Would You Lease a Google Chromebook?

Google’s announcement of its Chromebook leasing plans has raised more than a few eyebrows in the tech industry. Leasing systems to educational and business institutions is nothing new, but at a price point of $20 per month for education and $28 for business for a system that offers possibly the most simple and easy to support interface designed yet, this may prove to be a difficult offer to resist. I mean, after all, would you lease a Google Chromebook?

Two versions of the Chromebook have been detailed by Google thus far. One, made by Samsung offers a 12.1″ (1280×800) 300 nit display and a mini-VGA port for an external monitor. The other, made by Acer carries an 11.6″ HD widescreen CineCrystal LED-backlit LCD and an integrated HDMI port for an external monitor. Each of these systems include pretty much the same hardware after that point. They each have dual-band wi-fi and optional 3G, 4-in-1 card readers, Intel Atom dual-core processors, full size keyboards and 2 USB 2.0 ports. The Samsung comes out ahead on promised battery life with 8.5 hours against the Acer’s 6.

Where the Chromebook has its own immediate appeal is data safety. Even if you lose the notebook entirely, your data is all stored in the cloud and you are able to reach it from any system with an internet connection and a browser. This is an eventuality that Google has been working towards for years as their list of services keeps growing in spaces previously dominated by stand-alone applications.

A close cousin to data safety is security, and the Chromebook has a few interesting solutions to possible issues of security. Each tab opened in the OS creates a virtual sandbox which keeps infected sites out of your other tabs. This is similar to the method the current Chrome and Chromium browsers use to keep program-wide crashes from occurring. Data encryption is also a factor since not all of your data (cookies, downloads, etc.) is in the cloud. Everything on the hard drive is encrypted. If all else fails, there is a hardware-backed recovery system in place that allows you to restore the machine to factory settings with the push of a button.

Updates are applied to the Chromebook as soon as it’s turned on, which may be a step in the right direction considering how quickly new threats to security and privacy hit the web. Since the OS is somewhat streamlined and lightweight, updates aren’t expected to create a significant hassle when compared to more full-featured platforms.

There are some pretty considerable downsides to the Chromebook as well. For example, stand-alone applications you may be used to on the PC or Mac will probably not work. Pretty much everything you do on the Chromebook is served up to and from the cloud, meaning that if you have any reservations about the security of the web apps you’re working with, this may not be a good choice for you. In addition, most of the features you may become accustomed to on the device will be unavailable should you be out of range of a Wi-Fi network or good 3G connectivity. Before deciding to switch to the Chromebook either on purchase or by lease, you should definitely give it a shot in a visualization environment on your current machine such as VirtualBox or Parallels first. Unless you’re willing to exist within the cloud almost entirely, then you are probably best sticking with a regular notebook or desktop with either the Chrome or Chromium browser installed.

Virtualization and remote access platforms such as Citrix can be installed and used to turn the Chromebook in to a thin client, according to Google. This means that even though you’re using the Chromebook, you may have access to non-web applications as well. Whether or not this works as effectively as it could in theory is anyone’s guess.

18 thoughts on “Would You Lease a Google Chromebook?”

  1. I’m not going to say I didn’t like Google Chrome CR-48, but I like running a full office program and a full IRC client. I’m not even sure if I would give one to my non-tech savvy mom because she doesn’t like change when it comes to tech.

  2. I am going to buy a samsung series 5 chromebook because all i use is the internet and i’m now stuck with a stupid desktop computer.

  3.  I am not going to get a Chromebook. I don’t like the fact that there is no local storage for files, which is needed should the internet connection go down. 

    In my opinion the Chromebook should not be used to replace your desktop/Laptop PC or Mac. The Chromebook should be used for quick researching and web browsing and social networking. 

    I agree the OS is lightweight and stable, but it’s not something I would personally use. The Chromebook is a better alternative to a netbook however since netbooks are very slow at performance (from my own experiences). 

    I am glad that you are not hyping up too much about the Chromebook, at least you have given reasons as to why it might not be good for someone. 

    Thanks for the post.
     

  4.  I am not going to get a Chromebook. I don’t like the fact that there is no local storage for files, which is needed should the internet connection go down. 

    In my opinion the Chromebook should not be used to replace your desktop/Laptop PC or Mac. The Chromebook should be used for quick researching and web browsing and social networking. 

    I agree the OS is lightweight and stable, but it’s not something I would personally use. The Chromebook is a better alternative to a netbook however since netbooks are very slow at performance (from my own experiences). 

    I am glad that you are not hyping up too much about the Chromebook, at least you have given reasons as to why it might not be good for someone. 

    Thanks for the post.
     

