It’s been just over a year since Google released the Chromebook, which they are marketing as a lightweight laptop that doesn’t run a traditional operating system, have a cd drive or any of the frills you’d expect from even the most modest of netbooks. Essentially, it’s a computer that has Google Chrome and some Office®-type software that allows you to work on documents, browse the net and well that’s about it. Then again, on a cheap laptop, what do you really need it to do anyway?
Regardless, Google is standing by this product and they have now opened the doors for businesses to begin renting the Chromebook for their users. How nice this must be for corporate decision makers…never buy computers again. Simply pay a monthly fee and swap out old computers for new ones whenever you see fit.
Google has teamed with a group called CIT to manage the program that offers no-commitment pricing. Here’s a quick outline of the benefits of renting:
That little asterisk next to the easy payment process simply means that it only applies to customers who pay by credit card.
As an IT admin, I both love this idea and hate it. On one hand, a bunch of users having Chromebooks would make things much easier as far as managing and configuring them since they all connect via the web-based interface, but on the other hand, ChromeOS isn’t Windows or OSX, so there doesn’t seem to be any way for a user to really screw things up. In other words, what would I really be administrating?? 🙂 On a serious note, I find that Google’s attempt of getting into the business side of things is a nice start considering they’re well on there way to cornering other areas as well.
If you’re like me and you’re kind of stuck between getting a netbook or a tablet and can’t figure out why you’d want either of those, consider the Chromebook. Aside from not having a touchscreen, the Chromebook seems to deliver the tablet feel with the real functionality of laptop. If you just want something light to carry around when you don’t feel like lugging a clunky laptop, the Chromebooks offer that. I’d say they’re a direct comparison to a MacBook Air, but without the hefty price.