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Chromebooks - A cheaper way to meet our TnT computing needs

Posted by on in Business & Entrepreneurship
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Most of us are moving away from desktop computers and satisfying our computing needs with laptops / notebooks. Primary reason is that we no longer want to be tethered to one spot, but possess the freedom to move to any location we desire.
This blog is not about mobility, it is about cost savings. Which leads to the question - do we really need to pay upwards of TT$2,500.00 for a laptop, when we really only use the device for checking Facebook, Twitter, our e-mails, and occasionally create content - i.e. create documents and spreadsheets? If the answer is no, then read on. 

Chromebooks (versions from Acer and Samsung) - laptops with small hard drives (16GB) and using a variant of the Google Chrome browser (yep - the software you use to browse the Internet) as its operating system, are fast gaining in popularity amongst users who spend an inordinate amount of time on the Internet consuming content; or for those who prefer a physical keyboard over the touchscreen interaction offered by tablet computing devices. 

There are two factors that will definitely sway me in the direction of using a Chromebook -

cost and application (software) availability that is suited to the task at hand. With prices

starting at US$235.00 / TT$1,516.00 (using a conversion rate of TT$6.45), I would

definitely determine if my computing needs can fit within this budget. Based on the

average price of a laptop, a user can save at least TT$984.00, and still be able to perform

most activities on the device. TT$984 is a lot.

 

To address the issue of application availability, let's use the needs of a student to

determine if the Chromebook is up to the task. Most students would need to perform

various activities - conduct research online, save references relating to the research,

prepare papers for submission, check e-mails, check FacebookInstagramTwitter 

(kidding - kinda), as part of their daily school routine. For research, we have Wikipedia

GoogleBing, etc.; for saving of references and creating notes, there are web-based

applications such as Evernote; for preparation of papers, you can use Microsoft's Office

Web ApplicationsGoogle DocsZoho Suite, just to name a few. Once there is a

connection to the Internet, all of the above tasks can be performed with ease. And if you

are concerned about the general availability of Internet access, our providers (Digicel

FlowGreen Dot,TSTT) are going above and beyond to ensure that they can get your

Internet dollars.

For a small business, the needs can be similar. 

As with all comparisons, there are benefits and there are drawbacks. Since this device

needs to be primarily used online, not all web applications will be able to function when

you do work offline (no Internet connection available). Also, while some files can be

saved to the hard drive, the philosophy behind the device's usage is that all files will be

saved online (cloud storage). A 16GB hard drive can fill up relatively quickly.

The decision to use the Chromebook will vary from person to person. My opinion is that

the device will satisfy home use quite satisfactorily, and even some work-related needs.

In particular, I would like to see it used in schools. Its usage can help alleviate the

headaches administrators have with respect to keeping computers up and functional -

there is no software to break, or viruses to infect the system. But that is a topic for another

day.

For small businesses who are not tied to productivity suites such as Microsoft Officetm,

they can also realize cost savings by moving to Google Docs or any cloud-based

productivity suite. In most cases, these cloud-based suites will read Microsoft Officetm 

documents.

 

To see the device in action, please click on the following link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Xa5li_Fp-kc

 

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