Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 11.21.16 AMAnnals of IP: One of the most interesting and useful products available today is the Chromebook, a very streamlined type of laptop  that uses the CHROME operating system created by Google (when it was still Google…don’t which department it’s in now that ALPHABET is up and running). The idea behind the product is very, very simple: a very compact (about the size of the average magazine), thin, very light notebook computer (with good battery life) that pulls all of it’s programs down from the internet (cloud) and naturally, stores everything you produce in the cloud as well. The basic software you need to be productive: word processing, spreadsheet, mail program, (and a direct mail program from MailChimP) included in the price of the unit, which sells for around $200 give or take a few bucks (by comparison, a 160GB iPod went for over $250 when it was still in production).
The great thing about the Chromebook is what it doesn’t have: no bloatware, no programs you will never use, no overly complicated interface, no odd interfaces. On the Acer Chromebook for instance, the ports include one for power, an Ethernet port, 3 USB ports,a headphone port, and an external monitor port. Simple. Everything you really need( the 3 USB ports are great) and nothing you don’t.  If you’ve every used a cell phone or a laptop, you’ll be up and running in minutes. The battery life is very good (I get 3 hours plus on mine and it charges in a blink), it’s sturdy, has a good screen, and is very, very portable.
But..and this is must have internet access for it to work. I found out the hard way when I met a friend for lunch and wanted to show him a project I was working on and discovered–too late–that I I had picked a restaurant without wi-fi.  Acer, HP,  Samsung, ASUS,Toshiba, Dell  and a host of others all make very nice Chromebooks–they’re all basically “same spec” and so the only differences between manufacturers is the industrial design of the unit itself and RAM specs–and competition is improving the breed.  Some units (HP), now have SSD drives to supplement the Chomedrive. Otherwise, you store on Google Drive. It turns on and off in a flash. I’ve got one of the first ACER models (my son Philip worked on the Chromebook launch for Google and turned me on to the advantages of this very portable computer) but I also like the HP. A Chromebook is perfect for travel, writing dispatches on the road, and checking email. I also have one that I leave in the guest rooms of my lake house so that friends can check their email, surf the internet, and do a little writing if they wish. It’s perfect for that.
If you can be brutally honest with what your computing/IP/interconnect needs are…and don’t mind being a little bit of a trailblazer…you might find that the Chromebook is perfect for 80% of your computer needs. Or..look at it this could buy 9 Chromebooks for the cost of one Macbook. Click this link to get an update on the best Chromebooks of 2016. 
Sometimes the simple tool is the one to select.
Chromebook: a new way to connect and work. Check one out.
The Fine Print: Photo courtesy Google. All rights reserved.

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