google’s market-dominating net browser, has changed into an working system that is distinctive to Google-powered laptops known as Chromebooks. These finances units run Chrome OS and are cloud-powered bargains that may assist everybody get work accomplished for a fraction of the price of a MacBook or Home windows laptop computer.

Chromebooks are very totally different from after they first appeared in 2011. If your online business wants simply deployable, versatile, and safe laptops to challenge to workers, Chromebooks are value a re-examination, particularly if you have not used one shortly.

TechRepublic’s cheat sheet about Chromebooks is a fast introduction to those laptops, in addition to a “dwelling” information that will probably be up to date periodically as new fashions and options are launched.

SEE: Hardware buying job listing (TechRepublic Premium)

Government abstract

  • What are Chromebooks? Chromebooks are laptops powered by Google’s Chrome OS, an working system based mostly on the Chrome browser. Chromebooks are very inexpensive and are constructed round G Suite, Google’s on-line cloud companies. Chromebooks are additionally in a position to run Android apps, making cross-platform work simpler.
  • Why do Chromebooks matter? Low cost laptops operating Chrome OS will be simply deployed to college students or workers, making the machines very priceless to enterprises. Since most Chromebook work is completed within the cloud, the units are a a lot decrease safety danger than typical laptops.
  • What enterprise options do Chromebooks supply, and the way do Chromebooks evaluate to the brand new iPad? Chromebooks may be a great choice for anybody who depends on the cloud or net apps for many of their work, in addition to Android customers on the lookout for a laptop computer that is an extension of their ecosystem. Plus, Chromebooks are secure by default, because of Chrome OS having built-in safety capabilities. Chrome OS and Chromebook designs make the units a horny different to an Apple iPad. A number of producers have additionally launched enterprise Chromebook traces as properly.
  • What modifications have made Chromebooks extra sensible? Chrome OS has undergone a lot of modifications because it first launched, similar to simpler entry to offline storage, Android app compatibility, and a lot of quality-of-life modifications to make them really feel extra like full-fledged laptops.
  • The place can I purchase a Chromebook? Chromebooks will be bought immediately from Google and at shops like BestBuy; enterprise options are additionally out there.
  • Which Chromebooks are perfect for enterprise customers? There are a variety of various Chromebook fashions with a spread of costs to select from, every suited to totally different roles. TechRepublic’s sister web site CNET lists the perfect Chromebooks for 2019.

What are Chromebooks?

Chromebooks are any laptop computer that, below license from Google, runs the Linux kernel-based Chrome OS. Chrome OS is extremely light-weight, drawing virtually all of its interface from the Chrome browser. 

Chromebooks are manufactured by a wide range of distributors, together with Google, HP, Acer, Samsung, Dell, and others. They vary in worth from the mid $100 vary to roughly $1,000 for the Google Pixelbook, or $649 for the brand new Pixelbook Go. Instructional pricing is on the market as properly.

Android apps are now out there for Chromebooks, however not all machines are able to operating them. When you’re curious whether or not a Chromebook mannequin can entry Google Play and run Android apps, examine Google’s Chromebook retailer filtered for Google Play-accessible units. The Chromium Tasks web site additionally has a full listing of Chromebooks that may run Android apps.

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Why do Chromebooks matter?

Chrome OS is extremely light-weight, and so are the machines that run it. These machines will be up to date simply, wiped with minimal effort, and are cheap sufficient to be simply replaceable.

Many colleges and companies are utilizing Chromebooks as a result of the units are low upkeep. Companies that use G Suite can get much more use out of Chromebooks—integration is straightforward and customers log in with the identical Google account they use for work. Chromebooks additionally make doing work on an Android system and a laptop computer extra sensible since many of those units now run Android apps able to sharing knowledge between each units.

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and sensible individual’s guides

As Chrome OS continues to evolve and be extra sensible for on a regular basis use, Chromebooks will matter increasingly more. Chromebooks have the potential to be cloud-based skinny shopper laptops, probably disrupting moveable computing as we all know it.

The world continues to maneuver on to net functions for a lot of features of enterprise: Well being data are saved within the cloud, banking is completed on-line, and even hardware-intensive video games can now be streamed to low-end units. Chromebooks could have the market cornered on the way forward for computing-as-a-service.

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What enterprise options do Chromebooks supply, and the way do Chromebooks evaluate to the iPad?

Chromebooks overtook MacBooks in complete gross sales in 2016, signaling a shift in computing priorities: The cloud is king, and the machine is only a terminal. When you use your work laptop computer primarily for phrase processing, responding to emails, working with spreadsheets, and performing different primary workplace duties, there isn’t any purpose to spend $2,000 on a MacBook when you may accomplish the identical duties on a Chromebook that prices a fraction of the worth.

