Chromebook Desktop – Are laptops dead? | Parallels Blog

Chromebook Desktop

Chromebook Desktop: As the product-oriented business approach turned more service-driven, IT experts envisaged a revolutionary change in the software segment. Interestingly, IT hardware is changing too. A notable example is the increasing popularity of cloud-based Chromebooks.

What is Chromebook?

chromebook desktopA Chromebook is an inexpensive laptop with a cloud-based Google Android operating system. Designed to serve users’ browsing needs, this Internet-independent laptop delivers easier and faster computing. The Android OS used in the Chromebook is simple to use, efficient and has low maintenance requirements.

All these factors, plus the inclusion of Android apps into its ecosystem, have made Chromebooks popular with teachers, students, and other users working within the confines of the Chrome browser. According to Statista, up to 20 million Chromebooks are likely to be shipped globally, representing an increase of 17% from the previous year.

The sharp increase can be attributed to the impacts that the coronavirus pandemic is having on workplace and education. In the case of education, more and more students are turning to Chromebooks as alternative hardware for e-learning as the pandemic continues to unravel.

As the popularity of Chromebooks continues to rise, so does the vendors that manufacture and ship them. Today’s Chromebook marketplace is littered with many vendors such as Google, Acer, HP, Samsung, Dell, ASUS, among others. In terms of specification, today’s Chromebooks are markedly different from the ones that first appeared in 2011 when it comes to design, CPU performance, RAM, storage, and price.

1. Design

Chromebooks are primarily manufactured as either laptops or two-in-ones. With a two-in-one (sometimes called convertible laptop) Chromebook, you can easily switch between the tablet mode— where you use the Chromebook as any Android mobile device—and laptop.

2. CPU performance

Since the Android OS used in Chrome is fast, a low-end atomic CPU such as 900MHz Pentium or Celeron works just fine for limited applications. However, for more multi-tasking applications, modern Chromebooks are incorporating Intel Core CPUs such as Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 with clock speeds as high as 2.8GHz.

3. RAM

Most Chromebooks are shipped with between 4GB to 8GB of RAM, which is sufficient for fewer tabs of Chrome browsing. However, if you want to increase the number of tabs, you can consider a 16GB, which is available on some Chromebooks such as ASUS Flip C436.

4. Storage

Storage isn’t much of an issue in Chromebooks—all apps and data are hosted in the Google Cloud. However, every Chromebook requires some onboard storage with modern ones providing between 32GB to 64GB of storage capacity.

5. Price

Users prefer Chromebooks over laptops because they are cheap. The price of most Chromebooks ranges anywhere between US$159 to US$599.

Pros and cons of the Chromebook

Firstly, the Chromebooks are extremely cheap. The starting price is only $159. Secondly, they deliver easier and lightning-fast computing. Within eight seconds of booting, you can start working on your apps.

Thirdly, Chromebooks keep your resources available anytime and from anywhere. As all data and apps reside in the cloud, you can access your data from any place. Even if the Chromebook crashes, your data is safe and secure in the cloud.

Fourthly, data backup, and security updates are automatically done in the cloud. Systems updates and security patches are done every time you boot your laptop. As multi-layered security is integrated into the browser, you don’t need an antivirus program. For end-users who use laptops mostly to browse the Internet, a Chromebook is a great buy.

On the downside, a Chromebook always needs an Internet connection. Apart from offline docs and mail, you can’t access any other apps. Another major disadvantage is the limited functionality.

You cannot work with MS Office software and other sophisticated graphics and video programs. Skype is not available, either. There are no optical drives. You can’t connect a local printer, but you can print it from the Google cloud. There is a gap for users that require Chromebook desktop-like features and applications.

Is the laptop dead for businesses?

The cloud revolution has made it inevitable for businesses to move everything to the cloud. With data and apps residing in the cloud, Chromebooks can be the right fit for businesses. With its quick and easy computing, lightweight and extremely cheap price tag, businesses with shrinking IT budgets can’t ask for more. Because of the tremendous opportunities provided by the Chromebook desktop, businesses have found a way to resolve its limitations.

Chromebook desktop Today, a seamless Internet connection is available in most parts of the world, which means Internet-dependency is not a concern. The only challenge is the limited functionality—Chromebook users cannot run MS Office and other native programs. With Microsoft still leading the software race, this is a huge limitation. However, desktop virtualization provides an easy solution to this problem. By using application delivery software such as Parallels Remote Application Server, VMware Horizon View, or Citrix Virtual Apps (formerly Citrix XenApp), you can transform a Chromebook into a powerful computing device, or Chromebook desktop. You can easily publish Windows desktops on Chromebook desktops and use any application including MS Office, Photoshop, or Skype. Desktop and application virtualization not only resolves the Chromebook limitations, but it also makes it a powerful and cost-effective thin client for businesses.

