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.