While many pundits are quick to dismiss Chromebooks, some consumers are embracing these laptops. True, from an overall market share perspective, Chrome OS is largely insignificant. With that said, it is absolutely dominating the education segment. Not to mention, as more and more consumers do everything in the web browser, Windows and macOS can be seen as overkill for some.
Unfortunately, many Chromebooks are both underpowered and low quality to keep costs down. While there are some solid models, they are few and far between. Samsung is looking to change this, however, with the long-promised Chromebook Pro. The company announced the premium convertible laptop in January, but now, we finally have a definitive release date.
Samsung unveiled two Chromebooks capable of running Android apps at CES 2017. The first to be available was the less expensive -- and less powerful -- Chromebook Plus, which arrived in February, while the more costly -- and more powerful -- Chromebook Pro was said to arrive sometime this spring.
And it looks like it will, indeed, be in customers' hands by the end of this month, as the Chromebook Pro is now available to pre-order on Amazon, with an estimated release date of May 28. Hey, that still technically counts as spring.
Many people don't seem to understand who Windows 10 S is for. That's why you'll read many comments and stories, including here at BetaNews, saying that Microsoft has introduced a crippled version of Windows 10 that will not appeal to anyone or that the operating system is only here to get people to pay an upgrade fee to the "proper" Windows 10. They're missing the point... by a mile.
If you look at the context in which Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 S, which is its #MicrosoftEDU event, you'll understand that this operating system has a specific scope. It's here so that educators and students who have complained of the complexity of using Windows and migrated to Chromebooks can fall in love with Windows again. That's it. There is no conspiracy, and there's nothing more to it.
Microsoft is due to hold an event in NYC on May 2, and it's widely expected that the company will unveil Windows 10 Cloud -- although it may not be until Build slightly later in the month. On paper, Windows 10 Cloud sounds very much like Microsoft's answer to Google's Chromebook, and leaks suggest this is precisely the market that Microsoft is targeting.
As the May event has an education focus, it's apparent that any low-cost Chromebook-like Windows devices will be aimed at the education sector -- but that's not to say that there won’t be interest from other people looking for cheap hardware. And thanks to the latest leak, we know the recommended minimum hardware spec to run Windows 10 Cloud.
At a meeting with journalists at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, Google's hardware chief, Rick Osterloh, said there are no plans to release any more premium Pixel laptops. We may have seen the last of Google's top-of-the-range Chromebook.
The Pixel name is these days reserved solely for Google range of smartphones. These have proved so popular that the company has struggled to meet demand -- something that also blighted the Nexus phone launched in the past.
Just yesterday, Acer unveiled a beautiful new Windows 10 360-degree convertible laptop for the education market. For many, Microsoft's operating system makes the most sense for preparing a student for the business world. After all, being well versed in things like Windows, Office, and Sharepoint look good on a resume.
Still, Windows is not the best operating system for all cases. Actually, the very secure Linux-based Chrome OS is a smart choice where learning is done entirely through the web or web portal. Today, Acer announces another 11.6-inch laptop for education, but this time, it is a Chromebook. The Spin 11 (R751T) can double as a tablet thanks to the 360-degree dual-torque hinge.
For Google, Chromebooks have not been quite the success the company was hoping for, firmly remaining a niche product. As part of a drive to boost popularity, the company announced last year that it planned to bring Android apps to Chromebook.
But there is, of course, the question of which Chromebooks this means: and now we know the answer. Google has published a list of devices that will support Android apps, as well as revealing that all new Chromebooks will have the feature.
Chrome OS is a very polarizing Linux distribution. While some people very wrongly call the operating system nothing other than a glorified web browser, in reality, it is actually very secure and capable. Many home users do all of their computing in a web browser nowadays, making Google's desktop OS an excellent choice.
Laptops running the Linux-based OS are called "Chromebooks". For many consumers, these computers are attractive for no other reason than cost -- they incorrectly think the platform is all about being inexpensive and low quality. Unfortunately, many manufacturers perpetuate that stereotype. As Google's wildly expensive Chromebook Pixel showed, however, Chrome OS devices can be elegant. Today, Samsung is taking aim at elegance with the all-new Chromebook Pro and Plus.
Chromebooks are wonderful computers -- if they meet your needs. Look, if you do hardcore video editing, or have a need for programs that only run on Windows or macOS, then yeah, Chrome OS will stink -- for you. However, if you live in the web browser and are always online anyway, why not a Chromebook?
