Chrome OS is an open source operating system designed and developed by Google based on the Linux operating system. The Chrome web browser is the inspiration behind this OS. Chrome OS is essentially a web browser that serves as medium for facilitating the connection and interaction between users and apps and data stored in the cloud.
Google makes a strong argument for the Chrome OS. Majority of average computer users spend most of their time in front of their devices accessing the Internet and browsing the web. Advancements in Internet speed and technology have also popularised cloud computing and cloud storage. This means that individuals can easily access apps or data online or from the cloud—no need for installing and storing them in their devices.
Chromebooks or computers that are running Chrome OS simply serve as portals for accessing the Internet and running or opening cloud-stored apps and data. These facts make the Chrome OS a cloud facilitator and a Chromebook a thin client and web client.
Both the OS and the device are nonetheless innovative for introducing cloud computing to the general population. However, there are pros and cons to using Chrome OS and a Chromebook.
Advantages of Chrome OS: Why you should buy a Chromebook
1. Simple to use and easy to maintain: Chrome OS is simply a web browser running inside a Chromebook. It is a lightweight operating system that requires minimal hardware specifications. This means that the system boots fast and the overall computer runs smooth.
Setup requirement is very minimal. User only needs to flip open his or her Chromebook and log in with his or her Google account.
Maintenance is also hassle-free unlike in heavier operating systems such as Windows. Google also updates the OS regularly and automatically. Chrome OS also has a build-in anti-virus protection. There is also no need for regular updating of several apps unlike in OS X because Chrome OS apps are stored in a cloud.
2. Fast and smooth software and hardware: Another advantage of Chrome OS is that it is a light operating system that requires less hardware resources unlike OS X and Windows. It does not need high-powered processors and memory and large storage space.
The OS runs under minimal hardware specification because the Chromebook is a thin client that merely taps apps and data through the cloud. This means that most of the heavy lifting happens in powerful central computers.
Chromebooks also use solid-state drives for storing apps and data locally. This means that these computers also mirror the many advantages of SSD storage technology—from low power consumption to fast read and write.
3. Built and designed for daily productivity: Google bundles Chrome OS and Chromebook with different apps and services developed for productivity. Examples of these include office productivity apps such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides—the counterpart to Microsoft Office—and Google-branded communication apps such as Gmail and Hangouts.
Other productivity apps from Google include Calendar, Maps, Google Drive, and Forms. Owners of Chromebooks also get 100GB of Google Drive storage.
Take note that the there are also a variety of useful and interesting apps such as Adobe Photoshop and Evernote available via the Chrome Web Store and the Google Play Store. Accessing these apps or downloading them on the Chromebook boosts the productivity capability of Chrome OS.
4. Easy to carry around due to portability: Another advantage of Chromebooks is that they are ultra thin and lightweight because of their minimal hardware specifications. They are tantamount to bringing a netbook or an Android-power tablet. The only difference between Chromebook and other mobile devices is that it is geared for both content creation and consumption.
Chromebooks tend to have lengthier battery life—depending on the manufacturer or brand. This energy efficiency comes from the fact that Chrome OS consumes minimal hardware resources and running apps requires minimal computing power.
5. Suitable for budget-conscious consumers: Google developed Chrome OS for most average computer users. It is also worth emphasising that the minimal hardware requirements for running the OS further drive down the price of Chromebooks. This is why Chromebooks sell cheaper compared to other computers running Windows or OS X. Note that there are Chromebooks priced at $250.00.
Affordability is a notable advantage of Chrome OS and Chromebook. An average user would only spend buying apps from the Chrome Web Store and Google Play Store. Of course, apart from free Google apps, there also other useful apps available online.
6. Google and Android integration: Another advantage of Chrome OS is that it fully integrated with Google and Android. A Google Account provides a single sign-in to all the features and functionality of the OS and Chromebook.
It is also worth mentioning that Google has also made Android apps available for Chrome OS. This means that the app ecosystem of the OS has now expanded. Users can now download their favourite Android apps and games on their Chromebooks.
Disadvantages of Chrome OS: Why you should not buy a Chromebook
1. Not suitable for power users: Chrome OS and Chromebook are severely limited by the fact that they are not capable of running resource-intensive apps or software. This turns off creative professionals such as music producers and graphic artists.
Some gamers might consider a Chromebook unappealing. Of course, there are many titles available on the Chrome Web Store and Google Play Store but they do not cater to hardcore gamers. A Chromebook is simply not a gaming device.
2. Works best with fast Internet connection: Chrome OS and Chromebook are also designed to run offline. A lot of apps can work offline. But the main selling point of this OS is that it is a cloud facilitator. This means that an Internet connection is needed to use the full potential of the OS and Chromebook.
Note that the entertainment features of Chrome OS and Chromebook rely on online streaming. User can enjoy music using Spotify or Play Music and movies or TV series via Netflix or other similar streaming services.
3. Redundant if a user owns other devices: A notable disadvantage of Chrome OS is that it is not an exceptionally operating system as far as unique selling points are concerned. A Chromebook is also not an exceptionally and game-changing device.
A Chromebook is useless if a user already owns a Microsoft-based ultrabook or a MacBook Air or MacBook Retina. These devices offer the same advantages of Chrome OS and Chromebook with added functionalities.
Even Android tablets and Apple iPads are also considerable alternatives to Chromebook. Note that Both Android and iOS have large app ecosystems that would make owning a Chromebook redundant.