With the beginning of the new fiscal year, I decided to evaluate a couple of Chrome OS devices, a Samsung 5 550 Chromebook and a Chromebox. Part of my portfolio at UNCG are the IT Compliance Office and the IT Security Office, and devices like these may be a good alternative for us. Given that UNCG is a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school, tight integration to the “Googleverse” is a big plus.
I’m really quite favorably impressed with both the Chromebook and the Chromebox. If you think about our use cases, you’ll likely find that most of what you do is web-oriented, and that’s the niche for Chrome. Nearly instant boot and restart, tight OS security that’s very difficult to compromise, “desktop” browser experience rather than mobile. Synchronizes with the Chrome ecosystem. Lots of applets. Will is do everything a Windows, Linux or OSX computer will do? No. Will it do most of what I do? Actually, yes, and will do it well. It’s simple and inexpensive. $449 for the WiFi Chromebook, and $329 for the Chromebox.
What about a home device? Will it replace my iPhone? No, of course not. My iPad? No, the touch tablet is a great content consuming device (tho I’m doing this blog post on the iPad, so you can create). My iMac? Hmmm. Well, I can’t run full Turbotax on Chrome, I can’t run Xcode on Chrome, I can’t rip and reformat a DVD…but my set of use cases for the full desktop or laptop is small and getting smaller when I add a Chrome OS device to the mix.
Can it be used for most of what folks do at UNCG? Almost! There is a glitch with the way the 1.0 Citrix Receiver on Chrome interacts with UNCG’s Citrix infrastructure. I hope we can resolve it, because if we can, we’re very close to replacing the basic office machine. Again, the value proposition to UNCG is enhanced since we’re a Google school.
Take a look at Chrome OS; you’ll be pleasantly surprised.