Let’s face it—when Google first announced that it was developing a Chrome OS, there were quite a few naysayers from tech pundits who didn’t exactly find it as dazzling as Google had proposed it to be. It was meant to be a “nuclear bomb” against Microsoft’s OS, and everyone had to admit that this was a steep claim. Microsoft may be making pratfalls in the Microsoft Surface RT (pretty big ones at that, in the area of Apps and their always-down App Store), but the Chrome OS pilot program was so bare at the time and not truly well-developed that it still doesn’t compare. The fledgling OS still had nothing on the years of experience from the people at Microsoft.
The “Pilot” Chromebook
But it looks like Google is learning from its mistakes. The Chrome OS had initially been released as a Chromebook (the hardware developed by Samsung, a highly reliable name in mobile electronics and one of Google’s biggest shareholders in terms of Android OS stock). The Chrome OS is designed to specifically be a netbook operating system (the way Android was developed for smartphones and tablets). As the name suggests, the OS is heavily reliant on Google related features—Google Chrome, Gmail, Google Voice, Google Drive; all of these things are already within the Chromebook, and similarly, it’s heavily interwoven into the online services. Google Chrome features largely on this, and most of the functions are accessible via the cloud through Google’s online services.
Because it’s so reliant on online services, the Chromebook is just that—running on cloud services. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—a lot of people are already heavily dependent on web services and the fact that everything could be done online makes it less cumbersome in terms of installations and updates. It’s especially beneficial to people who just need that extra notebook computer to work with, separating work from their casual computing needs on a more sophisticated laptop.
The New Chromebook
We’d like to say the “new” Chromebook, but there apparently is more than just one floating around by now. The Chrome OS seems to have been sneaking up the draw in the OS ranks and apparently, according to the results put forth by Google at last (they had initially been quiet about the sales of the not-so-promising project), the Chromebook with its latest upgrades seem to be getting increasingly popular on large enterprises and educational installations. Perhaps this is because the bare, online-dependent OS and low price make it desirable for companies who just want their employees to have their own work laptops on their virtual office or for schools who want to give their students access to educational material online.
Acer (another “Chromebook” manufacturer) has revealed that sales of the $199 Chromebook takes as much as 5-10% of the sales shipments in the United States. This is a noteworthy slice of the pie dominated by Microsoft PCs or iMacs. Regular users also seem to be getting attracted to the handy, lightweight netbook.
The Chromebook is currently available from Acer, Samsung, Lenovo, and even HP (although the HP one is currently drawing flack for being the most unnecessarily expensive and heavyweight of the other Chromebooks). It looks like as Chromebook develops more and more,the more it becomes worth looking into.