No matter how rich the online resources or speed of access, there are times, topics, private data and insecure locations that make us wish to do our jobs and manage our information offline rather than on, sometimes even on paper that we carry around with us, even when we know paper is not a data format the Internet accepts.
Chromebook is an improvement in many ways over laptops. Google says it will boot in eight seconds, awake instantly after powering down, be connected in almost every cellular, wireless and wired way available, and give users access to all the best of the Internet and their own data.
They come with security already built in – including sandboxes, data encryption and recovery, automatic updates and verifications on boot that it's good code, not malware running.
They should be cheaper to manage because all the user data is stored online and all the admin work can be done remotely.
They should be cheaper to provision for apps and services because – as with the overly complex, overly expensive virtual desktop technologies that have found only limited acceptance – IT doesn't have to touch the machine to make any changes.
They have some onboard storage, and Google's apps and OS are able to cache data so users can work when they're disconnected.
They will run quickly, or should, because they're not encumbered by 30 years worth of failsafes and workarounds in an operating system designed to do everything for everyone right on the PC – the way Windows and MacOS do.
At prices between $349 and $499, they're not as cheap as you'd think.
They'll be more expensive, too, because they're designed to have full-time data connections through cell carriers, rather than relying on WiFi or wired networks.
WiFi-only versions are cheaper to buy and cheaper to run, of course.
Businesses will have to pay $28 per month just for web-based management, support and auto-updates.
In computer-science-philosophical terms, Chromebook is a huge departure from run-of-the-mill PCs. They reverse the burden of work by putting most of the responsibility on the network and little on the device.