Chromebooks: A cheat sheet – TechRepublic

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This complete information covers every little thing it is advisable learn about Google’s Chromebooks and Chrome OS.

Why must you contemplate a Chromebook? Listed below are three causes
Should you’re available in the market for a brand new laptop computer, a Chromebook is perhaps an excellent possibility. This is why, and why not.

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

Chrome, Google’s market-dominating internet browser, has became an working system that is distinctive to Google-powered laptops known as Chromebooks. These price range units run Chrome OS and are cloud-powered bargains that may assist everybody get work finished 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 enterprise wants simply deployable, versatile, and safe laptops to concern to staff, Chromebooks are value a re-evaluation, 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 shall be up to date periodically as new fashions and options are launched.

SEE: buying activity listing (TechRepublic Premium)

Government abstract

  • What are Chromebooks? Chromebooks are laptops powered by Google’s Chrome OS, an working system primarily based on the Chrome browser. Chromebooks are very reasonably priced and are constructed round G Suite, Google’s on-line cloud companies. Chromebooks are additionally capable of 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 staff, making the machines very priceless to enterprises. Since most Chromebook work is finished 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 is perhaps an excellent possibility for anybody who depends on the cloud or internet apps for many of their work, in addition to Android customers in search of a laptop computer that is an extension of their ecosystem. Plus, Chromebooks are protected by default, because of Chrome OS having built-in safety features. Chrome OS and Chromebook designs make the units a pretty different to an Apple iPad. A number of producers have additionally launched enterprise Chromebook strains as properly.
  • What modifications have made Chromebooks extra sensible? Chrome OS has undergone a variety of modifications because it first launched, resembling simpler entry to offline storage, Android app compatibility, and a variety 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 quite a lot 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. Academic pricing is offered as properly.

Android apps are now out there for Chromebooks, however not all machines are able to operating them. Should 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 faculties 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 easy and customers log in with the identical Google account they use for work. Chromebooks additionally make doing work on an Android gadget 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. Chromebooks have the potential to be cloud-based skinny shopper laptops, doubtlessly disrupting transportable computing as we all know it.

The world continues to maneuver on to internet functions for a lot of features of enterprise: Well being information are saved within the cloud, banking is finished 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. Should you use your work laptop computer primarily for phrase processing, responding to emails, working with spreadsheets, and performing different primary workplace duties, there is no motive to spend $2,000 on a MacBook when you possibly can accomplish the identical duties on a Chromebook that prices a fraction of the worth.

Among the options that enterprise customers eager about Chromebooks ought to learn about embrace:

  • 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 gadget;
  • 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 out a keyboard.

Should you’re on the fence a few Chromebook or an iPad with a keyboard, keep in mind to contemplate the ecosystem; if you happen to already use Android and different Google merchandise, you may get extra use out of a Chromebook, whereas if you’re invested in Apple merchandise like Macs and iOS units, you need to in all probability go together with the iPad.

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

Chromebooks have yet another leg up on conventional laptops and even iOS units: Safety. Chromebooks are very safe—take a look at The Chromium Challenge’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 won’t take lengthy for the development to unfold, particularly as increasingly work (and recreation) is finished utilizing internet companies and never apps regionally put in on a desktop or laptop computer.

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What modifications have made Chromebooks extra sensible?

Chromebooks have been in the marketplace since 2011, however it’s simply prior to now 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 for the reason that 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 vastly extends their usefulness. Whereas some Chrome internet apps can be utilized offline and paperwork will be duplicated to native storage, Chrome OS hasn’t made very sensible possibility, however Android apps do.

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

Nevertheless, Chromebooks nonetheless aren’t full-fledged computer systems, and changing your fundamental machine with one will not be the proper selection if you happen to would use it to do greater than use internet 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 generally is 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 resembling Finest 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 large and options range vastly. Google has a information for locating the proper 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 is perhaps greatest for you or your organization.

TechRepublic’s sister web site CNET has revealed a radical listing of the Finest Chromebooks for 2019, and it covers almost all potential customers and functions. From the CNET opinions, listed below 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 line 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 number of years outdated, however CNET nonetheless mentioned it is an excellent deal. Its display dimension (15.6″) is large in contrast withf another Chromebooks, and it solely prices $224.99. By way of the way it works for enterprise customers, CNET mentioned “as one of many largest Chromebooks, the Acer laptop computer is completely priced for anybody eager about a giant 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 notice: This text was first revealed 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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