I’m sitting at a coffee shop a few blocks from my house typing up this post on our company Samsung Chromebook. I have long been interested in Chrome OS (I installed the first beta of Chromium OS all the way back in 2009 and I received one of the CR-48 prototype computers in 2010). Earlier this year my partners and I were looking for a “car show computer” that could be used both by us to check email and do light work while traveling, and by potential customers to sign up for wholesale accounts or make purchases.
The Samsung Chromebook 3G was perfect. It’s cheap enough ($329.99 with 3G, $249.99 with just wifi) that it doesn’t really matter if we lose it or break it. Storing everything securely in the cloud gives us confidence that if it’s stolen or if someone has a few minutes of unguarded access to it there’s nothing malicious they can accomplish. The $10/day for unlimited 3G data is a steal when we’re traveling or at a show.
When we’re not using it for a show I’ve sort of adopted it as my secondary computer since my partners weren’t all that interested in it. Even if they didn’t let me use it, I probably would have spent the $250 myself for the wifi version. It’s the perfect insurance policy for my new ASUS Zenbook. While it was important to me to have the ability with the Zenbook to work at a near-desktop experience when traveling or working remotely, those instances where I truly need that are relatively rare. A handful of times per year maybe. More often than not I’m taking my laptop to a meeting with my partners, or to a coffee shop to answer email, or grabbing it to work on my porch in the nice weather. Those are the times I use the Chrombook now and leave my laptop docked safely in my office.
If I drop it or spill something on it or it gets stolen we’re out $329.99 and I maybe should change my Google password to be safe. That’s nothing compared to the cost of losing the Zenbook – both financially and the data on the computer. Most of my non-programming work is done in the browser, but if I need to do some quick programming or access a file on my Zenbook I can do it with Chrome Remote Desktop, which is free, secure, and works pretty well.
With the new standalone Chrome Desktop Apps and other advances, it’s possible there’s a future where my primary computing will be done on a Chromebook. And if not, if it never gets any better than it is today, this Samsung Chromebook is still one very useful device.