Chromebooks are amazing computers. Part of the genius of Google's Chrome OS is its lack of freedom; a seemingly crazy statement, I know. You see, users cannot install software locally, which in turn, also blocks viruses and malware. In other words, limitations become a strength from a security standpoint. However, sometimes the limitations of the OS are not a positive, but a negative.
For business users in particular, using Chrome web apps exclusively is a non-starter. Sure, some small business users can get by, but many large companies rely on specialised software - mostly for Windows. Today, Windows programs come to Chromebooks - sort of. Google announces that Citrix Receiver is coming to Chrome OS. Will this massively disrupt the business market?
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"To offer customers the best end user experience in the industry, Citrix is announcing a new Citrix Receiver for Chrome, which offers Chromebook users the most advanced user experience features in the industry. Although HTML5-based solutions, such as Citrix Receiver for HTML5, will work on Chrome OS and offer browser-based access to virtual apps and desktops without any download or installation of client software, the receiver for Chrome provides direct integration to functionality specific to Chromebooks. These features include the ability to seamlessly integrate with Google Cloud Print, audio and video playback, assignment of a unique Receiver ID to each device for monitoring, seamless Clipboard integration across remote and local applications, end user experience monitoring with HDX Insight and direct SSL connections", says Google.
The search giant further explains, "solution provider partners who are trained to introduce and deploy Chromebooks combined with XenApp and XenDesktop are now operating in regions around the world, and sales momentum continues to grow across vertical markets. In June 2014, the partnership added new joint enterprise customers supporting enterprise workspaces that encompass more than 25,000 Chromebook users. In the past month, Google and Citrix sales teams have partnered with an additional 20 worldwide enterprise accounts that will begin to implement Chromebook deployments with XenApp and XenDesktop over the coming months".
True, you will not be running Windows programs natively; however, companies that utilise Citrix offerings like XenDesktop will be able to empower Chromebook-using employees with access to virtualized solutions. This is an amazing option for road warriors that only need occasional access to specialised software. Hey, even stationary employees using something like a Chromebox can take part too.
While business users with a heavy reliance on Windows software should likely stay on a Windows laptop for now, there are cases where a Chromebook utilising Citrix Receiver for Chrome makes sense. The BYOD crowd in particular will benefit greatly.
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Here's the question though - does this strengthen the value perception of Chromebooks, or lessen it by showing a need for such a solution? Tell me what you think in the comments.