For years, the crown for a productive system that is the center for college work, office stuff, and personal preference has been for a majority, dominated by PCs. Some niche pockets of the first world, rooted for the Mac’s. But then that would be it. There would be somewhat cooler kids around who would give Ubuntu or Redhat a try, but then when it comes to getting real work done, they lost the battles, period. Then we hear of a small child with a big ambition, Google enters the race.
Growth of the Chromebooks
Not long ago, Google comes up with its brand new OS for the Laptop form factor, they call it: Chrome OS. Well, Chrome browser became famous really fast. It provides a browser for your phone as well as your PC. And the seamless sharing of your sessions, bookmarks, cookies, and passwords made it an all-time favorite. Then Google expanded the browser horizon by launching a Chrome app store, which is basically browser specific chrome apps that run on your browser. The list expanded pretty well. Now we have a host of apps which simulate every kind of production application that you would get on a smartphone or a PC. But then, they are still browser-based which fundamentally rely on the Chrome application. So it definitely doesn’t expand itself to use the system resources, like the PC x86 apps would do. This started changing with more and more development going into the Chrome apps. We are at a stage where a Chrome app can actually run as an individual app, although still dependent on the Chrome browser Kernel.
The next ambitious step was to start envisioning Chrome as an OS altogether, which takes things to a whole new level. Now you are betting against the big guns, Microsoft Windows and Apple OSX. They are the long-standing Kingpins who guard the rail. The polish and durability provided by Windows and OSX were way out of Chrome OS’s league. When it comes to App quality, App footprint and compatibility of the OS with the processor and GPU, they were ruling it. So Google shifted to strategies to what it conquers… Cloud capabilities. They start marketing Chromebooks with Chrome OS as a Netbook which needs an internet connection but then you never lose work. Every single keypress gets replicated on the cloud and you are always backed up. People started relying on Google Docs and Google slides running on Chromebooks than their MS Office alternative, where after an hour of documentation, a crappy error prompt just makes your app restart and there goes your hard work, down the drain. Chromebooks have apps like Google Keep that makes note-taking effective, fun and efficient, being simple, unlike Microsoft One Note that confuses the heck out of people with its notebooks and then shuts down for no reason, or the Notes app on Mac that doesn’t want to sync with anything other than your iPhone. So Chromebooks have for long, been the lighter, affordable, flashy little side gadget that’s fun to carry around but was never considered seriously for heavy duty work.
Vision of the Chromebooks
Chromebooks grew stronger in both power handling and efficiency. Also, many manufacturers starting making them. Acer, Lenovo, and Samsung to name a few. Chromebooks also started becoming a hit in the college-going crowd. Note taking and collaboration was best with Chromebooks, plus it comes at an affordable price. Chromebooks grew stronger as an OS and the hardware suppliers kept making the devices more and more powerful with its next iterations. Although amidst all the popularity it got, it still suffers carrying the name tag of a cheap laptop that does help you with basics.
Google wanted to change the game. As history tells, a device is a success when the software marries the hardware and they work in harmony, much like the Adam and Eve of a workstation. Microsoft did it with the surface line, Apple has been doing it since ages with the Mac line up of Desktops and laptops. Now Google, being at the same brand position launches the Pixelbook. The Pixel brand caught up quite the hype over the years as android loyalists have been very content with the Pixel phones. So Google enters the $1000 territory of laptops by launching a radical new designed notebook with high-end quality, better finish, and bull’s eye precision. So now, if I walk into a store with cash burning a hole in my pocket, and be looking at a premium lineup of the laptop, I’d probably give a second look at the Pixelbook after going through the MacBook Pros and surface books.
Google’s also trying to get the seamless game boosted up for its Phone OS, Android. It’s been trying hard to integrate Google’s Android Apps to run on the Chrome OS. Some of the Apps have successfully ported but were yet to reach the stage, where we just pull up the play store and start installing Android apps on the pixel book. But Google’s close.
So we can conclude that Chrome OS and Chromebooks are definitely targetting to get the stage, where they skip a line and be the primary daily driver from being a side gadget. They are focussed on seamless integrations over the cloud, which is their strongest asset. The weak areas they are working on is inter-device integration like that of Apple. This will be done eventually as more and more interactions are designed between Chromebooks and Android Phones. Also, the Chrome OS is maturing in every release, making it more capable of using local resources and still maintaining the cloud capabilities.
Endgame for Chromebooks would be a Light, powerful, reliable, seamless, ergonomic and productive machine that give Microsoft and Apple, a run for their money. Do you agree with my point of view?
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