We need to talk about Chromebooks. The Google Chrome OS-based laptops are well-loved workhorses in many enterprises around the globe, yet awareness about this killer alternative to traditional office laptops isn’t always as high as it should be across organizations. What are the key advantages in an enterprise context and how do forward-thinking retail organizations use these devices to leverage their corporate strengths? Let’s dive in.
Chromebooks explained in less than 100 words.
Chromebooks are laptops that run on Chrome OS, the operating system that is based on the Chrome browser and is developed and maintained by Google. These devices are generally lightweight, user-friendly, and budget-friendly. That’s because a Chromebook needs less processing power, memory, and hard drive space than typical Windows or macOS alternatives. The Chrome-based software is not as heavy on resources and relies largely on Google’s cloud services to store data. In general, Chromebooks are designed to run any browser-based application at lightning speed. Chromebooks integrate easily as they are designed to function within the Google ecosystem.
– Only 97 words, we did it!
Key Chromebook advantages in the workplace
In the past 10 years, Chromebooks have steadily been eating away at the Windows market share in business. Research by Strategy Analytics estimates that Chromebooks’ market share rose from 10.5% in 2019 to 14,9% in 2020. The boost in Chromebook sales is primarily due to the pandemic and the increasing need for devices that enable remote work. But there’s more to this story.
Chromebooks are considerably more affordable than the average laptop. The definition of ‘mid-range’ usually comes in at roughly half the price of an equivalent Windows or MacBook laptop that is designed for everyday office requirements. This is because of the optimized Chrome OS platform mentioned above. The attractive pricing makes them an obvious choice for organizations looking for a go-to laptop platform to incorporate into their hardware life cycle.
Chromebooks are fast. Lighting-fast. Pound-for-pound, everyday tasks invariably run more smoothly on a Chromebook than on MacBooks or Windows laptops with equivalent hardware. This is largely because the Chrome OS isn’t restrained by background processes, legacy code, or clunky bloatware that slows down performance.
Longer battery life
Chromebooks have an average battery life that outperforms most laptops in a similar category that run Windows or macOS. Even mid-range Chromebooks typically allow employees to keep going for a full working day on the road – a promise that only higher-priced competitors can keep.
Cloud First approach
Google has always been a cloud front runner with its online Google Workspace office suite. Most Chromebook apps simply run in the cloud and data is also stored there. This enables users to access their entire virtual workspace through the web browser. Most apps and data on Chrome OS are stored in the cloud and can be accessed through the Google Chrome web browser. In keeping with this cloud-first philosophy, local storage on a Chromebook is deliberately kept relatively small. This, in turn, helps to keep the device price down.
Automated updates and integrated security
Google always makes sure its Chrome OS platform is updated in the background. This helps employees to focus on their work, rather than spending time waiting for updates to be completed. At the same time, security is integrated into the platform – removing the need for any antivirus or malware detection software as an additional security layer.
Always accessible and ready to go
Chromebooks come pre-installed. They don’t require any tech wizardry, and in the vast majority of cases things just… work. Encrypted cloud synchronization helps to switch from one device to another, allowing employees to pick up where they left off in case they find themselves on a laptop that isn’t their primary machine. This removes the pressure for instant troubleshooting in the rare case that things do take a turn for the worse.
Additionally, with the Chrome Enterprise Upgrade it becomes easier for IT teams to manage, control and enforce 100+ settings and policies that apply when people are using devices in your company. It’s easy to preinstall and update apps and extensions, limit access to authorized users, make Wi-Fi and proxy settings, and much more. This helps your IT team to take back control and make your workplace a safer space.
Chromebook power in retail
The combination of factors mentioned above makes a particularly great use case for Chromebooks in the retail industry. Different departments, store locations, and warehouses call for a flexible business laptop fleet. That’s where Chromebooks deliver at their best. A set-up with Chromebook devices is scalable, employee-friendly, and extremely light on maintenance. At Localyse, we experienced this first-hand by supporting supermarket chain Jumbo in their switch to Chromebooks and Chrome Enterprise.
Google takes things one step further with its so-called zero-touch enrollment program for business customers. Device delivery can be done straight to the workplace or your employee’s remote office. IT teams will no longer have to visit your different retail locations to sort out a batch of laptops and configure tedious updates.
There are only a few specific use cases that might favor high-end alternatives to Chromebooks. Chrome OS is designed for the execution of everyday work, and it does an excellent job at that. However, Chromebooks are not designed for some industry-specific applications, like Photoshop, rendering, or heavy coding. At the same time, particular sectors might rely on legacy software that is typically Windows-only, which can make certain organizations hesitate in making the switch. However, if you find yourself in a software hostage situation, you might want to ask yourself whether you shouldn’t be switching to more convenient software or a SaaS alternative altogether.
Tangible benefits for lower TCO
In short, the key Chromebook advantages are great to deliver business impact: on average, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of Chromebooks is 43% lower than the TCO of traditional PCs. Savings are three-fold:
- Limited to non-existent set-up costs thanks to zero-touch enrollment,
- IT maintenance cost savings through automated updates,
- Reduction of expensive proprietary software licenses.
Does your business run on a workforce that is spread across different locations, or with a substantial share of remote workers? Then switching to Chromebooks is the right choice.
Do you want to calculate how much your business can save by switching from traditional laptops to Google Chromebooks? Click here to use our free TCO calculator.
Still struggling to find answers? Talk to one of our experts in a free consultation call to find out how you can leverage the power of Google Chromebooks for your business. Request your consultation by clicking here.