TechSpot: Price is the only weapon Chromebooks have against Windows

On an absolute basis, one device is clearly better than the other; but the expectations for what a Chromebook is supposed to do is so much lower that, relatively, Acer's C720 Chromebook feels like a better device than it really is. Asus' popular T100 budget hybrid, on the other hand, gets compared to other Windows laptops (or the iPad Air) and doesn't look as good in the comparison.

Yet, there exists a popular narrative that Chromebooks are disrupting Windows PCs -- I disagree.

People with low computing needs don’t buy Chromebooks because they offer a better experience; they buy them because of price.

Read: Price is the only weapon Chromebooks have against Windows
This article is brought to you in partnership with TechSpot

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Simple background trick allows you to dramatically change your Windows Phone start screen

Next Story

Microsoft has a Chromecast like dongle in the works and it has passed through the FCC

104 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The one thing that Chromebooks have over Windows laptops is manageability for normal human beings - Chromebooks just work, and that's what people want out of their machines.

What Microsoft did with Metro and RT Apps, is a great start but they have a long way to go before these run in a traditional 'windowed' environment (not mashed into the legacy windowed environment) and the whole desktop gets the benefits of the RT runtime.

Chromebooks are a joke. When your 'desktop' 'OS' is nothing more than a web browser (ChromeOS is literally Webkit loading a bunch of url's) then its a joke.

The fact that newer Chromebooks have touchscreens, when nothing in the OS or its 'apps' (I use the term loosely) is built or optimized for touch, is a joke. Imagine using your OSX/Windows desktop as touch only, and you'll see what I mean.

Chromebooks are winning because of marketing and huge negative hype bloggers and media created about Windows 8. ChromeOS doesn't even run Android apps, which is pathetic. For your $150-200, you get a paltry 1366/768 crappy screen, no local storage, no local apps.

If anyone can give me a single reason why WinRT is not better than ChromeOS, other than the usual nonsense 'Metro sucks', I'm all ears.

There's a ton of really great web development tools in the Chrome Web Store that also benefit hugely from running in the very platform you're developing for. If I was restricted (however unlikely) to a Chromebook or SurfaceRT for that job, I'd pick a Chromebook.

minster11 said,
Chrome book and RT are 2 different things.

Of course they are. But they both target the same segment and should be compared.

Defcon said,
Chromebooks are a joke. When your 'desktop' 'OS' is nothing more than a web browser (ChromeOS is literally Webkit loading a bunch of url's) then its a joke.

The fact that newer Chromebooks have touchscreens, when nothing in the OS or its 'apps' (I use the term loosely) is built or optimized for touch, is a joke. Imagine using your OSX/Windows desktop as touch only, and you'll see what I mean.

Chromebooks are winning because of marketing and huge negative hype bloggers and media created about Windows 8. ChromeOS doesn't even run Android apps, which is pathetic. For your $150-200, you get a paltry 1366/768 crappy screen, no local storage, no local apps.

If anyone can give me a single reason why WinRT is not better than ChromeOS, other than the usual nonsense 'Metro sucks', I'm all ears.

Yes, the OS is based entirely around Chrome but this is not the same thing as being based around the Chrome browser - Chrome is much more than a browser these days. If you think you need to live in the browser, then frankly you need to stop believing everything you read (in my opinion, this makes you no better than those who believe that WIndows 8 sucks because they have read so).

1) There are apps that are 'local'/offline on Chrome OS - they look nothing like a browser window (see https://developer.chrome.com/apps/about_apps)
2) These apps don't just have to be written in HTML and Javascript, but can also be written in C++ (see https://developer.chrome.com/native-client/nacl-and-pnacl)
3) A Chromebook with 32GB of storage actually has more usable storage than the 64GB Surface.

It disturbs me when the 'technically literate' spout some complete nonsense, whilst pointing at someone else who is spouting complete nonsense. Maybe you need to spend some time getting your facts straight.

You probably won't be too surprised to read that I am writing this on a Chromebook. It's a great little machine, and £ for £, the best laptop I have owned. I have to work hard to stop my wife from stealing it (who incidently has a Windows 8 ultrabook, which smashes my machine out of the park spec for spec).

One thing to clarify is that I am not saying that Chrome OS and Chromebooks are better than WIndows 8 tablets/notebooks. I am just saying they are different and that neither is bad.

Android apps on a keyboard and mouse driven device are often tricky as many apps were never designed for them, much like desktop apps weren't designed for touch. And there's not really a lot of productive capability in most tablet apps when looking at desktop productivity. And Windows 8 already has its own app ecosystem, not nearly as big as Android's, but it's getting fairly decent now. Combine that with the millions and millions of Windows apps, it's hard to see how Android apps on a Chromebook compete on a laptop.

