The new Google Chromebook is one of the hottest new devices to hit the computing scene within the past few years. With the new product launch, Google didn’t want to just unveil a “new and improved” version of the same old thing. Instead, they want to truly cause a major disruption in the way we think about laptops, hardware and personal computing.
Although most of the headlines seem to be focused on the inner-workings of the Chromebook technology and its controversial OS, many business owners and IT executives have been asking about the strategic benefits of implementing this new technology.
So below, I’d like to present the 10 most important ways in which the Chromebook approach will change the way your company manages and uses laptops.
- Speed! Chromebooks are fast – gone are the days of turning on the PC in the morning, walking to the kitchen to get some coffee, making breakfast, chatting with a coworker, then returning to find your email just about loaded… Chromebooks boot in 8 seconds (from off – they resume from sleep in less than a second) and quickly connect to wifi or broadband so that you can get instantly online and be productive.
- Ditch the 3G dongle! No need to fumble around your briefcase only to find that your software is outdated and you can’t in fact connect as hoped. Chromebooks have integrated 3G broadband with 100MB free data per month from Verizon in the US (and similar deals in Europe, with more to come)
- Long battery life – work all day with a single charge. Leave the power brick at home, and don’t worry about battling colleagues for an outlet at the conference room table.
- Desktop as a service – with the new subscription model for Chromebooks for businesses starting at $28 per month ($20/per for schools), and includes the device, phone support, hardware warranty, a web-based management console to help IT centrally deploy and manage all Chromebooks in an organization, and an OS that will get better and better over time (Chrome browser is on a 6-week update cycle, and Chrome OS will be in sync with that).
- All you need is the web. Because of new, improved web standards like HTML5, browser apps are at parity (or better) than their desktop-based cousins. These web apps can even run offline!
- Web-based management for IT. Included in the subscription is a 100% web-based central console to help IT administer Chromebooks across a business or school – from 10 devices to 10,000 (or, hopefully, more!). From any web browser, the admin can provision (set up) new users, configure applications that a user or group of users will use (this is equivalent to “imaging” or “ghosting” a traditional desktop machine, but instead of hours/days with Chromebooks it takes seconds), set device policies and Chrome (browser) policies, such as allowing/disallowing extensions, whitelisting/blacklisting, etc.
- Total cost of ownership – Gartner estimates the total cost of ownership of a traditional desktop machine anywhere from $3-8K, and about 70% of that is maintenance/non-hardware related. With the subscription model that includes the device, phone support, device replacement/warranty and web-management, Google believes that they can cut that number significantly – at least in half.
- No more patching! Chromebooks are built from the ground-up to be secure. From verified boot each time the OS is fired up to sandboxing each tab of the browser to protect any threats from spreading, Chromebooks promise to save IT folk a lot of headaches – both from preventing users inadvertently infecting machines to saving them the labor or manually patching each machine when a known exploit goes “in the wild.” Chromebooks are always up to date and that includes security updates. More on security features here.
- Stateless device – don’t worry, all your important/sensitive data is in the cloud! Stats: 1 in 10 laptops stolen within 12 months of purchase, and 60% of corporate data resides on PC unprotected. With Chromebooks your data is safe in the cloud (Google’s if you choose to use Google Apps or whatever cloud you choose – it’s your web!)
- This is bigger than just a couple of new devices and a new OS. Business computing is in the middle of its greatest transformation in a generation, and this is the beginning of the next phase. This is a long-term vision – and Google is just getting started!
I would like to thank the team at Google for their assistance in providing such great insight into the new Chromebook. If you’d like to order your own Chromebook, they will be available for sale on June 15th through this link.