What is a Chromebook? Everything you would like to understand
In the US, Chromebook features a 60% market share among students from kindergarten to the 12th grade. That’s quite significant number, to start with. Further, Google is bringing huge improvements to Chrome OS to form it a viable alternative against Windows and macOS. So if you’re wondering what’s a Chromebook exactly, well you’ve got landed at the proper place. during this article, we are taking a glance at every aspect of Chromebooks beginning with its very definition. we’ve also discussed its OS , headline features, the target users, whether you ought to switch from a Windows PC or not, and more. So having said all of that, let’s begin the article and learn more about Chromebooks thoroughly.
Everything you would like to understand About Chromebook and Chrome OS
1. A quick History
Before learning about Chromebooks, we’d like to understand what powers this machine and its history of development. Chrome OS is that the OS of Chromebooks which is developed by Google a bit like Windows is developed by Microsoft and macOS is developed by Apple. Chrome OS could seem sort of a new OS within the realm of desktop computers, however, it’s now almost a decade old. it had been first announced in 2009 and therefore the first commercial Chromebook was made available in 2011. It’s a Linux kernel-based OS and primarily supports web applications instead of native apps. this is often one among the explanations why Chromebooks are so fast and light-weight as compared to other desktop computers.
During its conception in 2009, Chrome OS was touted to bring a replacement era of consumer computing where applications and user data will remain within the cloud. However lately, we are seeing that Chrome OS is slightly moving faraway from that. we’ll discuss of these aspects of Chromebooks and Chrome OS intimately below, but in simple words, we will say that Chromebook may be a lightweight computer that holds tons of promise for the overall consumers.
2. What are the simplest Chromebook Features?
- Performance and Battery
I would say the simplest feature of a Chromebook is that it’s not a demanding machine in terms of hardware resources which translates to exceptional performance and battery efficiency. Again, all of this is often possible due to the lightweight OS it’s running. As i discussed above, Chrome OS intrinsically supports web apps only. So there are not any system frameworks hardwired to the kernel except the Chrome browser. A Chromebook boots up in seconds and is prepared to be used the instant you log in, unlike the laggy mess that’s Windows OS.
Since the OS is so lightweight, it doesn’t require much horsepower. you’ll easily do a bunch of tasks like watching videos, writing documents, sending an email on a cheap Intel Core M3 processor (for comparison, M3 is ranked much below the Intel Core i3). At an equivalent time, the battery life remains stellar and you’ll comfortably get two days of medium usage during a single charge. Generally, you don’t need a strong processor on Chrome OS unless you’re compiling thousands of lines of code or creating CAD renders within the browser. Simply put, if you’re moving from a Windows PC to a Chromebook, be able to be surprised on these two fronts a minimum of .
- Offline Support
Contrary to public opinion , you’ll now use Chromebooks offline. you would possibly be thinking how is it possible to access an internet site , say as an example Google Docs without the internet? Well, Google has developed something called a PWA (Progressive Web App) standard that makes an offline wrapper of an internet site . It works and feels considerably sort of a native app, but it’s essentially an internet app created using the browser components. you’ll comfortably access and use web apps to the complete advantage while being completely offline. As and when, you’ll be connected to the web , all of your files are going to be synced via Google Drive.
- Android Apps
In the above section, i discussed that Chrome OS is moving faraway from its foundational principle and this is often what i used to be talking about. Now, you’ll use many Android apps on your Chromebook through the Google Play Store. While Android apps are faraway from being perfect on Chromebooks, it shows that Google is trying to bring native app support on Chrome OS. In case, you’re wondering how it’s done, Google has baked in Android Runtime (ART) compiler on Chrome OS. It’s a layer that permits Chrome OS and Android apps to speak with one another .
In simple words, an Android subsystem is installed on your Chrome OS which allows you to access Android apps without much friction. Also, there’s support for Google Assistant which is a component of the core OS and not a mere add-on. So, it becomes much easier to look using voice commands throughout your Chromebook and therefore the web.
- Linux Support
Similar to Microsoft, Google is additionally bringing support for Linux on Chromebooks. The project remains in beta, but the results are quite promising. you’ll virtually run any Linux apps on Chrome OS which may be a huge development. In my testing, the Linux Terminal worked flawlessly and it took only 0.25 seconds to download the Google homepage through the curl command. If you compare it with a Windows laptop running the Linux Shell (almost an equivalent config), it took 1.04 seconds which is 4x quite Chromebook’s download time. aside from that, I also installed GIMP through Linux on Chrome OS and it went through flawlessly. However, the performance wasn’t up to the mark because it was running during a container. Nevertheless, Linux support on Chromebooks may be a great step for bringing students and developers into the Chrome OS fold and that i hope it improves over time.