Just ask the question, which OS is dominating the mobile space and you have your answer. Surface RT with built-in MS office? No. Surface Pro with desktop Windows apps and Metro? No. Android with it's one million and growing apps that include all the popular games & apps that everyone's already using on their mobile devices? Yes. There's your answer. No one cares about Windows or its legacy desktop apps. Nor do they care about Metro and its ghost town of an app store.

simplezz said,
Just ask the question, which OS is dominating the mobile space and you have your answer.

Yea except this is clearly a laptop.. mobile space doesn't quite enter into it now does it? And who's reigning supreme in that particular arena? The billions of people using millions of "legacy" apps.

Max Norris said,

Yea except this is clearly a laptop.. mobile space doesn't quite enter into it now does it?

We're talking about when Android apps arrive in the Chrome store (hurry up Google :D). At that point, every Chromebook will have access to all Android apps seamlessly.

Max Norris said,

And who's reigning supreme in that particular arena? The billions of people using millions of "legacy" apps.

But Windows doesn't get all the popular mobile apps & games does it? With access to the Android ecosystem, Chromebooks will have the advantage then.

simplezz said,
But Windows doesn't get all the popular mobile apps & games does it? With access to the Android ecosystem, Chromebooks will have the advantage then.

As I pointed out above in the other comments, you currently have three apps, not the ecosystem. Windows on the other hand has all of it and doesn't require waiting for Google's blessing or conversion, can get everything straight from the Play Store now.


People with low computing needs don't buy Chromebooks because they offer a better experience; they buy them because of price.

And peace of mind. Who wants to take the risk of doing their personal banking or shopping on a Windows machine infested with malware and viruses? I know I don't.

For many people, that alone is reason enough to eschew the Windows world. Add to that cheaper prices, the Chrome store, built-in seamless Android apps (coming soon), automatic full system updates, cloud synced data, and you have a great product.

Two words - Android Apps. As soon as that happens, it's game over for Windows on the laptop form factor. The Surface pro can't compete against the Android ecosystem, and nor can ordinary Windows laptops against seamless built-in Android applications on Chromebooks.

Apps might be great on a Phone... but Windows succeeds in business and education because of networking capabilities and IT staff being able to manage them (not because of Games and Apps)... therefore people have to use them to get work done, and consequently many people like something they are familiar with at home.

Just one instance that I'm aware of: a couple of years ago a friend of mine got a job that required he used a Windows machine at work as the software wasn't available on other platforms... he has since replaced his home PC for Windows and even admittedly says there is little for/against either but had been buying everything Apple since he last used Windows more than a decade ago. Likewise I know people who have switched to OSX. But I don't hear anyone talking about chromebooks.

Edited by lt8480, Aug 21 2014, 10:59pm :

Max Norris said,
But my Windows devices are running Android apps now, complete with the Play Store. ;)

Really, your Windows devices came with built-in seamless Android app support? Impressive.

Of course it wasn't built in, but it takes all of a few seconds to install, free of course. So basically this unit runs everything the Chromebook does, plus millions of Windows programs, plus everything in the Android ecosystem too, and it's all launched from the same menu. Yes, I think it's pretty impressive too, and is kind of a no brainer.. Unless you like getting less functionality of course.

Max Norris said,
Of course it wasn't built in, but it takes all of a few seconds to install, free of course.

Let's be honest here. You have to download bluestacks, install it, find the playstore APK, install that, then you have to run bluestacks and the apps inside the VM environment. You may as well tell them to install Virtualbox or VMware while you're at it. We're talking about ordinary users. not techies like us. They want a built-in seamless experience, and you don't get that with Windows.

Max Norris said,

So basically this unit runs everything the Chromebook does, plus millions of Windows programs, plus everything in the Android ecosystem too, and it's all launched from the same menu. Yes, I think it's pretty impressive too, and is kind of a no brainer.. Unless you like getting less functionality of course.

I've never used Bluestacks myself so I can't say for certain, but I find it hard to believe it's running the full GMS stack without a licence from Google. And GMS is required for a lot of Playstore apps.

Regardless, the performance will never be the same as the real thing because it's emulating the chipset just like Virtualbox. I can run Android inside a VM on my Linuxbox as well. It's nowhere near as seamless as the real thing however. And it's quite slow too.

simplezz said,
Let's be honest here. You have to download bluestacks, install it, find the playstore APK, install that, then you have to run bluestacks and the apps inside the VM environment. You may as well tell them to install Virtualbox or VMware while you're at it. We're talking about ordinary users. not techies like us. They want a built-in seamless experience, and you don't get that with Windows.

Well you obviously haven't tried it because it's literally click click done. No manually installing any VM programs, no APK's, none of that. Install the player, enable the Play Store, and away you go. And yes, it's seamless. Installed apps show up on your start menu and in your libraries.

simplezz said,
I've never used Bluestacks myself so I can't say for certain, but I find it hard to believe it's running the full GMS stack without a licence from Google. And GMS is required for a lot of Playstore apps.