Chromebook desktop trends

Google has been a household name for over a decade, and every product from Google creates a buzz. Chromebooks are no exception. In 2019, 17 million Chromebooks were sold globally, with Statista forecasting an increase of 17% to peak at 20 million units in 2020. Growing demand for Chromebooks for both remote workers and students is behind the growth over the period.

Besides the growth, Chromebook features are increasing by the day. Here are a few trends shaping the Chromebook marketplace:

Rugged Chromebooks

Demand for durable Chromebooks that can be used in classrooms is increasing. For Chromebook to evolve and provide such functions, vendors have to consider manufacturing rugged Chromebooks that addresses the needs of such users.

Wireless charging

Wireless charging gained prominence with smartphones. However, in recent times, we are witnessing the same phenomenon in Chromebooks because of how they are used.

Fingerprint sensors

Biometric security is increasingly becoming the mainstay of any mobile technology. Chromebooks are increasingly catching up with these trends, as manifested by some brands such as Google Pixel Slate.

Mobile connectivity

For Chromebooks to offer the same use cases as their smartphone counterparts, mobile connectivity is necessary. On this basis, some manufacturers are integrating LTE connectivity in their Chromebooks.

Chromebook desktop: Thin clients sales hit a five-year low

The EMEA thin client market has hit a five-year low. According to IDC, the second quarter of 2015 showed a 17.7% decline in sales (385,000 units shipped) compared to the previous year. That was the lowest shipment number in the preceding five years. The fragile economic growth and low oil prices in the eurozone contributed to this change, and businesses were not able to add IT hardware incentives for purchases or upgrades. In such an environment of shrinking IT budgets, the inexpensive Chromebook can become a great asset for businesses. With a lower price of $199, businesses can easily set up hundreds of thin clients with desktop virtualization to optimize costs and achieve greater ROI. With a variety of tablets, phones, and now Chromebooks using virtual desktops and remote apps, the laptop’s days may be numbered.

Opportunities for resellers of Chromebook desktops

For resellers, Chromebook desktops, as thin clients, provide an exciting opportunity to offer cost-effective delivery of hosted workspace services. As a managed service provider, you can offer unique and cost-effective virtualization solutions to take your business to the next level.

By partnering with a reliable application delivery software vendor, you can distinguish your services to deliver a reliable and rich end-user experience across a range of devices such as PCs, laptops, mobiles, Chromebooks, Linux, and Mac devices. By providing world-class solutions at an unbeatable price, resellers can beat the competition.

With the Chromebook desktop booting within eight seconds and delivering high-speed connectivity, you can improve SLAs and build a long-lasting business relationship with your customers. Simplified IT management enables you to monitor and manage the entire infrastructure easily. Ignoring this hot market only leaves it to your competitors.

Opportunities with Parallels

For resellers and managed service providers(MSPs) who want to deliver unique cloud solutions to their customers, Parallels® has two viable solutions: Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise and Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS). Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise allows Chrome Enterprise devices to run Windows 10 as guest OS, including full-featured apps.

As such, you can now run Microsoft’s productivity software such as office suite and other legacy apps that you couldn’t achieve with Chrome OS. Parallels RAS, on the other hand, delivers the best cross-platform virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution in the world, with three major benefits for MSPs.

Firstly, Parallels RAS allows you to create a stable and reliable virtual infrastructure to deliver desktops and applications from a centralized location to any device and any operating platform. It supports a range of devices, including all types of Windows, Android, iOS, and Chromebook devices. In addition, the HTML5 client allows customers to work with HTML5-compatible browsers.

Secondly, Parallels RAS delivers a simplified IT management system. The tool is easy to deploy and manage. Unlike Citrix and VMware, you don’t need certified professionals to deploy and configure the infrastructure. All of the necessary features come auto-configured by default. You can spend less on technical aspects and concentrate more on growing your business.

Thirdly, Parallels RAS comes at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. When coupled with Chromebook thin clients, it is unbeatable. At the same time, you don’t have to compromise on performance or features. Parallels RAS is a comprehensive virtualization tool that offers a range of features in a standard edition.

Because it is easy to monitor and manage, deployment and maintenance can be done in-house, which cuts down on outsourcing and labor costs. With a stable virtualization infrastructure and Parallels RAS at the helm, you can deliver cost-effective application and desktop delivery services that are second to none.

With Parallels RAS and its Chromebook Remote Desktop Client, explore untapped markets and expand your service portfolio to reap the best ROI and stay ahead of the competition.

Download a 30-day Parallels RAS trial now and transform your Chromebook into any PC! 


References

What’s A Chromebook, Anyway?  

The Pros and Cons of Using a Chromebook as Your Primary Work Computer  

Buying Guide and Advice 

Pros and cons of Google’s low-price laptop  

EMEA thin client market hits five-year low  

2015 is the year of the Chromebook  

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