My entry into the world of Chome OS started with the original HP Chromebook (shown above). It was a 14 inch, no frills, cheap laptop body that they put no extra effort behind. Essentially, they took an existing, low end pavilion laptop and put Chrome OS on it. When I ordered this device, I chose to do so because I didn’t want to spend a lot on a new laptop. I needed something to suffice until I saved enough for a higher end machine. Much to my surprise, the Chromebook far exceeded my expectations. The build of the laptop was about what I expected (cheap and made of plastic) but once I started using it I noticed that it didn’t perform like a low end computer. The performance on the internet was similar to a machine (in the windows world) that was double or triple the price.
The first Chromebook on the market was released in December 2010 and was called the CR 48. It was an ugly, boring, matte black laptop that was testing a concept of Google’s. They wanted to make a low powered simple machine that did everything on the web without downloading extra programs. This early Chromebook was essentially a stripped down version of the Linux operating system that ran one program, the Chrome web browser. Google and Tech enthusiast were the targeted market. According to reports, only about 60,000 were made but this started something much bigger.
While the total number of Chromebooks sold last year is still unknown, the first quarter of 2016 shows sales that outpaced mac laptops, shipping around 2 million machines. Today, Chromebooks are much more than just a web browser and with each release they inch toward Mac and Windows level ability and performance. More basic functionality is baked right in to the operating system including things like printing and being able to organize in folders. However, most programs (in the Chrome web store) are online only and do not work without an internet connection. This is about to change. In the fall of last year google released the beta version of the Android Play Store for Chrome OS.
Pictured above is the new Samsung Chromebook Pro/Plus (Click here for more infomation). It will be the first Chromebook to ship with the non-beta version of the Play Store for Chrome OS. Co-Developed by Samsung and Google, it is designed to take advantage of all the new features coming soon to Chrome OS. This new vision essentially combines an Android tablet and a Chrome OS Laptop into one powerful device. Adding this functionality will be a big step forward into allowing users to move their Chromebooks from an ancillary device to their main device.
The key to Chrome OS is to keep the operating system streamlined and fast but also to add features to make it more robust. I have put together a wish list for future Chrome OS machines.