Laptops running Chrome OS are particularly wonderful for education, as they are inexpensive, easy to manage, and very secure. Today, Acer announces an affordable model -- aimed at schools -- that it calls Chromebook 11 N7 (C731). Best of all, it is very durable, making it less likely to break in the hands of careless children.
2016 is drawing to a close and we're already looking forward to everything a new year will bring. It gets started quick when the Consumer Electronics Show kicks off 2017, but before we start ogling at all those products that may or may not ever see a store shelf, it's time to take a glance back at the year that was.
Many products showed up on the BetaNews doorstep this year and we all worked hard to bring you an overview of them so you'd know what to buy and what to avoid. Now it's time for me to take a look at a few of my favorite items from the past 12 months.
Chromebooks are very interesting laptops. They run neither Windows nor macOS, but instead, a Linux-based operating system called Chrome OS that puts a web browser on the front stage. It is not just any browser, but Google's Chrome. In other words, most apps are web-based and no other browser other than the search giant's own can be used. It makes for an easy-to use and secure platform, but it can be very limited. They definitely have their place, however.
If you have been looking for a new Chromebook with some modern specifications and features, I have some good news. An all-new convertible touchscreen ASUS Chromebook has hit Newegg. Apparently, the company has not yet announced the laptop, making it quite the surprise. Called "C302CA-DHM4", it has solid specifications, looks great, and best of all, it is reasonably priced.
Many educators won't agree, but perhaps students will: The PC, whether desktop or notebook, is obsolete in the classroom. This reality, if accepted for what it is, presents Apple opportunity to retake the K-12 market from Alphabet-subsidiary Google's incursion and sudden success with Chromebook among U.S. schools. If the fruit-logo company doesn't seize the moment, a competitor will—and almost certainly selling devices running Android.
Chromebook's educational appeal is three-fold: low cost, manageability, and easy access to Google informational services. For buy-in price, and TCO, no Apple laptop or tablet running macOS or iOS, respectively, can compete. Think differently! Providing students any kind of computer is shortsighted, by narrowly presuming that schools, or their parents, must buy something. I suggest, in this time of budgetary constraints, that educators instead use what the kids already possess (or want to) and what they use easily and quickly: The smartphone.
A few days ago, one of my Google+ followers, Steve Kluver, commented on an August 2014 share: "I am shopping for some more Chromebooks this Holiday Season, and found this post via G+ hashtag #chromebook search. How current is your ebook now?" He refers to Chromebook Reviews, which is available from Amazon for sale or for free reading with Kindle Unlimited. I apologized that the tome, published more than two years ago, is "way out of date". If I'm not going to revise, I really should remove the title.
I offered to give him buying advice, which got me to thinking about Chromebook as a concept and computing edifice. While a big fan, and owner of both generations of Google-made Chromebook Pixel, my primary laptop was a MacBook Pro for most of 2016. Measure of commitment: I bought the new 15.4-inch Touch Bar model just a few weeks ago. I've moved on, and got to thinking about why in crafting my response.
Chromebooks are not for everyone, but for many home users, it is absolute perfection. If you live in the web browser -- as many people do nowadays -- laptops running Google's Linux-based Chrome OS are a godsend because they are maintenance free. No need for confusing OS upgrades or anti-virus software. It just works, and it works well. Since they can now run Android apps too, they could become a serious threat to Microsoft and Windows 10.
One of the most attractive aspects of Chromebooks is price -- they are often quite affordable. Today, Acer refreshes its 15.6 inch Chromebook 15 with a mind-boggling 12 hours of battery life. Best of all? It starts at $199. Yes, this model will get Android app support in a future update too.
A lot of pundits like to put down the Linux-based Chrome OS for being deficient compared to more mature desktop operating systems. True, both Windows 10 and macOS are far more useful and powerful -- for now -- but the beauty of Chrome OS is its simplicity. It is arguably the most secure platform too, least likely to experience malware and vulnerabilities. Chromebooks rock, y'all!
With all of that said, Android app support is slowly being rolled-out to some Chromebooks, potentially making them much more useful. Hopefully this does not impact security, however. Today, Acer announces a 13.3-inch touchscreen convertible called 'Chromebook R 13'. While it will not have Google Play support out of the box, Android app support is being promised by the end of 2016.