There’s been an interesting push this year by hardware makers to adapt Chromebooks for business use. But HP’s new Chromebook 13 for business borrows a page from its Windows phone strategy in going the extra distance and offering integration capabilities with Microsoft environments.
While I do keep a (Toshiba) Chromebook 13 on hand so I can test software updates and new web apps, most new Chromebook releases receive minimal attention around these parts. But that Microsoft integration bit is … interesting. And familiar.
That is, business customers who are using a Microsoft infrastructure—e.g. “business customers”—can take advantage of an improved Citrix Receiver 2.0 for Chrome extension, which lets you remotely run Windows applications on the HP Chromebook 13 and other Chromebooks. (Check out the full Citrix write-up about this product.)
“You simply use legacy [Windows] and Chrome apps the same way, whether they’re local or remote, in browser tabs or individual windows,” Google explains.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the same thing HP is doing with its Elite x3 smart phone. That device runs on Windows 10 Mobile, which is as incompatible with Windows desktop applications as Chrome OS. So HP is providing a variety of remote desktop solutions that let you run legacy desktop applications on the device. Problem solved, assuming you have such an infrastructure.
The HP Chromebook 13—and, yes, other Chromebooks—also provide direct integration with Active Directory Certificate Services (ADCS). And a coming version of Chrome OS—available now in the Canary ring—even provides support for three or more displays and UDL 3.0 DisplayLink. A Certificate Provider API lets technology partners integrate with smart cards. And IT administrators can even centrally restrict network access for organizations operating in sensitive environments.
In other words, Chrome OS is being adapted for business use. Slowly but surely.
As for the HP Chromebook 13 for business, it appears to be similar to other business-focused Chromebooks from Acer, Dell and others. It features a 13.3-inch 1080p display, Intel processor (Pentium, m3, m5, m7) choices, 4 to 16 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of solid-state storage. It weighs just 2.8 pounds and HP claims battery life of 11 hours.
Pricing, alas, is a bit stiff, given its business focus: The HP Chromebook 13 for business starts at a heady $499 and goes up from there, though that price includes a first year’s $50 management fee. You can preorder it now from the Google Store.