It comes with it, so I'd assume it's legal. You may want to forward your question to the developers, I don't work for either so *shrug* All I know is it's there and everything myself and my daughter (who uses it more than I) has thrown at it has run flawlessly. And she's 8, so I don't think there's a complexity issue. At all.

simplezz said,
Regardless, the performance will never be the same as the real thing because it's emulating the chipset just like Virtualbox. I can run Android inside a VM on my Linuxbox as well. It's nowhere near as seamless as the real thing however. And it's quite slow too.

Again, as you said you've never tried it. It's quite fast ;) Does gaming rather well too. Plus I'm not limited to "approved apps." So lose out on a majority of the ecosystem and millions of Windows programs too. As of June anyway it was three whole apps that was approved.. odd that never gets mentioned. Not a plus in my book, sorry.

Max Norris said,

Well you obviously haven't tried it because it's literally click click done. No manually installing any VM programs, no APK's, none of that. Install the player, enable the Play Store, and away you go. And yes, it's seamless. Installed apps show up on your start menu and in your libraries.

I wonder why it's not enabled by default. Perhaps that's how they get around the licensing issue. The user has to install the APK (that's what enabling it does from what I can tell). It's not bad, but I'd prefer the built-in seamless experience. Having to run a player window and the apps inside it isn't seamless in my book.

simplezz said,
I wonder why it's not enabled by default. Perhaps that's how they get around the licensing issue. The user has to install the APK (that's what enabling it does from what I can tell). It's not bad, but I'd prefer the built-in seamless experience. Having to run a player window and the apps inside it isn't seamless in my book.

No, again you don't have to install an APK, it's already installed. All you do is open up the stock Android browser, tell it to go to the Play store, and it asks you if you want to open the Play Store app. Zero install, it's already there. The only thing missing out of the box is an icon. (Which is present if you install a "vanilla" android shell.)

And ummm read up on the version for the Chromebook.. they also appear in a window.. hardly seamless. ;) So... both look the same. Both are free. Both integrate into whatever launcher. But one runs three apps. One runs all apps. (Plus the Chrome apps. Plus a gazillion Windows apps.) Hrmmmmm decisions decisions.

simplezz said,
The experience is so much nicer. They run like real applications, not inside a VM player window like in Bluestacks.

A window is a window regardless of what's doing the work under the hood... no difference. Or full screen if that's what floats your boat, dunno if the Chromebook version will allow that.

simplezz said,
Two words - Android Apps. As soon as that happens, it's game over for Windows on the laptop form factor. The Surface pro can't compete against the Android ecosystem, and nor can ordinary Windows laptops against seamless built-in Android applications on Chromebooks.

Maybe for casual user like student, teacher or toddles, Chromebook will be used for games casual apps and such. For people like me who rely on windows platform to work on PLC's, SCADA system, or configuring devices such as VFD, Power Monitor, wireless Radio system, and level controller have to use their software which runs in...... you guess it, WINDOWS.

I think chromebooks do have their place, but saying that one is better than a windows device at about the same price is bonkers.

I don't get the hatred. People expect so much more out of these things and end up deceived. It's like buying a Hyundai Accent and returning it because it doesn't haul a fifth wheel.

Doesn't have lights, seatbelts, passenger seats, stereo, air conditioning, cupholders, etc. - yes it's still a motor vehicle but don't use it on the road.

According to 3 different IT administrators for School systems I have talked to in the last year. They are rolling out Chromebooks specifically because they can't do as much as windows and thusly they get less IT calls from users. Rolling out Chromebooks allows them to hire less staff, and more time goofing off.

You should inform them that a near-fully featured OS called windows RT exists; has the office suite, supports external NTFS drives, supports printers (most of them at least), etc. and doesn't require as much maintenance as x86 windows.

eddman said,
You should inform them that a near-fully featured OS called windows RT exists; has the office suite, supports external NTFS drives, supports printers (most of them at least), etc. and doesn't require as much maintenance as x86 windows.

I did. I told them they were criminally crippling the learning of their students. Not know Microsoft environments once you go into the business world only puts you in the local unemployment center.

Right, because system administrators decide to roll out products that allow them to screw off more. The reality for school district IT departments is that they are dramatically underfunded and have to deal with a poor personnel-to-staff/student ratio.

It has nothing to do with getting time to screw off and everything to do with maximizing meager dollars appropriated to their departments to get the best experience to students while minimizing the staff needs to help keep necessary staff at a minimum.

WIndows RT is certainly a valid option but given that you have 2 options in the hardware world (I'm not counting the Nokia tablet since the odds of it sticking around long are slim) and no one but Microsoft is producing those tablets and they are still a premium price vs. Chromebooks with the RT starting at $299 and the RT 2 starting at $449. Then there is the question of whether or not RT is even going to be around in another year or two as Microsoft continues to signal that RT will merge with Windows Phone and won't exist.

Not knowing Microsoft products isn't the end of the world either as more businesses move to the cloud and they begin to access cloud based platforms that have as much muscle as their desktop counterparts. You could argue that students using a Chromebook and leveraging cloud services could be more prepared for the business environment that they will be entering by the time they leave school.