  5.  I just want to let you know that I agree with your perception on this one. I don’t agree with your choice of phone, but I guess geeks can disagree.. As a geek, 90 percent of my time is spent in chrome. My Inspiron mini- Ubuntu/Chrome. My G2x Android, My G-slate, My G2.. My “main” computer, really only stores my mp3 collection and video and serves as my carbonite backup server. I have one computer that boots windows 7 and everything else runs android or linux. The only thing that is keeping me in windows AT ALL is that fact that I love my IPod touch. (kinda need Itunes for that) The fact is, a chrome OS machine would fit in my life because honestly, for better or worse, Google has embedded them self into my life. Every digital photo I have is in Picasa, I use Gmail and Google Calendar almost every minute. My contacts are there, the first photo’s of my daughter. Hell, the first time she threw up in the middle of the night. Not only do I  think that Chrome OS would fit in my life, but my father, who is 60. He has a gmail address i have setup for him. He knows how to surf the web at work. Here dad, just go to this box and type in “fishing lures” or “classic cars”….. Keep up the good work sir gnome! them self into my life. Every digital photo I have is in Picasa, I use Gmail and Google Calendar almost every minute. My contacts are there, the first photo’s of my daughter. Hell, the first time she threw up in the middle of the night. Not only do I  think that Chrome OS would fit in my life, but my father, who is 60. He has a gmail address i have setup for him. He knows how to surf the web at work. Here dad, just go to this box and type in “fishing lures” or “classic cars”….. Keep up the good work sir gnome! 

  6.  “my father, who is 60, He has a gmail address i have setup for him…..”

    geezz, I am 65 and I have 10 E-mail addresses and a 4 computer wireless network in the home., and my son did not “set them up for me”

    How come people who are 25 or so, think that ones 60 or so have to have someone hold their dribble cup for them………??!

  7.  Never, its just Google Chrome guys…..they are marketing it by the punchline “Nothing but the web” but the fact is why would you want a chrome OS when you can get windows that runs Chrome as well…..are you in such a hurry that you care about boot speed so much……how many times do u boot your netbook in a day…..? Think about it.

  8.  unless internet charges go down drastically then yes i can enjoy  these web based gadgets!

  9.  They are currently working hard on making important apps work offline. Think of google docs, calendar etc.

  10. What kind of spy gear do you think will be on this?? I’ve heard horror stories of Rental Stores keeping tabs on their computers, even taking screen shots and webcam shots to “prove you are still using it?” I haven’t seen that proved, yet.

    Google already has a ton of info on me, since I have the toolbar signed in most of the time. I don’t use location, but I don’t like the web “taylored” for me. It’s like someone lying to me, and I can’t do anything about it. What if I want another point of view?

    How will we guard against something like that with a Chrome OS… without keylogger detector programs or the like. I know this sounds paranoid, but in the wrong hands it could be a powerful tool that we can’t turn off.

    I don’t have anything to hide. But I don’t like big brother looking over my shoulder.  

  11. Probably, Google is a bit too early with this one.

    Data-prices are going up, as phone / SMS rates go down. At least in my country, mobile data outages are pretty common. Sometimes because human errors, but also because there’s too much traffic compared to the infrastructure the telco’s are offering.

    Alcatel offered cheap ‘cubes’ (called the lightRadio) which could make 3G/4G cheaper. But it’s not there yet.

    Moreover, the web can’t fully replace any desktop ability just jet. Sure, JavaScript is probably up to the task. ARM is certainly up to the task; mobile hardware which is capable of video editing is very near.

    But it’s a work in progress, and most people don’t buy work in progress. They want something which works and is cheap.

    Chrome(Book) can’t do anything the desktop does nowadays, and it’s not cheap yet because data is expensive.

    Sure, I’ll remember the days we had to ‘log in’ to the internet, using a phone line with 3kb/s.  If we were lucky, because sometimes it dropped to 900B/s. So I know one day, all this will be different. But it’s a bit early.

  12.  It may not be that all everyone in the 40+ age group need things set up for them, but there is a difference between someone who is tech-savvy and someone who is not in any age group. My mother is 47 and I had to set up her email address and laptop because she couldn’t figure it out, and still writes down her passwords.

  13. I think that the Chromebooks will be a disadvantage for students and businessmen because “most of” the data will not be accessible in a NO WiFi or NO 3G area.

  14. I don’t think the Chromebook will either maim or kill the PC industry, its just yet another device amongst the plethora already available and there are major issues for me with cloud computing, I just do not trust someone else to have custody of data I would normally have stored on my desktop PC (and backed up separately, naturally), the only thing I use “the cloud” for is as an extra backup for MP3 downloads and a few other items that I am not that bothered about losing or anyone having acess to.  I also use a 3.1 GHz dual core PC and at times am using all the power I can get out of it so a crappy little netbook ain’t gonna cut it folks.  Desktop for me every time, power users will always want to go down this route as there is so much more scope for customisation (not to mention more processing power and RAM or two graphics cards if need be) and upgrading.  I don’t need a portable PC but if I did I would go for a standard laptop that ran on Windows 7 the same as my desktop ;o)

  15. $20 for a month for a cloud device that includes a 24/7 wireless service I am certain there are many that will take this step. Now if only the device included a cellular phone as part of the hardware, we would all be using this larger screen device, instead of carrying a phone, wifi android, and a laptop/notebook computer.  Give the user several rom software cartridges choices with two USB 3.0 port for external hard drives and, or keyboards and this unit would be a on the go star…

    JR

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