Will 2018 be the year Chrome OS devices emerge as mainstream computers in the corporate world?
Not a chance. Microsoft Windows is predicted to represent 85% of worldwide PC shipments next year, with macOS at 8% and Chrome at 6%, according to IDC.
But consider this: In 2017, 5.5% of all PCs sold will be Chrome OS devices, according to IDC analyst Linn Huang. This marks the first time a third operating system has joined Windows and macOS in crossing the 5% threshold in PC shipments since IDC started tracking that data in 1995.
So is it time for your organization to consider Chromebooks, Chromeboxes (desktop computers) or other Chrome OS devices for your workforce? There are several well-known reasons for adding Chrome OS thin clients to your arsenal — including tighter security, easier management and greater ease of use for your workforce. (If users know their way around the Chrome browser, they can use a Chromebook.)
Here are eight other facts you should know when considering Chrome devices for your workforce.
1. You’ve got lots of Chrome choices
There’s a growing selection of Chrome devices available across a broad range of styles, including convertible tablets/laptops, touchscreen and non-touchscreen devices, laptops and desktops, models geared for businesses and others aimed at consumers, and devices designed for meetings. Some Chromebooks come with a stylus; some will run Android OS apps in addition to Chrome. Chromebooks range in price from the $179 Lenovo N23 Chromebook to Google’s sleek Pixelbook ($1,000 and up). Google’s website is the best place to browse the offerings.
Also, Neverware’s CloudReady lets you convert old Windows and macOS computers into Chrome OS-based thin clients. An Enterprise Edition ($99/per device/per year) provides additional device management features.
2. More management services are available
Google’s Chrome management console lets IT admins manage an enterprise’s Chrome devices. In August, Google announced Chrome Enterprise, a new service that offers a variety of features, such as support for single sign-on and managed OS updates.
Third-party services are also available to ease IT management of Chrome devices. VMware’s Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management, for example, offers “enterprise-grade management” of Chrome OS devices and other endpoints such as Macs, Windows PCs and mobile devices running Android, iOS or Windows 10 — while also enabling enterprise applications on Chrome devices.
3. More businesses are adopting Chrome
As more businesses move applications to the cloud, there’s less need to provide their workforces powerful desktop computers, making low-cost, thin-client devices based on Chrome more compelling, said David Dingwall, vice president of marketing at Fox Technologies, a global security company. With many cloud services now offering stronger security via multifactor authentication, “why invest in all that infrastructure if you don’t have to?” Dingwall wondered.
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