Wednesday, 05 June 2019 13:01

New Chromebooks for 2019: Google's answer to Windows, Mac and iPadOS

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Android tablets never took off the same way iPads did, and while Chromebooks have had success in education, Google wants its latest batch to become a massive consumer hit.

Chromebooks. Initially based on the Google Chrome browser when they were first launched back in 2010, they've grown to run Android apps, take on the Google Assistant and even become the preferred computer of security professionals when travelling.

They run on what is known as ChromeOS, and with Android app compatibility via the Google Play store, and access to all of Google's apps, ChromeOS is Google's OS for desktops, clamshells, convertibles, detachables and tablets, thus being Google's competitor to Windows, macOS, iPadOS and even traditional Android tablets.

Whether Google and its partners can massively boost sales to match sales of Windows computers, iPads or Macs is yet to be seen, but it certainly is clear that the latest Chromebooks are the best yet, and are a genuine alternative to Windows PCs, Macs and iPads.

Chromebooks have also always had access to a mouse cursor, and wired or wireless mouse support, which has only just been added to the upcoming iPadOS, and while the previous lack of mouse support didn't seem to harm sales of iPads, Chromebooks at least have support for mice today, rather than in five or so months before iPadOS goes live to the world. 

Chromebooks also support touch and some models come with a stylus, so parity has been reached in physical input systems - now you just have to decide which computing platform is right for you.  

To help you make your decision, Google has crafted a new site to showcase what Chromebooks can do, showcasing features, apps, how-to videos and special offers for Chromebooks ranging in price from A$349 to $1199

The news comes via a post by Joel Lohrey, head of Business and Operations, Australia & New Zealand, Chrome OS, entitled "Work, play learn and do more with Chromebooks" over at Google's official blog, where he states that "from today, Aussies can enjoy a wider and more enhanced range of Chromebooks, from more retailers".

Lohrey notes that "when most of us pick up a computer, we want to focus on the task at hand not software updates, security patches or document management. It was with this vision we set out to build a completely new computing experience that would be faster, smarter and more secure.

"A computing experience unlike any other that provides a seamless experience - either online or offline - between you and what you want to achieve.

"Since 2011, Chrome OS has evolved to enter new form factors, and we’ve made significant updates to the platform to work on these new devices – scaling UI from desktops to clamshells to convertibles to detachables and even now into tablets."

"From today, all Aussies can enjoy a wider and enhanced range of Chromebooks in Australia. With our partners Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo, we’re expanding the range of retail partners and devices. You’ll be able to purchase more Chromebooks via Amazon, Officeworks, JB Hi-Fi and our new Chromebooks website." 

Lohrey continues: "Since we first launched Chromebooks in 2010, they have made computers faster, simpler, and more secure, while eliminating everyday hassles like waiting for your computer to boot up, having to constantly charge it, and remembering to install software updates.

"And a lot of people love them. Chromebooks accounted for 21% of notebooks sold in the U.S in Q4 2018 – and more than 25 million students and teachers are using Chromebooks around the world. And in Australia, Chromebooks have been helping students and teachers since 2013 so they can share ideas, create projects, go on virtual field trips, and learn from each other."

Here are some of the ways you can enjoy and do more with Chromebooks:

  • Easy access to your favourite Android apps: With the Google Play Store and the latest progressive web app technology, Chrome OS users can run powerful apps right in the browser.
  • Get help from your Assistant: Your Google Assistant is built in to all HP Chromebooks in Australia, and will come to more Chromebooks later this year. Try asking “Hey Google, what’s on my calendar today.”
  • Set healthy boundaries for the family: The Family Link app can help parents lay digital ground rules as kids explore with Chromebooks – by setting time limits, managing the apps kids download and more
  • Enjoy seamless accessibility features: Accessibility settings sync across any Chrome OS device, so as students switch between shared devices or log in at home with their G Suite for Education account, their settings automatically update.

Whether you’re looking to learn, design, number crunch or just surf the web, Lohrey says "you can find your favourite Chromebook here." 

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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