- Security and Updates
Security and seamless updates are one among the most aspects of Chrome OS. From the very beginning, Google has made it clear that users won’t need to worry about security updates on Chromebooks. It’s because Chrome OS has something called a Seamless Update Mechanism where users don’t need to manually update the OS or await the updates to be installed, unlike the horrendous Windows update system. As and when Google pushes the update and security patches, Chrome OS will automatically download it and install it on another partition. Now, whenever you restart your Chromebook, the boot slots are switched to the new partition and you get an updated OS without even realizing it. that’s on behalf of me , one among the simplest features of Chromebooks.
3. Chromebook vs Windows PC
If you’re considering to maneuver from a Windows PC to a Chromebook, this section will assist you make the choice . First of all, the difference between both the OS is especially in its objective. While Chrome OS is for a selected set of users with limited use-case, Windows may be a matured desktop OS with support for innumerable native applications for all types of users. Further, Windows is compatible with both native and web apps and enjoys massive developer support from everywhere the planet . to not mention, Windows OS has almost become the de-facto platform for gaming.
Simply put, Windows is for everybody regardless of whether you’re a mean or knowledgeable user.
However, Chrome OS’s bright side is that it’s great at delivering performance (even on a significantly slower processor) while maintaining stellar battery life. On both these counts, Windows doesn’t match up with Chrome OS and that’s why Chromebooks have carved out an area for itself within the desktop market. aside from that, you’re not missing on the gaming front if you subscribe Google’s game-streaming service Stadia. you’ll play desktop-class games on your Chromebook regardless of the hardware which is awesome. to not mention, we are slowly seeing that Microsoft is following Google’s footsteps and decoupling Windows (e.g. Windows 10S, Windows 10X) to form it flexible and modular like Chrome OS.
All this means that both the operating systems have their shortcomings and therefore the companies try to enhance their platform. However, at now , Chrome OS remains nowhere near Windows as a full-fledged, desktop-class OS.
- The EOL Conundrum
Each Chromebook features a specific end-of-life (EOL) date which generally lasts for 5-6 years. It means you’ll get updates and security patches directly from Google only within the EOL period. Also, confine mind, the EOL period doesn’t start once you buy the Chromebook, but it gets activated when the merchandise is certified by Google, much before the particular release date by OEM.
In contrast, Windows update isn’t tied to specific computer models. As long as Microsoft continues to support an OS , you’ll get the update regardless of what. this is often where Google’s policy on Chromebook updates gets murkier and it’s really disappointing. Basically, after the EOL, you’ll not get any security patches on your Chromebook making your computer susceptible to security threats. And you can’t even install Windows on your Chromebook because the method is extremely complex and out of the way for any average user. So, if you’re getting to buy a Chromebook, confirm to see the EOL date.
4. Is Chromebook For You?
To put it simply, if most of your work is completed on an internet browser then Chromebook is that the best piece of hardware that you simply can choose . It’s miles before Windows laptops in terms of both performance and battery life. you’ll use it for writing, creating presentations, watching movies and videos and basically every general task that the majority people do on their computer. Also, with the addition of Linux, students can do programming (supports Vim) and tons more. And just in case , you’re an Android developer, there’s native support for ADB (Android Debugging Bridge) also .
Having said that, if you’ve got a fanatical use-case like graphic designing, CAD rendering or video editing, etc. which needs a strong native application then Chromebook isn’t for you. it’s a limited scope and Chromebook is broadly targeted at general users, students, and developers. If you’re one among them, you’ll definitely pick a Chromebook with none hesitation.
Are You Getting a Chromebook?
So that was our deep dive into the present state of Chromebooks. We’ve tried to incorporate each and each aspect of Chromebooks so you’ll take an informed decision. As a user of both Windows and Chrome OS, I feel Chrome OS isn’t tightly put together which makes it an immature desktop-class OS. However, if you’re an off-the-cuff user, you’ll easily pick one among the cheap Chromebooks from the market. It’ll not disappoint you needless to say . In order that is all from us. If you found the article informative, do comment down below and allow us to know.