It’s been a long time, but it’s finally here – Google’s very own laptop. With the expansion Google has been undergoing in the last few years, it’s really no surprise that the world’s most influential Internet presence is now trying to wield a bit of influence off the net as well. Don’t worry though – Google’s Chromebook was built with the needs of us internet users in mind.
Chromebook isn’t just Google’s gesture toward hardware branding. It’s not even just a challenge to the Windows operating system, or Macintosh. With a laptop made with the web at its heart, it seems to be Google’s way of addressing a shift in the way we use technology, indeed, it’s an acknowledgement that the internet truly is king.
First things first though: let’s look at the hardware.
The two types of Chromebook – one produced by Samsung and the other by Acer – have just what you would expect from a laptop. At the low end of the scale, a Samsung Wi-Fi only model features two USB ports, a SIM memory card slot and a phone card slot. A step up the ladder will get you 3G capability, and external monitors are an option, although Ethernet is not. The Acer models are similar, although it has a shorter battery life and a smaller screen. For those who are constantly on the go, weight is an important laptop consideration, thus both versions come in as real laptop lightweights at around 1.5kg each.
However, I feel in an age of externalities, the lack of extra USB ports could be frustrating, as could the lack of Bluetooth and Ethernet for a web-focussed device.
Now, let’s get onto the good stuff.
Technology lovers are likely to get excited about Chromebook if only for what it represents. Google has been talking about this laptop series for a while now and has always said that it would have a web focus. Well, that’s certainly a bit of an understatement. Chromebook features not only a new operating system, but an entirely new way of using a computer, leaving all programs and as much storage as possible on the web.
This is the one thing that might hold most business owners back. On Chromebook, everything has to be from the web – and I really do mean everything. Google has succumbed to the cloud mania that has been sweeping technological circles, and encourages its fans to do so as well by setting all apps firmly on the web. This is a big step for most users, as the idea of cloud technology access is still a fairly new one.
There are upsides and downsides to the Cloud concept. As anyone who has travelled outside city limits knows, net access isn’t always guaranteed. While it is desirable to be always connected to the web, sometimes business just has to be done without it. When your programs are all net-based, this might make things a little tricky.
Speed and sophistication do counteract some of these issues. While the reviews of Chromebook haven’t all been glowing, there is one area that has drawn admiration, and that’s performance. A superbly quick start-up and swift operations make it incredibly easy to navigate your way around the net.
For those interested in accessing the internet in the most comfort possible, the Chromebook looks an amazing new laptop and will open doors to a new way of doing things. However, for those of us who need a bit more from a laptop, the jury may have to stay out until Google upgrades the series. Whatever your thoughts, Chromebook is certainly leading a revolution.