Can Chromebooks Challenge The Full-Fledged Laptops?

With the market for Netbooks on a steady decline and critics stating that Netbooks were all but dead, Google took its chance to announce the Chromebook in 2011. Much like Netbooks, the Chromebook was supposed to be a portable, low cost alternative to laptops. While most Netbooks ran on Microsoft’s Windows platform, the Chromebooks would run on Google’s new Chrome OS. The Chrome OS is a cloud based, internet centric operating system. The idea of a cheap, cloud-based computer looked appealing to many and Google hoped its Chromebook would set the market on fire.

Is the Chromebook a success or a dud like its predecessor?
Statistics suggest the latter, with data from NetMarketShare revealing that barely 0.02 per cent of overall web traffic comes from Google’s Chrome OS. With an ever evolving OS in the Chrome OS, Google had an interesting prospect in its hands but it is yet to fully hit the ground running. Google’s timely updates are regularly improving the OS, but there is still a long way to go. Make no mistake, the Chrome has excellent web browsing capability, but its offline usage leaves much to be desired. The utility of the Chromebook remains in question, owing to the fact that there are hardly any useful apps in Chrome’s web store. 

Android’s Play Store and iOS’s app store are stocked with countless useful applications, and with most tablets in the market today running on either Android or iOS, it increases the usability of these devices greatly. Both Android and iOS make the Chrome OS look like a joke and a switch from Android/iOS to Chrome OS wouldn't necessarily be a good one for most users. Needless to say then, that Mac and Windows users would find it even more difficult to adjust to the Chrome OS. Chromebooks haven’t been able to replace either tablets or laptops and the failure of the Chromebook to impact the market can be vastly credited to the limitations of the Chrome OS.

That is not to say that Chromebooks are perfect otherwise. Customers haven’t quite taken to the idea of cloud storage yet. Cloud storage based OS’s are fresh targets for hackers, who have easy targets in the likes of Google Wallet etc. Also, cloud storage's aren't 100% reliable and you could lose some very important data. The Chrome OS comes off as an operating system tailor made for schools and lacks the functionality of Windows, Mac or even Android and iOS.

Is it already the end for Chromebooks then?
Not yet. Like I said, Chromebooks are perfect devices for school students, making students learn how to use a keyboard to type in the age of touch screens. Their portability makes them good secondary laptops and the cloud storage, while not fully reliant, helps you keep your data safe even if you damage or lose your laptop.

While most businesses today prefer using tablets and laptops over Chromebooks, the future might just see the trend turned upside down. The Chromebook is optimized for Google’s apps, such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive. It also runs most websites and web based applications flawlessly. Thus, Businesses that are heavily reliant on Google apps or web based applications will find Chromebooks easier to manage than most tablets. Another thing that works in Chrome OS’s favour is that it requires no antivirus or mal-ware installs, yet the device remains safe from any viruses. 

Thus, I expect the Chromebook to carve a niche market for itself among schools and businesses. While businesses are yet to catch the Chromebook bug, a lot of schools have already started using Chromebooks instead of laptops.

Can Chromebooks replace laptop computers?
I don’t think so, not in the near future at least. Chromebooks are heavily reliant on the web, so much so that most Chrome apps don’t work without an internet connection.
If you’re a sucker for games, then the Chromebook is bad news for you. Firstly, the limited processing power doesn’t allow for higher end games to be run on the device and secondly, the Chrome Web Store doesn’t have a wide choice of gaming options.

The Microsoft office suite isn’t available for the Chrome OS either, which means you can’t view your old Microsoft Documents but you can NOT edit them. However, you can use google drive to create new text documents and spreadsheets.
Overall, only those who are on a tight budget and mostly use a browser or browser based applications would comfortably adapt to life with Google chrome. For all others, we have the good ol’ Macintosh and Windows OS.

About The Author:
This article has written by Sanjay Kumar Negi.. He is working with

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