You may be hearing a lot of buzz about Chromebooks these days, and for good reason. They offer a simple interface, long battery life, security and an affordable price. They boot up in seconds, feature built-in apps for storing documents online and sending emails and update automatically with the latest software. Because the Chromebook is a relative newcomer to the technology scene, we’ve compiled a FAQ about how these devices work and what they can do.
How do they work?
They run on Google’s new Chrome OS. Basically, the Google browser is the OS. This means there’s no software programs or security updates to worry about. Chromebooks have small hard drives that utilize “flash storage,” which allow them to wake from sleep quickly and have a battery life of six to nine hours, on average.
Who’s using Chromebooks?
These lightweight, low-cost laptops have been popular with education and business users for their security and easy-to-use interface. However, home users have been quick to see the benefits of having a low-cost laptop for web browsing and entertainment.
What tasks can you do on a Chromebook?
You can play games, listen to music, chat with friends and save documents. All your data is stored in the cloud, so the Chromebook doesn’t need a large hard drive. Each Chromebook comes with at least 100 GB of free Google Drive storage for two years.
What software can you use on a Chromebook?
The Chromebook doesn’t work with some types of software you may be used to, like Microsoft Office, but it comes with many free apps that can be used for the same types of tasks. For example, Google Drive is designed for users to collaborate in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Google Hangouts offers the ability to video chat with up to 10 people and Google Play Music has storage for up to 20,000 songs that can also play on your Android phone or tablet.
Why are Chromebooks less expensive than traditional PCs?
There are no hidden costs like anti-virus subscriptions or traditional software. The cloud-based storage system enables the Chromebook to run on a smaller hard drive, which makes them cost less to produce.
What makes Chromebooks so secure?
Chromebooks are locked down by default, only booting the Google OS. When it boots, it uses a process called verified boot to check that its firmware and Chrome OS haven’t been tampered with. When you sign in to a Chromebook, the device creates a private, encrypted area for you. This ensures that other users can’t read your local data, nor could anyone access your data by ripping out the Chromebook’s hard drive and accessing it. In addition, when a new security patch or major version of Chrome is released every six weeks, the Chromebook will automatically download and install it. Because they are running nothing but a browser, no executable files can be installed, neither anti-virus software, nor the malicious software it’s meant to protect against.
Do you have to be online to use a Chromebook?
No. There are many offline tasks you can do such as read and write emails with Offline Gmail, write a note or make a list with Google Keep, write and edit documents with Google Docs, create and edit presentations with Google Slides, create and edit spreadsheets with the new Google Sheets, view and RSVP to events with Google Calendar and more!
What about apps?
The Chrome Web Store offers a wide range of free and paid apps, extensions and themes designed for Chromebooks and the Google Chrome browser.
What kinds of accessories are compatible with a Chromebook?
Many accessories like Mac or Windows USB drives, computer mice, keyboards and external storage devices will work well with the Chromebook. You can even use your Chromebook to charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod (though you can’t use it to access music or data).
Want to know more about Chromebooks? Give your CTL® sales rep a call or contact us at 800-642-3087. We’re certified resellers for Acer and Toshiba and offer a variety of Chromebooks to suit your needs, including touch screen models.