The advantages of a Chromebook over a Windows or Apple laptop
Let’s face it. We all built our computer skills on either Windows or Apple. Most of us are stuck in our own Windows or OSX worlds, unable to move, even if there is a better solution. I’m writing this knowing full well that you will look down your noses to the Chromebook, Google’s browser only laptop. After all, it can’t do everything you need to do, right? Well, not so fast there, cowboy, take another look. Depending on what you need to accomplish, the Chromebook might be just what you need without the expense and risk of a full OS laptop.
First, the advantages of a Chrome “operating system”
- Security – A Chromebook essentially is running a browser. That’s it. There is no operating system, and as such, there are no viruses, no updates, and no quirks of a typical OS. I won’t say that it is completely safe from online security threats, but you sure won’t need an anti-virus program.
- Cost – With no operating system, there you don’t have to purchase new versions and updates. Yes, the browser software is updated periodically in the background, but that happens in the background and is mostly transparent. With no operating system, there is no OS cost in the hardware. You can buy a very capable Chromebook for less than $200. Finally, there are thousands of apps for Chrome, most of them free.
- Security again – The primary limitation of a Chromebook – not running your typical OS based apps – may be a good thing. Users can’t get distracted by programs that suck their time away, like the most popular games. Gaming sites and download sites are a primary source of most viruses.
Here’s where I may lose you
There is no operating system, so you won’t be able to run your favorite programs. You will never install MS Office on a Chromebook. You can’t. BUT:
- There are Lots of Apps – Today, there are cloud versions of most of the software that you grew up with, including MS Office (Office365). These services work with Chrome, but the online versions may not have the same capability as the installed versions. It is my experience that most users will do everything they have to do in the cloud versions of MS Office and Google Apps.
- Using the Cloud Can be More Secure – If you don’t store your files in the cloud, you are always at risk of losing those files – whether it’s someone stealing your device or you getting the crypto virus, storing your files on a local disk drive just isn’t the safest proposition anymore. The Chromebook forces you to keep your files in a cloud repository, and I see that as a good thing. If you think that someone can hack into a Google Drive or OneDrive backdoor, you’d have to show me where they happened. Yes, someone could hack into your account on either of those services, but that usually happens because of your crappy password. Consider 2 factor authentication, and you will have better security that most people.
In the end, if your main drivers for technology adoption are saving money, saving time, and being more secure, your analysis has to include Chromebooks.