Should Your Business Choose Chromebooks Over Windows Laptops?
Chromebooks are very keenly priced and simple to manage so would seem an obvious choice for business laptops. But are Chromebooks really suitable for business or are the compromises too much to swallow?
The price point of Chromebooks are really very impressive with most machines retailing for around the Â£200 to Â£300 mark. Not only are they highly affordable but they are designed to be thin and lightweight and the battery life figures from the manufacturers will put most processor-hungry Windows laptops to shame.
What is Chrome OS?
Chrome OS is designed for the internet and cloud computing. It is really not much more than a lightweight program from which you can launch Google's awesome Chrome web browser. From there the cloud (on Google's servers) takes the strain of processing your data using Google Apps, Google Drive and Gmail to provide the typical business applications (document creation, spreadsheets, presentations and email).
Let's face it, if you are looking to save money on IT equipment then there will be some compromises to be made. This would be true if you were selecting new Windows laptops too. What you must be aware of is that you won't be able to load popular programs such as Photoshop on a Chromebook - although there may be alternative browser applications that can do a similar job.
The Plus Side
Aside from the price, the major plus side of Chromebooks is how easy they are to manage. Chrome OS is so simple that updates are delivered seamlessly in the background whilst online and no antivirus is required. When combined with Google Apps for Business - which itself is designed to be administrated by pretty much anyone - it can be a small business' dream in terms of closely controlling outlay on IT support.
Think About End Users
Where we can see Chromebooks being a really viable option is for new business start-ups or in new departments within a business. Here there are no legacy files or email to shift between services and servers and collaboration on documents can start with Google Apps and the minimum of fuss.
However, it is worth understanding that users may have certain expectations. It always amazes us how attached some users become to Outlook in particular and, even in a new business, they can often demand Microsoft Office as the tools they 'have to work with'. Buy-in from all users is essential when considering such a radical shift away from the norm so take the time to explain the benefits of choosing Chromebooks and demonstrate the features of Google Apps and Gmail.
If you are in charge of IT or purchasing for your company then we would recommend at least considering Chromebooks as an alternative to Windows laptops as your business computers. The obvious compromises may well be outweighed by the simplicity, ease-of-use and cost-saving benefits of these stylish machines.