Nearly four years ago I first tried out a Google Chromebook, a laptop that essentially only runs the Google Chrome browser. You can’t load any other software on it at all, which is both good and bad.
The good is that it makes the machine very fast (considering their lower power and low price) and virtually 100% virus-proof; if you can’t load software on it, neither can the bad guys. The downside, of course, is that you literally can’t load anything extra on it — no Minecraft, no Google Earth, no FTP software, etc. It’s not a big deal, since 95% of what most people do is inside of a browser anyhow, but it can be a bit frustrating at times.
With that in mind, the Chromebooks have been great to have around the house, particularly for our girls to use for schoolwork. Quick booting, easy access to their schoolwork on Google Drive, easy user switching and virtually no chance of viruses or pop-ups. They’ve been awesome to have. Many school districts are even moving away from iPads and toward Chromebooks for students. While they’ve served us well, four years of abuse on a laptop has taken its toll and it’s time for a refresh.
Along with the Chromebooks, we also have an old Windows desktop computer in our guest room that they use. The larger screen and full keyboard/mouse is nice, but the machine is really starting to die. The solution? A Chromebox!
So what is a Chromebox? It’s essentially a Chromebook in desktop computer form. The Chromebox is quite affordable (ours was only about $150) and should do a nice job of replacing that old computer. Not only will it work better for the girls, but it’ll save me from having to go in there every few weeks to run Windows Updates and make sure things are moving along smoothly.
When Chromebooks were first unveiled four years ago, I was excited but a bit skeptical. While I still don’t think Chromebooks and Chromeboxes will replace all laptops (there are obviously many reasons you’d want to load extra software on your laptop), I’m beginning to see more and more uses for them.
What do you think of the future of Chrome OS-based products?