Why my next laptop will be a Chromebook


I’ve always had a fascination with Google products. I made the switch to Google search as soon as I heard about the service and jumped on the Gmail bandwagon when the invitation-only service was first announced.

Like many of you, I purchased the first Google phone (the T-Mobile G1) on launch day and have owned over a dozen Android-powered devices over the years. On a daily basis I use Gmail, Google Calendar, Keep, two Android devices, Google Now, Google Photos, Hangouts, Google Music, Google Drive, YouTube and even Google+. Suffice to say that I rely on Google for a lot of what I do.

But Google’s Chrome OS and Chromebooks have never been an appealing option for me. While I’ve recommended Chromebooks to dozens of people who were looking for a cheap and reliable alternative to their antiquated Windows laptops, the simplicity of the operating system is what’s kept me away.

Chrome OS works great for most of Google’s services, but it falls flat on its face when it comes to video and photo editing. Sure, there are a handful of web apps for tweaking your photos, but none of them come close to what you can do with Photoshop or Lightroom. As for video editing, your only real option with Chrome OS is to use an editing service in the cloud, but those services don’t offer much more control than what you got with Windows Movie Maker XP from back in the day.

With yesterday’s announcement that Google will be adding Google Play and fully integrating Android app into Chrome OS, a new Chromebook is definitely in my future. As things stand right now, the advanced programs that I use on Windows 10 cannot be matched by an Android app. But that’s OK.

Android apps running Chromebook Pixel

It’ll probably be 3-5 years before Chrome OS will allow me to leave Windows behind, but during that transition I will be able to use a Chromebook with real apps which work just as good as the apps that I use on my smartphone or tablet. In many ways, those apps will work a lot better on a Chromebook since they will be able to scale up or down as needed while allowing for keyboard and mouse input.

Having a Chromebook running Android apps will also be great for my two daughters. At 7 and 4 years old, they’ve both mastered using Android on a tablet, but neither of them has used a true computer for anything more than The simplicity of Chrome OS is perfect for them, but there’s never been a compelling reason for them to use a Chromebook since there’s really not a lot of web browsing that they need to do. That all changes now that a Chromebook can also allow them to use their favorite Android apps.

The next thing I need to figure out is what Chromebook to buy. I adore the design of the Chromebook Pixel, but I’m not sure I really want to drop a thousand bucks on a secondary laptop. I’m definitely willing to wait 6-8 months to see if Lenovo, Dell or HP cook up a sweet selection of premium Chromebooks.

There’s no guarantee that a Chromebook will ever offer as much functionality or versatility as a laptop running on Windows or OSX, but adding Google Play to Chrome OS is enough for me to finally put my hard earned cash on the line and see where things go from here.

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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