The Google Chromebook is a case in point. At $199, the cost certainly seems to be cash friendly. But, exactly what is the Google Chromebook and why should you consider it for your home?
In short, the Chromebook does one thing: access the internet via Google's Chrome browser. There is no word processing program, games or other software, per se. Just Chrome and only Chrome. Once the computer boots up (in a fast ten seconds), Chrome appears and you can access online content via wifi (a more expensive Chromebook- $449- provides 3G access).
However, you can still do word processing, spreadsheets and other apps via Chrome using Googles vast online selection of products like Google Documents, that stores your written work in the cloud. While this anchors you to a wifi connection to do any work, it also means that work is available at any computer with a connection to the internet.
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Also, the Googleverse contains thousands of other apps, themes and bits of downloadable to make the Chromebook your own. Each user can also customize their version of the Chrome experience under their individual sign-on, so my eight-year old's Hello Kitty theme doesn't clash with my football background.
My suggestion would be not to use the Chromebook as your primary computer, but as your secondary one. It has some major limitations that prevents me from recommending it as a serious computing appliance for heavy, major use. But as a surfing device for casual use, I could see it proving to be a useful gadget. At $199, I think you couldn't really ask it to do much more.
To read a more in depth review, go to businessinsider.com and for a more technical (and positive) review, arstechnica.com takes a look at this system you can buy today from Google by clicking here.
Is this something that fits your needs? I don't know, but if it does, the good news is it won't cost much to find out.