Chromebook vs Tablet, can they both exist in years to come?
A decade ago, people had pretty much two choices for computing hardware. You either went for a desktop for raw power from a series of internal hardware all kept cool with a roaring set of fans, a giant screen taking up half you desk, and the other half for the keyboard and mouse. Or you could opt for the more compact, portable, yet albeit less powerful Laptop, a name which always baffled me since if you tried it on your lap, your legs would burn up as would the computer since your knees would be blocking the fans. Two options for two distinct purposes, power vs portability.
Then laptops got more powerful, making desktops less and less necessary. People found they could have both power and portability, and it was mainly the extreme users who held on to the desktops. Then along came the iPads and netbooks, spawning a new generation of devices to hit the market. Suddenly there were two new options, a laptop for the power user, or a tablet, which ironically was much more suited for the lap, and was the ultimate in portability. This did however mean that netbooks no longer fit a niche. They didn’t satisfy the laptop users because they lacked power, they weren’t as portable as a tablet, and didn’t have any of the cool new apps that tablets came with. The initial concept was good but the ipad stole the show.
Now we have another breed of netbook, the Chromebook. A new OS by a big league brand, Google. Hardware made by the leaders of laptops, HP and Acer. These netbooks, pick up from were netbooks last left off. Providing people with the ultimate access to the cloud via a cheap and easy to use laptop form. Google are working hard at developing Chrome OS and drive the dream for total cloud computing, which may be the future of ALL computing in the near future.
Yet there is still one nagging question that cant be ignored at this present date when looking at the devices. Why invest in a Chromebook which is essentially a Chrome browser, in a cheap laptop, when you could get an iPad, Android or Surface tablet and install Chrome as an app. You then get the benefits of Chrome, with all the added apps, lighter body, better processor and GPU, and a touch screen. All for roughly the same price, depending on which model you get.
There are only a couple of reasons which may sway your vote in favour of a Chromebook, as of writing this article, but may change in the future.
- You get a physical keyboard and cursor with a Chromebook. This is not likely to change, and does mean that anyone who wants a more traditional and familiar way of computing, with a mouse rather than jabbing the screen all the time, will feel happier with Chrome OS. However there are apps to allow you to activate a cursor and use a Bluetooth mouse, plus you can buy a Bluetooth keyboard for as little as £6 on the high street. Surface tablets have a keyboard built into their smart covers too.
- The screen is bigger. The largest size common in tablets is still around ten inches, where as Chromebooks are popular in eleven to thirteen inch sizes. This can make quite a difference when working on a presentation say. However, if the rumour mill is to be believed, then twelve inch tablets and larger are just around the corner.
So it’s difficult to place the Chromebook into an area of the market that tablets don’t already fit, or at least can fit with some modification. Only time will tell where Google takes the Chromebook, all we can say is we can’t wait to find out. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below