I work in a Microsoft shop and I know Microsoft's platforms well but some of the statements in this thread and the responses in general are just plain ignorant of the reality that current exists with cloud platforms. Above and beyond that Microsoft isn't the end-all-be-all of server and client technology. Many of the dev shops I work with use nothing but Apple products and Google Services (with onsite or hosted Linux based servers). Many small businesses I work with have gone to Google Services for most their needs.

If I really wanted to I could probably do everything I do out of a Chromebook. It might be in convenient and would probably require a virtual desktop/machine hosted in the cloud via Amazon EC2 or Microsoft Azure but I could virtualize and remotely connect to a Windows 7 or Windows 8 desktop in the cloud and still get full screen access to it on a Chromebook all I need is a good broadband connection. As it is I run Ubuntu with KVM to virtualize a couple Windows desktops for specific tools I need access to. I could connect to the Ubuntu desktop via the Chrome Remote Desktop app.

If anything students should understand an experience these things because they are already become day-to-day reality for many businesses and people.

Ryan Lounsbury said,
...

You've got good points about the cloud and other things, but the point was that if schools' reason was to "get less IT calls from users", then RT is a good option too, and more powerful.

Also, they could get surface RT/2 from MS at MUCH lower prices compared to retail. There usually are special discounts for schools and education centers in general.

As for support, surface RT is supported until 4/11/2017, and surface 2 is until 4/10/2018.

If they state they only need a barebone OS to use cloud services, then yes, chrome OS would be it, for now.

eddman said,

You've got good points about the cloud and other things, but the point was that if schools' reason was "to get less IT calls from users", then RT is a good option too, and more powerful.

Also, they could get surface RT/2 from MS at MUCH lower prices compared to retail. There usually are special discounts for schools and education centers in general.

As for support, surface RT is supported until 4/11/2017, and surface 2 is until 4/10/2018.

If they state they only need a barebone cloud OS, then yes, chrome OS would be it, for now.

I won't disagree on the education discounts that can be had for RT device. The fact that you need to also purchase a type or touch cover to make the RT like a laptop mitigates some/much of those savings. I understand the argument for RT in education and despite the ongoing support for the platform until the date stated but the reality is RT is going the way of the dodo bird so I'm still not convinced that it is an option for educational IT.

There is something to be said for a laptop with an integrated keyboard & track pad vs. the click on type covers (which as noted before add to the price). Those covers aren't nearly as durable as a clam shell laptop even one made out of plastic.

If there was an RT laptop (not Surface or Nokia Tablet) then I'd give more credit to RT as a platform for education. Unfortunately, it does not and probably will never exist. Performance on the original RT isn't all that great either (I've not used an RT 2 and can't speak to that experience).

Microsoft could certainly mitigate the surge of Chromebooks by producing a well performing Windows 8.1 laptop in the Chromebook price range. We've been here before and the results weren't good enough in the netbook era. Perhaps with the new more powerful mobile processors they can make it happen this time around. Windows 8.1 was designed with more elasticity on performance metrics since it runs on tablets to full desktops unlike Win 7/Vista/XP which didn't scale down so well.

I do want to play with one of the new cheapo Win 8.1 devices. But, I still think (especially thanks to Microsoft's own cloud services that a Chromebook is perfectly viable education tool.

Ryan Lounsbury said,

I won't disagree on the education discounts that can be had for RT device. The fact that you need to also purchase a type or touch cover to make the RT like a laptop mitigates some/much of those savings. I understand the argument for RT in education and despite the ongoing support for the platform until the date stated but the reality is RT is going the way of the dodo bird so I'm still not convinced that it is an option for educational IT.

Surely there must be options to get those covers at a discount too. I'd be surprised if otherwise.
Last time we heard, windows RT and phone are going to be combined, and windows on ARM in general apparently isn't going anywhere.

Ryan Lounsbury said,
There is something to be said for a laptop with an integrated keyboard & track pad vs. the click on type covers (which as noted before add to the price). Those covers aren't nearly as durable as a clam shell laptop even one made out of plastic.

That's true. One big disadvantage for surface, unless MS comes up with a hardware keyboard shell.

Ryan Lounsbury said,
If there was an RT laptop (not Surface or Nokia Tablet) then I'd give more credit to RT as a platform for education. Unfortunately, it does not and probably will never exist. Performance on the original RT isn't all that great either (I've not used an RT 2 and can't speak to that experience).

Depends on how windows 9 on ARM turns out to be, I suppose. We might still see laptop or hybrid win-ARM devices.

Ryan Lounsbury said,
Microsoft could certainly mitigate the surge of Chromebooks by producing a well performing Windows 8.1 laptop in the Chromebook price range. We've been here before and the results weren't good enough in the netbook era. Perhaps with the new more powerful mobile processors they can make it happen this time around. Windows 8.1 was designed with more elasticity on performance metrics since it runs on tablets to full desktops unlike Win 7/Vista/XP which didn't scale down so well.

