Expectation vs Reality
Recently I saw an article where a reporter had a discussion with a Best Buy employee to determine whether a Chromebook is better than a Windows PC. He heard a major blogger say the Chromebook was better. The Best Buy employee thought otherwise.
While I don't necessarily agree with what that salesperson was saying, I have a slightly different expectation from my Chromebook. Here's what he was basing his response on:
A Chromebook outperforms a Windows PC
A Chromebook is designed for an environment where offline storage is not a requirement. When they were first released Google touted that as an advantage. Quite frankly, it is in certain environments. Notice I said "certain."
Where would that be?
- In a classroom or lab where users are transient and any content they might use is in the cloud.
- In a secure environment where data needs to be controlled and maintained in a central repository.
- While traveling and in public venues
- You've in couch-potato mode and only want to browse the internet. You've little need to edit files.
- You're working in a virtual environment and your applications are served up from a VM.
The reality is a Chromebook is not meant to replace a PC, it's meant to augment under certain circumstances. Is it possible to replace your PC with a Chromebook?
The reality is "under certain circumstances," yes.
So, while the Best Buy salesperson considered Chromebooks to be worthless, there's a reason they're being sold. They have their place.
Will they totally replace a Windows PC? It's not likely; however, with the push to access applications from the cloud there are more scenarios where they make sense.
One other quick note. A Chromebooks are not built to last forever. They're based on hardware that was optimized to support Chromium at a specific period of time. As Chromium evolves, that hardware might not be as supportive. Software updates are frequent with Chromebooks but they'll stop at some point in time. I purchased my Chromebook in 2015, after the last update a week ago, I got a notice it was the last one I would receive. At least they're letting me know when I need to consider replacing the device. It won't become obsolete, but I'll know why things will stop working as advertised. Regardless, I can honestly say I've gotten my monies worth from this Chromebook.
It's important that you set your expectation correctly when considering a Chromebook and even Microsoft knows that. The reality is they're worried and want to maintain your mindshare. Have you noticed the number of PCs hitting the market lately with limited memory and storage? They look and feel a lot like Chromebooks to me and have some of the same limitations.
Would you buy one of those devices in place of Chromebook? A Chromebook is still lighter (operating system-wise,) faster to start and easier to use IMO.
So, how do you feel about Chromebooks? Do you see them replacing your laptop as a couch potato device? Or would you buy once of the new "light" Windows devices?