Is that title up there a given? Of course I’m going to say that I would use a Chromebook with or without Chrome Unboxed being a thing. But I’d bet some of you wonder to yourself whether or not I really, truly value Google’s Chromebook hardware enough to keep using it if I didn’t make a living talking about these devices. I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about it from time to time. A life beyond Chrome Unboxed where I could use, talk about, and recommend anything out there on the market – even Apple stuff – feels a bit foreign to me. But I still think about it.
Whether its the buzz going around about Apple’s new Vision Pro, my daily use of Windows 11 for the golf simulator we talk about at Proof Golf (our other side hustle), I see other hardware and use other hardware on a very regular basis. So, then, is there a draw to it? And attraction? Are my allegiances ever swayed?
Yes and no, I’d say: but largely the answer is no. Would I like to play with the Vision Pro? Sure. Do I sometimes look at the latest, greatest Windows laptop hardware with a dash of envy? Yeah. Do I wonder what it would be like to try out Apple’s overpriced, locked-in ecosystem? Not really. My point is, I think about this stuff all the time, I read about it, and I watch videos about tech gadgets that aren’t Chromebooks. And I’m still right here.
I’d definitely stick with a Chromebook
Obviously, this declaration comes with a few caveats. In this imaginary scenario where I’m no longer running Chrome Unboxed, a different job might require different tools. If a Chromebook isn’t up to this new, imaginary task, I’d clearly have to use something else. We’ve always said that Chromebooks aren’t for everyone, everywhere and that you need to procure the right tool for the job: Chromebook or not. But for my personal use, my personal online tasks, and my personal needs, I’d still choose ChromeOS.
There’s something instantly refreshing about a Chromebook that I feel each time I return to one after doing a few things on the Windows PC we use for the golf simulator (again, go like, subscribe and follow all the stuff at Proof Golf if you have a sec). The responsiveness of the entire experience and the sheer simplicity of it all is a breath of fresh air.
But there are perks, too. Small things like the Phone Hub, Global Media Controls, Tote (quick files on the shelf), and a three-finger swipe to move through my open Chrome tabs are a few quick things I can think of off the top of my head that I instantly miss when I use a Windows device or a Macbook.
But there’s far more to it than that. The knowledge that I can reset my Chromebook and be back up and running on it or another ChromeOS device in mere minutes is freeing. The security I feel never having to worry about malware or viruses is anxiety-reducing. And the ability to have multiple, siloed users on one device that can be swapped to and from seamlessly makes these devices indispensable in homes.
The list goes on and on, but I suppose the primary reason I’d stay around is the fact that I know and love this OS, and I don’t really want to learn or re-learn another. From top to bottom, I don’t have to think very much about where things are or how to do something on a Chromebook, and that makes getting any task done a far simpler process. On a modest budget, a Chromebook does all I need from a personal computing standpoint, and with regular updates every 4 weeks, my device just gets better over time: not slower and worse. They start up fast, stay secure, and help me get my stuff done quickly. Those are the pillars, and I’ve come to expect that from my laptops. Windows laptops rarely deliver on these things the way Chromebooks do.
Implications for the future of ChromeOS
When I distill it down like that, I see far more clearly why Google made sure to lock up the education sector when they did. As Linus of LTT pointed out in his latest Chromebook video, I do think we’ll see students coming out of school and choosing to just stick with what they know. As always and with everything, that won’t occur 100% across the board, but as we have students moving towards college and then to the workforce, we’ll see this happening more and more.
And the launch of Chromebook Plus feels like it was precisely aimed at this point in the timeline. By the end of 2024, we’ll likely have a solid library of Chromebook Plus devices (branded) that are clearly labeled and marketed. As these devices take shape, they’ll carve out a space in the market that should be very inviting to students transitioning to secondary education and into the workforce.
I know none of that last bit impacts why I’d continue using a Chromebook even if I didn’t run this website, but it is interesting, isn’t it? As I thought through exactly why my knee-jerk reaction was a definite “yes” when asking myself if I’d stick with Chromebooks without Chrome Unboxed, my thought process ended up landing on the old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if that is truly my underlying motivation to stick with ChromeOS, I’d imagine it will be the same for a lot of young people as they hit adulthood. And that is a very, very good thing for the future of Chromebooks.