Yes, netbooks' problem was their horribly low specs and, as a result, generally bad performance, but just as you mentioned, hardware has become more powerful in the last few years and windows' requirements haven't increased. It has already happened though. Just pick up a quad-core atom laptop or tablet.

Saying that, wasn't schools' goal to have less IT calls? So x86 windows might still not be an option for them.

Windows 9 on ARM should do the trick if MS manages to get it right. Adding the option to run store apps in windowed mode will also help a lot.

Windows RT is such a misunderstood OS.

eddman said,
You should inform them that a near-fully featured OS called windows RT exists; has the office suite, supports external NTFS drives, supports printers (most of them at least), etc. and doesn't require as much maintenance as x86 windows.

How do you manage an RT device on a large scale versus how you manage a Chromebook? You might do a little more research before you jump to conclusions.

There are also several ways to print for Chromebooks and they have Terminal Services clients if you really HAVE to have Windows. Surfaces might get about the same battery life, but you want find a budget laptop that does, and a decent Windows tablet will cost you 2-3 times as much.

farmeunit said,

How do you manage an RT device on a large scale versus how you manage a Chromebook? You might do a little more research before you jump to conclusions.

There are also several ways to print for Chromebooks and they have Terminal Services clients if you really HAVE to have Windows. Surfaces might get about the same battery life, but you want find a budget laptop that does, and a decent Windows tablet will cost you 2-3 times as much.

What do you mean exactly? Can't RT devices be managed through MDM solutions?

By printer support, I meant scenarios when one needs to connect a printer to the device and since RT supports a lot of models, it's an advantage in some cases.
I never said anything about implementing a wide-scale printing platform.

What do you mean by windows laptops? Windows x86 laptops? We are talking about RT here.

It's ok though. With windows with bing, we'll soon see x86 devices at 250$ and below too.

Yup. I saw a customer in Walmart returning her Chrombook - because she thought she was buying a "regular" notebook that can install MS Office and other programs. She was actually upset and saying, "who buys this stuff???"

I also know a teacher who uses his Chrombook exclusively for School District emails because School District uses Google programs. BUT he would never use it for his work.

We have some Chromebooks at work for testing purposes. One day we had some people come in and they needed laptops. I offered them the Chromebooks. They didn't know what they were so they took them.

About 10 minutes later they came back and said "Can we get some real laptops, like with Windows?"

The Chromebooks basically sit around collecting dust most of the time. They look good, but not much else positive to say about them.

Aletheia said,
Yup. I saw a customer in Walmart returning her Chrombook - because she thought she was buying a "regular" notebook that can install MS Office and other programs. She was actually upset and saying, "who buys this stuff???"

And she was obviously clueless to the fact that an Office suite is built-in. It's called Google Docs, which are available as apps from the Chrome store. Or even MS Office online. You can't fix stupid.

Aletheia said,

I also know a teacher who uses his Chrombook exclusively for School District emails because School District uses Google programs. BUT he would never use it for his work.

Sure sure. The truth is Windows and MS Office used to be essential software, now they're not. Chromebooks cover what the majority use their laptops for. Outside of that, we're talking about niche use cases. And that's where GNU/Linux comes in.

simplezz said,

And she was obviously clueless to the fact that an Office suite is built-in. It's called Google Docs, which are available as apps from the Chrome store. Or even MS Office online. You can't fix stupid.

Microsoft came out with something about 10 years ago or more just like Google Docs, but without the online collaboration. Its called WordPad ;-)...

Sheets is powerful though =).

But, collectively, I think Office Online is better =).

You are correct about being able to do Office tyep stuff in Google/Chromebooks but if people are used to Office it will be a learning curve as things aren't exactly the same. Heck people have a hard enough time moving to a new version of Office sometimes. Yes you can use MS Office Online, but the average person isn't aware of that product.

I think it's funny how all the Linux Office substitutes attempt to be direct clones of Microsoft Office. Just blatant and substandard clones of the original. Why not just get the real deal? It's not even expensive.

Enron said,
I think it's funny how all the Linux Office substitutes attempt to be direct clones of Microsoft Office. Just blatant and substandard clones of the original. Why not just get the real deal? It's not even expensive.

Too bad LibreOffice/OpenOffice haven't yet cloned the GUI. Having used the ribbon interface, the old menu system just seems archaic.

i_was_here said,

Too bad LibreOffice/OpenOffice haven't yet cloned the GUI. Having used the ribbon interface, the old menu system just seems archaic.

Yeah, but the Linux crowd would want you to believe it's better to stick with LibreOffice's antiquated interface because it's free and you don't have to deal with training people on using the ribbon. Basically, technology shouldn't move forward because companies should not spend resources on training employees to use more productive tools.

The funny thing is, I haven't actually seen any companies train people on the ribbon in the first place. It's intuitive enough to figure out on your own.

The new $200 Windows PCs and Laptops coming out this fall will erase the cost benefit, rendering Chromebooks completely impotent.

