This year marks the 10th year of the life of Chromebooks, and what a journey it’s been. Although the Google CR-48 was released before 2011, it wasn’t until 2011 Acer and Samsung shipped the first models.
Most people were not sold on the idea of a laptop that only ran a browser. At the time, web applications were something you used when you had no other choice. Google Docs could not compare to Microsoft Word at the time. But, there were several advantages. The biggest was the speed of the Chromebooks when compared to the netbooks at the time. Most laptops used a spinning hard drive instead of an SSD, so they were slow to boot and didn’t have the battery life that was possible with Chromebooks.
Over ten years, Chromebooks have gained the ability to run Linux apps and Android apps. They now outsell Macintosh computers, and are biting into Windows’ market share. The ability to outfit students with a cheap, secure, easy to manage device has led to the success of the Chromebooks in schools.
The Chromebook is a perfect example of a successful product that is “just good enough”. Sure, it can’t do everything one might need with a computer, but it does enough to get by for daily use and it doesn’t stop you from using macOS or Windows on another machine. It’s like commuting in a Prius vs an F150. The Prius makes sense most of the time, but every once in awhile you need to move a couch. But, that’s what friends are for.
Here’s to the next ten years, it will be interesting to see what is in store for the Chromebooks. To see how far the Chromebooks have come, check out this first demonstration.