Chromebooks Might Have A Tiny Niche Within The Enterprise

Chromebooks made their belated debut in Australia in March this year, and have been very much pitched at individual buyers who want a bargain-priced device and whose digital lives reside largely in the Google ecosystem. But do they also have a place in company-wide IT plans?

My own response to that idea has always been that the Chromebook would be a niche solution at best. Reviewing the overpriced Chromebook pixel earlier this year, I noted that the target market didn't include "developers, designers, video editors, or anyone who needs word processor or spreadsheet software with more than ultra-basic functionality". Sound like any workplace you know?

A recent study from Forrester largely bears that out, but suggests that a small proportion of IT managers are contemplating Chromebooks. According to the study of 1282 IT professionals, around 18 per cent have some interest in purchasing Chromebooks for their workplaces. However, just 4 per cent have translated that into actual purchases. Forrester suggests that the devices might have a role in "segmented workplaces", where some staff only need a very limited range of functions on their devices.

Outside that context, the most likely route into the workplace for a Chromebook would seem to be via a bring-your-own-device policy. The biggest challenge there is the dearth of management tools available for controlling the devices; while they are self-updating and patch automatically, options for remote management and security are limited.

Can you see a place for Chromebooks in your environment? Tell us in the comments.

It's Time For Enterprises To Consider Chromebooks [Forrester Research via Business Insider]


Comments

    i recently got an acer chromebook to use whilst studying - but it just doesn't cut the mustered. i'll stick with with my 15" windows 8 machine and use my chromebook for surfing in bed at night. it's a good OS if you have constrant internet but i don't.
    i may just load ubuntu on it and use it that way

    It's perfect for uni and non-savvy parents.

    People give Chromebooks a lot of crap, but it always seems to be that they expect it to be able to do everything you would on an ultrabook or tablet. It isn't an ultrabook or a tablet.

    It's a niche product which means that it won't suit everybody; in fact it may not suit most people. And in fact that is in many ways its strength.

    I used to have an underpowered netbook that struggled with windows 7 starter and MS office. It was cheap, ugly, slow, and by trying to make it do everything, the manufacturer had ended up with a gimpy piece of crap hardware. By stripping away all the cruft and using a custom OS, google has essentially streamlined the whole idea of what a netbook is. (personally I think it should be referred to as a 'cloudbook' due to all the negative associations with the term 'netbook')

    But for the people it does suit, it is a brilliant piece of tech; a light, beautiful, super fast machine that does exactly what you want and nothing more, nothing less.

    Probably the biggest thing people need to understand about the CB is that it is fundamentally a secondary device. Don't get rid of your primary laptop and then get angry that you can't edit videos or play WoW.

    I guess I'm sick of the whole "this spoon is crap because it won't cut my steak" argument.

      @Sockparty

      To use the metaphor you used at the end, I'd argue that alot of people see this device as a metal handle, with neither a fork, spoon or knife on the end.

        Which would imply that it's not useful for anything, whereas there is genuinely a lot of things that you can do with it. It's fast and it's cheap, something that netbooks have never delivered.

        It's obviously aimed at the lower end of the market, so if you want something with all the bells and whistles - don't buy it. If you want an optical drive, don't buy it.

        I don't know why people don't understand this; you never hear that kind of criticism over apple products. It would be like saying "OMG it doesn't have an optical drive on it, you can't install any program you want, it doesn't even have USB ports! There's no way I'm buying an iPad."

        If it doesn't suit you - DON'T BUY IT. That hardly means that it's crap.

        Time will prove the value of chromebook, i Hope u could find ur where is ur mouth otherwise none of your fork knife or spoon would feed you

    The Chromebook Pixel is the perfect machine for me, a writer, because it has what I value in a laptop--the best screen resolution available, superb keyboard and track pad, 3:2 screen aspect. I'm especially enamored of the screen--very important, since I spend six to ten hours a day looking at it.

    I just recently finished writing a book on the Pixel mainly using which syncs with my iPad, iMac, and iPhone. Toward the end of the project I switched to the beta browser version of Pages. To send the Word file to my publisher I opened the file on my iMac, converted it to Word, formatted it, and emailed it.

    Let me add that to overcome the limitations of the Chromebook (it's only a browser) you need a reliable Internet connection and another computer (Windows or Mac) for formatting and printing.

    The Chromebook Pixel is a niche product but it works for me.

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