Only a fool would buy one. Only a tool would recommend one.

pmbAustin said,
The new $200 Windows PCs and Laptops coming out this fall will erase the cost benefit, rendering Chromebooks completely impotent.

Only a fool would buy one. Only a tool would recommend one.

Sadly, many lazy IT admins have learned deploying these means no one calls to complain that Windows crashed again.

NastySasquatch said,

Sadly, many lazy IT admins have learned deploying these means no one calls to complain that Windows crashed again.

Great, so instead of Windows crashing, IT will receive tickets about the Chromebook not doing anything other than acting as a paperweight?

NastySasquatch said,

Sadly, many lazy IT admins have learned deploying these means no one calls to complain that Windows crashed again.

If Windows "crashed again" I'd blame the IT admins - presumably they are managing pre Windows 7 PCs so it's there own doing.

Just saw this earlier... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28790582

My favourite bit:

BBC and Paul Miles, IT manager, John Lewis Partnership

In the early days there was talk of putting it off completely and just paying Microsoft to keep offering bespoke support, he says.

Some big XP users have made this choice but it is not cheap. For just one year of extended support, the UK government is paying £5.5m. With Microsoft saying support prices will increase, keeping XP going could get very expensive.

"No-one thought that would be good value for money," Mr Miles says, especially as that put off the problem rather than solved it.

Dot Matrix said,

Great, so instead of Windows crashing, IT will receive tickets about the Chromebook not doing anything other than acting as a paperweight?

No, you're getting Chromebooks confused with Windows 8's Metro ;)

We're seeing many more crashes on Win8 than Windows 7. Typically driver or AV issues. They'll BSoD, then not boot again. Win8 Repair sucks.

NastySasquatch said,

Sadly, many lazy IT admins have learned deploying these means no one calls to complain that Windows crashed again.

Chromebooks one problem if it messes up have to run the set up again

farmeunit said,
We're seeing many more crashes on Win8 than Windows 7. Typically driver or AV issues. They'll BSoD, then not boot again. Win8 Repair sucks.

was the hardware made for 7 or 8? Shouldn't count on 8 running drivers as well if it was made for 7.

simplezz said,

No, you're getting Chromebooks confused with Windows 8's Metro ;)

No, he's not. And you anti-Metro BS is really getting tiresome now. It's been proven time and time again, most recently by the London Underground story, that Metro is fully capable of providing rich, dynamic interfaces that can offer great value to everybody, including business.

ians18 said,
Chromebooks are of no serious threat, I don't see why anyone would by this over even a Surface RT.

Because, it massively reduces the IT overhead needed when you deploy useless computers.

NastySasquatch said,

Because, it massively reduces the IT overhead needed when you deploy useless computers.

It can. But, it also requires users to change their habits which can be a bit of a pain and loss of productivity, time, and money. But schools are going more and more Chromebook I think because of price =).

Scabrat said,

It can. But, it also requires users to change their habits which can be a bit of a pain and loss of productivity, time, and money. But schools are going more and more Chromebook I think because of price =).

Not just price, but ease of deployment and maintenance as mentioned. I'm Director of Technology at a school, so I see others talk about them all the time. We went with Dell Venue 11 Pro 5130. While they are a nice device, it takes work to image and manage them. Also repairs. Chromebooks are pretty tough as well.

What "habits" do they need to change? Use Chrome on a Chromebook versus a computer? They don't need Office or many "pro" apps. There are labs for Photoshop or Office, and then there is the Office web apps, which can be used in Chrome. Most kids can adapt much more quickly than most adults, so lost productivity is just an excuse.

eddman said,
T100 seems to be a nice piece of hardware. I see/hear them being mentioned all the time in different places.

I have one. Very happy except wish I had the 64gb/500gb version. I only have 32gb but otherwise very happy with functionality, power and form factor. I get the feeling that a Chromebook would have been far too limited.

A question for those familiar with ChromeOS... Is the Windows 8 metro version of Chrome anything like a Chromebook's interface?

I've seen plenty of Walmart ads for $200 laptops, so I don't think price is that big of an advantage for Chromebooks.

Of all the Chromebook sales, I wonder how many get returned. It would be really easy for something not knowledgeable with computers to buy one on accident to later realize how crippled it is.

Astra.Xtreme said,
I've seen plenty of Walmart ads for $200 laptops, so I don't think price is that big of an advantage for Chromebooks.

Of all the Chromebook sales, I wonder how many get returned. It would be really easy for something not knowledgeable with computers to buy one on accident to later realize how crippled it is.

Just technologically illiterate people buy chromebooks. If they would really need an OS without viruses there's windows RT for arm that has WAY MORE than just a browser and since is runs on arm is battery efficient and runs on cheap hardware

pmbAustin said,
No... Chromebooks are for gullible rubes who have more irrational hatred for Microsoft or Windows, than common sense.

Calling people gullible rubes who lack common sense... I know a Chromebook would be better for my parents than a windows computer. Why? They don't need any fancy features, just be able to browse the internet.

pmbAustin said,
No... Chromebooks are for gullible rubes who have more irrational hatred for Microsoft or Windows, than common sense.