Among the options that enterprise customers fascinated with Chromebooks ought to learn about embody:

  • Automated updating that forestalls customers from forgetting to put in safety patches;
  • Consumer knowledge is encrypted and cannot be accessed from different accounts on the system;
  • Processes operating on Chromebooks are all sandboxed, so hacking one will not grant entry to a different; and
  • Bootup is verified by read-only code that checks writable code for malicious modifications.

Apple has positioned its latest iPad as a direct competitor to Chromebooks, which raises the query of which one to purchase. In sheer pricing phrases, Chromebooks win out: Low cost fashions run round $300, whereas the brand new 9.7″ iPad that Apple is pushing as a Chromebook competitor begins at $329 with no keyboard.

When you’re on the fence a few Chromebook or an iPad with a keyboard, bear in mind to contemplate the ecosystem; in case you already use Android and different Google merchandise, you may get extra use out of a Chromebook, whereas in case you are invested in Apple merchandise like Macs and iOS units, it’s best to in all probability go along with the iPad.

If you’d like a pill choice, removable Chromebooks just like the HP Chromebook x2 can perform identical to a keyboardless iPad, although at a barely increased worth level of $600 in comparison with the iPad’s $329.

Chromebooks have another leg up on conventional laptops and even iOS units: Safety. Chromebooks are very safe—take a look at The Chromium Mission’s rundown of Chrome OS safety features.

HP introduced in October 2019 a brand new lineup of enterprise-focused Chromebooks and different Chrome OS units, mirroring Dell’s Latitude Chromebooks rolled out for enterprise earlier within the yr.

OEMs are beginning to notice the enterprise-friendly nature of Chromebooks, and it may not take lengthy for the pattern to unfold, particularly as increasingly more work (and recreation) is completed utilizing net companies and never apps domestically put in on a desktop or laptop computer.

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What modifications have made Chromebooks extra sensible?

Chromebooks have been available on the market since 2011, however it’s simply previously few years that they’ve gained momentum. Faculty districts and enterprises are adopting them quickly, and new options make them much more attractive.

One of many largest modifications to Chromebooks because the units launched is the addition of the Google Play retailer, which supplies Chromebooks entry to Android apps and different media hosted on Google’s cell OS retailer.

Android apps on Chromebooks will be run offline, which drastically extends their usefulness. Whereas some Chrome net apps can be utilized offline and paperwork will be duplicated to native storage, Chrome OS hasn’t made very sensible choice, however Android apps do.

Options similar to Open As A Window, native storage entry, and window snapping additionally go a good distance towards making Chromebooks extra sensible for enterprise use.

Nonetheless, Chromebooks nonetheless aren’t full-fledged computer systems, and changing your important machine with one will not be the fitting selection in case you would use it to do greater than use net functions and cell apps. Anybody who wants actual processing energy or desires a piece pc that doubles as a gaming machine ought to look elsewhere. For the common workday, although, Chromebooks is usually a nice match.

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The place can I purchase Chromebooks?

Chromebooks are meant for individuals who already use Google’s suite of functions. Whereas G Suite use is not a prerequisite for proudly owning a Chromebook, it makes getting up and operating a lot simpler.

Chromebooks will be bought at retailers similar to Greatest Purchase, or on-line immediately from Google. Do not dive right into a Chromebook earlier than doing all of your analysis, although: The market is big and options range drastically. Google has a information for locating the fitting Chromebook, and it is value it to search out the one that can work greatest for you.

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Which Chromebooks are perfect for enterprise customers?

With Chromebooks starting from round $300 to almost a grand, it may be powerful to determine which one may be greatest for you or your organization.

TechRepublic’s sister web site CNET has printed a radical listing of the Greatest Chromebooks for 2019, and it covers practically all doable customers and functions. From the CNET critiques, listed here are three Chromebook standouts for enterprise customers.

Google Pixelbook: Sure, it is costly, however that does not imply Google’s flagship Chromebook is not definitely worth the worth. In keeping with CNET, the Pixelbook “has a extra refined design than many lower-end Chromebooks, and makes for an excellent on a regular basis work machine.”

Acer Chromebook 15: This Chromebook mannequin is a couple of years outdated, however CNET nonetheless mentioned it is an excellent deal. Its display screen dimension (15.6″) is big in contrast withf another Chromebooks, and it solely prices $224.99. When it comes to the way it works for enterprise customers, CNET mentioned “as one of many largest Chromebooks, the Acer laptop computer is completely priced for anybody fascinated with an enormous laptop computer for primary on-line use.”

HP Chromebook x2: If a hybrid two-in-one is what you’d choose to make use of for work, the HP Chromebook x2 is one to take a look at. This machine has a removable keyboard and stylus, each of that are included with the machine at a price of $475. “HP’s Chromebook x2 raises the bar for the two-in-one class, combining efficient design, peppy efficiency and a nice show at a killer worth,” CNET mentioned of the machine.

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Editor’s observe: This text was first printed in October 2016. The article was most just lately up to date in October 2019.

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Picture: James Martin/CNET

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