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Definition

Chromebook

Contributor(s): Brita Van Fossen
This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Comprehensive guide to using cheap thin clients for VDI

Google Chromebook is a thin client laptop that is configured with the Chrome operating system (Chrome OS). Because the only software application that Chrome OS can run locally is the Google Chrome browser, a Chromebook is often described as a browser-in-a-box.

Chromebooks are also called "cloudbooks" because the owner's applications, videos, image files and documents are stored remotely on Google virtual servers. Files and software applications are associated with the user's Google account so they can be accessed through a Chrome browser on any computing device. If a Chromebook is lost or destroyed,  the user's data remains secure because it was never stored on the Chromebook.

Chromebook is available in two models, one through Samsung and one through Acer. Both models are 3G or Wi-Fi-compatible. 

Chromebook features include:

  • An eight-second boot time, which goes directly to the browser without any desktop or background.
  • Chrome OS.
  • Video Graphics Array (VGA) port for connecting an external monitor.
  • Instant resume from sleep.
  • Reported battery life up to 8.5 hours.
  • A 40% brighter screen than those of conventional laptops.
  • Automatic updates.
  • One high speed USB port
  • Built-in secure Secure Digital/Secure Digital High Capacity (SD/SDHC) memory card reader
  • A keyboard tailored for Internet browsing
  • One audio jack

See a Chromebook demonstration:

The Chromebook is available for purchase through Amazon and Best Buy retailers. There is also a subscription option for business and school use, which includes a Chromebook, warranty, support, routine hardware refreshes and cloud management for a monthly fee.

The first Chromebooks were released in June 2011. At the Black Hat 2011security conference in August, Matt Johansen and Kyle Osborn of WhiteHat Security demonstrated how cybercriminals could target cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities to circumvent Chromebook security. 

See also: cloud computing,  tablet PC

Continue reading about Chromebook:

 > Google's Chromebook home page

 > Google Chrome OS vs. Chromium OS: Understanding the difference

Chromebook security in question due to flawed Google Chrome extensions

 > A new kind of computer: Chromebook

This was last updated in December 2011

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