Wow, way to be respectful of others options.

pmbAustin said,
No... Chromebooks are for gullible rubes who have more irrational hatred for Microsoft or Windows, than common sense.

So what's Windows RT for then?

Dinggus said,

Calling people gullible rubes who lack common sense... I know a Chromebook would be better for my parents than a windows computer. Why? They don't need any fancy features, just be able to browse the internet.

Plus they don't get infected with viruses, malware, and rootkits. People don't want the hassle and insecurity of a Windows system these days.

simplezz said,

Plus they don't get infected with viruses, malware, and rootkits. People don't want the hassle and insecurity of a Windows system these days.

What are these viruses you're speaking of? You must be talking about people still running Windows XP or even Windows 98. As for malware, I don't think Android fares much better.

Enron said,

What are these viruses you're speaking of? You must be talking about people still running Windows XP or even Windows 98.

I saw a Windows 8 laptop just the other day. It was completely infested with popups and I think it also had a rootkit. So, no, malware and viruses are just as prevalent as they ever were on Windows systems.

Enron said,

As for malware, I don't think Android fares much better.

Not devices with the official Playstore. Or even Amazon's. 99% of the malware is in Asia where they use dodgy third party stores full of the stuff.

simplezz said,

I saw a Windows 8 laptop just the other day. It was completely infested with popups and I think it also had a rootkit. So, no, malware and viruses are just as prevalent as they ever were on Windows systems.

Not devices with the official Playstore. Or even Amazon's. 99% of the malware is in Asia where they use dodgy third party stores full of the stuff.

And you think it had a rootkit. Popups? You think those are caused by a virus? I saw a Linux box the other day, also full of popups. I think it had a rootkit as well.

Use the official Playstore... ok. There's malware on that too.

Enron said,

And you think it had a rootkit. Popups? You think those are caused by a virus? I saw a Linux box the other day, also full of popups. I think it had a rootkit as well.

Use the official Playstore... ok. There's malware on that too.

Sorry, but in the real world, I have yet to see an infested phone. Windows machines I see EVERY day. Typically several. You can spout all the nonsense you want, but that doesn't make it true.

Dinggus said,

Calling people gullible rubes who lack common sense... I know a Chromebook would be better for my parents than a windows computer. Why? They don't need any fancy features, just be able to browse the internet.

Biggest mistake my parents ever made when buying a new computer is going for a Chromebook. That is not a computer for people with little to no knowledge about computers. I can't even count how many times I got a call from my dad about why he can't run that program and why is there no local space to store music or pictures. He eventually went out and bought a mid speced Windows 8.1 notebook.

You seem to have missed the fact that RT cannot be infected by x86 malware, and even if there were windows on ARM malware in the wild, they do not pose a threat because the only way to install an app is through the store, unless the store app itself is infected.

Gungel said,

Biggest mistake my parents ever made when buying a new computer is going for a Chromebook. That is not a computer for people with little to no knowledge about computers. I can't even count how many times I got a call from my dad about why he can't run that program and why is there no local space to store music or pictures. He eventually went out and bought a mid speced Windows 8.1 notebook.

Chromebooks is obviously not for everyone. My parents don't need local space, I can easily teach them about Google Drive and what not. They just browse and read email's.

farmeunit said,

Sorry, but in the real world, I have yet to see an infested phone. Windows machines I see EVERY day. Typically several. You can spout all the nonsense you want, but that doesn't make it true.

Part of the infestation on Android is the things you don't see. Please document the next 'infested' Windows machine you see.

Dinggus said,

Chromebooks is obviously not for everyone. My parents don't need local space, I can easily teach them about Google Drive and what not. They just browse and read email's.

What really pushed my dad to go back to a Windows notebook was when the internet connection to his house was interrupted for 3 days and he needed access to some documents. Funny thing is that he doesn't use any of the Google services any longer, not even search. "Get that garbage off my screen" he said when I came over to check it out and started IE to do a Google search on his notebook.

Comparing malware on Android vs Windows, it is night and day. Windows is far more infected with malware and I see it every damn day. Even Windows 8.1 Update 1. Ransomware anyone?

Gungel said,
What really pushed my dad to go back to a Windows notebook was when the internet connection to his house was interrupted for 3 days and he needed access to some documents.

So it is garbage since his internet was down and he couldnt use it? So everytime I use Linux and the internet goes down, Linux is garbage. Sounds to me like misinformation was given on the type of device he bought and bought the wrong thing.

Enron said,

The most of the malware is in Android, yes. But i help different people with their phones every day and have yet to see any signs of malware or the wrong app installed. FACT is, malware isnt nearly a problem as it is on Windows especially if you stick with the play store. Only .001 percent of apps are known to be infected/problem apps.

Tim Cook is reaching to far to try and discredit Android and to scare its users into switching to something else.

