Okay, this is going to be a bit of a rant but I think that you will find some valid points along the way if you decide to stick around for my ramblings. Before I get too deep, let me first express that I am NOT a fan of larger laptops. I have owned a couple of the older Broadwell-powered Acer Chromebook 15 devices and for their part, they were good machines. That said, I hated lugging them around in my backpack. Like my cohorts here at the Chrome Unboxed office, I spend the majority of my time tethered to a second monitor. I prefer a device somewhere in the 13.3″ – 14″ range because it fits neatly on my desk and it feels way more portable than a 15.6″ device. I can throw it in my bag and when I want/need to work on the go, I can tote it around without feeling like I’m carrying a broad sword. That’s just me but I’m not everyone else and now I can get to my point.
We’re ten years into this little project called Chrome OS and not even the platform’s founders could have predicted the explosive growth and exponential adoption that it would experience over the past few years. That growth was further accelerated when we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a full-blown pandemic that completely reshaped the way we work and learn. Now, more than ever, employees and students alike are leveraging the cloud and the numerous ways to get stuff done remotely. Google was already well on its way to infiltrating the corporate sector with ever-growing cloud solutions and the massively evolved Chrome Enterprise platform. Now, with Zero-Touch Enrollment, Google is making it easier than ever for corporate admins to deploy Chromebooks in mass without having to touch a single device. With so many remote workers and even students making the switch to Chrome OS, why haven’t we seen any devices larger than 15.6″?
As I said, I’m not a fan of the larger laptops but those who need a lot of digital real estate that may not have a secondary monitor or home office setup would likely jump on the chance to buy a Chromebook with a 17.3″‘ screen. I mean, seriously. Just head over to Walmart and do a quick search for 17-inch laptops. Here, I did it for you. Hundreds of devices. Clearly, there’s no shortage of 17-inch laptops on the market. As much as I do not like large laptops, it is clear that there is a big market for them and I’m a bit shocked that Chromebook makers haven’t expanded their enterprise lineups to include Chrome OS devices in this segment. Google is doing everything in its power to take a chunk of the enterprise market with things like Parallels that brings the Windows desktop to Chrome OS for employees that need legacy applications and just recently, the Chrome Enterprise team launched the Chrome OS Readiness Tool to assist companies in making the transition to Chromebooks and cloud-based infrastructure. Just this week, the Google Chrome YouTube channel dropped a thirty-minute-long video explaining all the ways enterprise customers can accelerate the move to Chrome OS. I’ll drop it here if you want to check it out. It’s a bit dry but there’s a lot of good stuff in there for admins and corporate types.
I gotta be honest, I’m actually a bit befuddled as to why we haven’t seen larger Chromebooks yet. The market is ripe and Chrome OS has matured enough to explore other spaces like tablets and detachables. And what about gaming? Google may not have a handle on Stadia’s direction at the moment but that hasn’t stopped the company from pushing the streaming platform that happens to run really well on just about any Chromebook. Gamers like larger screens. With Stadia, GeForce Now and soon Steam, Chromebooks have quickly become the perfect place for casual and intermediate gamers that aren’t looking to spend a fortune on gaming hardware. A 17.3″ Chromebook would be really sweet to play some PUBG or SuperHot. Just saying. Anyway, that’s my little rant for the day. I’ll get off of my soapbox and hopefully, OEMs are taking note that Chrome OS isn’t just for kids and a lot of users could benefit from a larger Chromebook if they came to market. Thoughts? Would you buy a 17.3″ Chromebook? Drop a comment below and give us your input.