Chromebook Versus Windows 8
There are signs in the market that Chromebooks are preferred as an alternative to laptops running Windows 8. If you’ve been looking for a new laptop, but don't want the learning curve of Windows 8, you may find a Chromebook is the right choice for you. Read on to learn more...
The Chromebook Ascendancy
It sounds like a spy novel, and I'll admit to coining the phrase, but it's actually a tech trend you should be aware of, if you're in the market for a laptop, netbook or tablet. Especially so, if you've taken a peek at Windows 8 and it looks daunting.
Many people want to avoid the radical learning curve of Windows 8. Chromebooks and laptops running Windows 7 fulfill this requirement. But because Microsoft wants to promote Windows 8, a computer with factory-installed Windows 7 is becoming harder to find; you may have to pay extra to get it installed on a new PC.
A Chromebook is a laptop that runs a Google variation of Linux, instead of the Windows operating system. It departs from the standard PC configuration in other ways. File storage is mainly in the cloud, rather than on a local hard drive. Cloud-based Google apps such as Gmail, Docs, etc., replace Windows apps such as Outlook and Office. A growing variety of third-party apps are becoming available, too. (See also my article on the $199 Acer Chromebook.)
Chromebooks start up super fast, consume less power, and cost less than Windows PCs of comparable capabilities. Increasingly, Chromebook apps are capable of operating without an Internet connection, unlike their predecessors that ran on netbooks.
Netbooks, by definition, were small and comfortable only for a limited percentage of users. Chromebooks come in a variety of sizes to suit most needs. Most Chromebooks sport 11 to 12 inch screens. The $329 HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook has a spacious 14-inch display. Chromebook keyboards are similarly ample for many users.
What's Happening in the Marketplace?
Chromebooks are proliferating and becoming cheaper. A slew of other PC makers including big brands such as Lenovo, Samsung, and Asus, are also selling Chromebooks. The result is that Chromebooks are gaining market share much faster than Windows 8 devices. Acer CEO Jim Wong says that Chromebooks accounted for 5 to 10 per cent of his PC shipments since November, 2012. Windows 8 achieved only 2.26 per cent of the desktop market in the same time period.
If you just need to get ordinary computing tasks done -- email, web surfing, and word processing -- a Chromebook should work fine for you. If you need specific Windows-only apps, then Windows 7 is your best alternative to Windows 8. Take stock of your critical applications and visit Google’s Chrome OS Help page to see if there are Chromebook alternatives.
Chromebooks could persuade Microsoft to do what many keyboard-and-mouse fans desperately want: keep the Windows 7 paradigm available. When netbooks challenged Vista, Microsoft resurrected Windows XP as Windows XP Home and XP Pro, and the world became happier overall. Chromebooks give Microsoft incentives to offer multiple operating systems tailored to different market segments.
Just remember that buying Windows 7 puts money in Microsoft’s pocket just as much as buying Windows 8 does. If you really want the company to feel your pain about Windows 8, give serious consideration to a Chromebook.
Would you consider a Chromebook for your everyday computing, or perhaps for business travel? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 Feb 2013
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Chromebook Versus Windows 8 (Posted: 11 Feb 2013)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved