We will explain what exactly a Chromebook is, the features and evolution of these devices. This is a family of laptops that reside on the Google operating system.
The article is going to start by explaining what Chrome OS is, to understand Chromebooks you have to know what their operating system is. Then, we can continue talking about what Chromebooks are by explaining how they have evolved with their operating system.
What is Chrome OS?
Chrome OS is an operating system created by Google, it’s different from Android. It is based on the Linux kernel and uses Chrome as its main user interface. This means that its appearance is practically identical to that of Chrome, but with some additions such as a taskbar, a file browser and other elements present in any operating system.
It was announced in mid-2009 as an attempt to create a system based on the cloud and web applications. This made it worth it, when you are connected to the Internet you could do many things thanks to tools such as Google Drive or the Chrome Web Store applications, but when there is poor internet connection or there is no network connection your functions are limited.
Despite how limited it was in its early years, Google has gradually evolved. First, they began adding options to Google applications to use offline, something that also benefited users who used Chrome on other operating systems.
But the biggest evolution came later. The first big step was the announcement of the compatibility to run Android applications and the Android Google Play application store was directly implemented to make the experience of installing them as native as in Android. With that, it must be said that the arrival of Android to Chrome OS has been slow, and it has taken some years to make everything work as it should.
In mid-2018, it was announced that Google Chrome can also use applications created for GNU / Linux systems. With this, the list of applications designed to work without connection has multiplied since they embrace the community of free developers. Although, it is expected that it will take a few years before it is perfectly integrated because updates are still being launched little by little.
Chrome OS is now a complete operating system. It has the basics, native applications, and Android compatibility, which follows media player, file manager, printer configuration, and so on. Also, like the browser, Chrome OS has a free version called Chromium OS, despite not having Google’s native technology, it allows the community of independent developers to improve it.
What is a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are laptops that use Google’s Chrome OS operating system. The first official prototype was announced at the end of 2010, by 2011 the first commercial devices started arriving, Google also launched its first device called Chromebook Pixel in February 2013.
Just like manufacturers such as Apple maintain and control their hardware and software. Macs are the only computers to officially carry pre-installed macOS, the difference is that Google allows other manufacturers to also launch their Chromebooks, creating a broader ecosystem.
Since then, manufacturers like HP, Samsung, Acer, Asus, Sony, Dell, Lenovo or Toshiba has been launching new Chromebook models over time. They have also launched other devices called Chromebox, which are computers in mini PC format. Chromebox is called micro PC, while laptops are called Chromebook.
Google’s approach to Chrome OS has been very similar to what it has with Android. Let the manufacturers launch their flagship. This is usually much more expensive than most Chromebooks, but like the Nexus and Pixel in the mobile field, it serves as a showcase to everything they are capable of doing.
Along with the evolution of Chrome OS, Chromebooks have also grown older and changed their approach. What started as simple netbooks are now much more robust computers. Even high-end laptops have been launched at the height of Macbook and Windows laptops.
One of the latest model to storm this high-end was the 2017 Google Pixelbook, which came equipped with an Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processor, up to 16 GB of RAM and 128, 256 and 512 GB SSDs. Another model arrived in mid-2018 in the same level as Microsoft’s Surface with a convertible called Pixel Slate.
Despite these efforts, Chromebooks are not an established competition, and in recent years we have seen a slight decline in interest. It seems that the latest Google moves point to a loss of interest in creating another Chromebooks since the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate didn’t sell as much as they intended.
Despite that, you can still find some interesting Chromebooks, although they’re focused on lower ranges. Some examples are the Acer Chromebook 15, Acer Chromebook r13 or Lenovo Chromebook N23 that you can find on Amazon. Lenovo developed a website to sell its Chromebooks, and same with Acer and perhaps HP is one of the brands that continue to release new models.