Last year I bought a sleek Dell Vostro notebook. These past few weeks I’ve been trying out an HP ProBook. Tonight I’ve been checking out Google’s new notebook computer – Chromebook. Very interesting evolution. A notebook from Google?
Most notebook computers have an operating system (PC or Mac) and one uses software installed on the computer’s hard disk. Of course increasingly we’re using hosted applications and storing files in the cloud so there is less software store on the computer’s hard disk.
Google’s decided to launch a notebook computer with neither Microsoft Windows or Apple’s operating system – only the Chrome browser. I’ve been using it and so far I like it.
The Wall Street Journal writes:
The first models will be manufactured by Acer Inc. at a price of $349 and Samsung Electronics Co. starting at $429. They will be sold starting June 15 through retailers like Best Buy Co. and Amazon.com Inc.
Google won’t make money from sales to individuals but expects to get an undisclosed cut from selling $28-a-month subscriptions to corporate customers and $20-a-month plans for educational institutions and governments. The plans, which come with a three-year term, include the laptops and customer support from Google.
The model I’m using is quite light weight (maybe 3lbs), black matte finish (no slip) and appears to have a pretty decent battery life.
I’ve been using just Chrome for the most part on my notebooks (as I’m moving more to a web based only environment) so using Google’s new notebook with only a Chrome browser is simple to get used to.
You login via your Google account and that’s pretty much it – Chrome launches and away you go.
The power of a simple notebook like this is not the notebook. It’s the software. However, I must say there is a camera, nice keyboard and a few browser specific keys for search, full screen browser and nice volume controls. The trackpad is “ok” but at times I have to press it a bit hard to get it to “click”.
Speaking about the software – the way to get the most from Google’s new computer (or any computer that you are using the browser only) is to ensure you know the full power of your browser, can configure all the power tools to make your computing experience more productive and are comfortable in a “cloud only” environment.
One one hand, Google’s Chromebook is just a notebook computer with a browser, instead of a full blown operating system from Microsoft or Apple. On the hand hand the Chromebook loads fast, has a long battery life and showcases the world of disposable computing. If you lose this notebook just get another one – all you need to do is logon to your account to access your files – nothing is on the hard drive.
Is a Chromebook for you? If you find yourself, as I’ve been experiencing, using software less and less, it definitely could be something for you to consider. But if the thought of not being able to download and use traditional computer software scares you – this is not the machine for you.