Edited by techbeck, Aug 22 2014, 12:32pm :

Well I've never had a problem on Windows either even when I didn't use an 'antivirus', not denying there is a problem as I have fixed some peoples PCs years ago, but since Windows 7 the only stuff I see is when dummies install random crap off the web like toolbars and stuff that gets sneak-installed like Chrome. I've seen Macs with the same issue. Those aren't viruses though, that's just slimy adware/malware people sneaking their crap onto your system due to the open nature of the OS.

You're right if you stick with the official app stores, you are better off, but still not completely safe. Windows now has an app store too, but it definitely needs some attention (there was an article about this the other day).

As for Tim Cook, I like that slide a lot because he makes a funny face.

Enron said,
Well I've never had a problem on Windows either even when I didn't use an 'antivirus'

Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal. The point being, there are millions of infected Windows PC's around the world. There exists statistical evidence to prove that fact.

Enron said,

not denying there is a problem as I have fixed some peoples PCs years ago, but since Windows 7 the only stuff I see is when dummies install random crap off the web like toolbars and stuff that gets sneak-installed like Chrome.

I see compromised Windows 8 PC's all the time. And don't take my anecdotal word for, go look at the statistics.

Enron said,

I've seen Macs with the same issue. Those aren't viruses though, that's just slimy adware/malware people sneaking their crap onto your system due to the open nature of the OS.

It happens much less often because of the strong security base of OS X and the prominence of Apple's app store.

Enron said,

You're right if you stick with the official app stores, you are better off, but still not completely safe.

Not simply better off, but virtually immune. Again if you look at the stats, almost all of the malware is proliferating on third party app stores in Asia. It's not an Android problem, it's a dodgy third party store problem. Any OS can get infected with malware, even Linux. But for it to be profitable for the makers of said malware, it must be downloaded by many users. If the primary sources of software are peer reviewed repositories or official and curated app stores, then that risk disappears almost entirely. It's still possible to get infected of course. And that's been proven on all the mobile OS' including Windows Phone.

Enron said,

Windows now has an app store too, but it definitely needs some attention (there was an article about this the other day).

The problem is hardly anyone uses it. Most still download from unknown sources and random websites. Malware, viruses, and rootkits thrive in that kind of ecosystem. That's why Windows is synonymous with insecurity. I certainly wouldn't do any serious work on.

Enron said,

As for Tim Cook, I like that slide a lot because he makes a funny face.

Yeah because he knows it's complete ######. Notice he doesn't mention store statistics or anything else. It's all F.U.D.

Enron said,

Please document the next 'infested' Windows machine you see.

What's the point. Just do a search on Google or Youtube. It's there for all the world to see. Most people also see that on a daily basis, especially anyone working in IT.

If you erroneously think that OS X has "stronger security" than Windows 8, then that calls into question every other opinion you've had. OS X isn't any more secure than Windows 8, sorry. It's just not. In many ways, it's less so. The reason it doesn't suffer more viruses than Windows is because it's so staggeringly unpopular... basically, it's "obscure". At only around 5% of the world market (compared to 90+% for Windows), it's just not a juicy enough, profitable enough target.

techbeck said,
Comparing malware on Android vs Windows, it is night and day. Windows is far more infected with malware and I see it every damn day. Even Windows 8.1 Update 1. Ransomware anyone?

Since android was designed for mobile devices, you should compare it with windows phone. How is the security from wp 8 comparing to android?
And for the chromebook ... I see no reason why anyone with a healty mind would chose a chromebook over a windows RT device with arm processor

cristian.dan said,

Since android was designed for mobile devices, you should compare it with windows phone. How is the security from wp 8 comparing to android?

This article isn't comparing Windows Phone to Android, it's comparing Windows x86 laptops to Chromebooks. The reason Android entered the discussion is because Chrome OS will soon support Android apps seamlessly.

However, in the spirit of fairness, I'll respond to your question:


Not much different really. Doesn't WP have a permission system? I don't know. Android certainly does.

But I'm sure what you're really alluding to are the stores. Microsoft's is supposed to be approved, although judging by the number of scam apps posing as 1st party I have my doubts to its efficacy, and Google's isn't. However, some degree of curation occurs in both stores.

In terms of levels of malware, both are very safe and have little instances it, and even when it does occur, removal is forthwith.

cristian.dan said,

And for the chromebook ... I see no reason why anyone with a healty mind would chose a chromebook over a windows RT device with arm processor

1. They are cheaper.
2. It's a familar paradigm - the desktop UI. Metro isn't very popular if you haven't heard.
3. Choice of OEM's and hardware. Windows RT is all but dead. Isn't Microsoft the only remaining OEM of the platform these days?
4. Ecosystem. Chrome OS has the Chrome store. And Android app support is soon to arrive.
5. Microsoft's Surface RT is a tablet first and foremost. Some people want a real laptop with a proper keyboard, and something that's easy and ergonomic to work with on the lap.
6. Chromebooks come in both x86 and arm architectures. So there's a variety of power envelopes for different use cases.