Q&A: The Move to Chrome OS
Since announcing VMware Workspace ONE, powered by VMware AirWatch, is the first unified endpoint management platform to manage Chrome OS devices, we’ve been seeing different ways organizations use Chrome devices. To learn a little more about what it’s like to make the switch to Chrome, I sat down with Bhavesh Kumar, a product manager at VMware End User Computing, to see how he uses his Chromebooks daily.
1. You are currently using a Chrome OS device fulltime, which device do you use and how long have you been using it?
Bhavesh: I have used the Pixelbook fulltime now since last November. Previously, I was using Chromebooks on and off and had a Samsung Chromebook Pro.
2. What made you want to switch to Chrome OS?
Bhavesh: I would say there are multiple reasons why I switched to a Chromebook. One reason is we’ve been studying the Chrome OS market pretty closely, especially as we started ramping up our partnership with Google. It’s always important for us to understand the technology that we are integrating with. From that aspect, I wanted to get to know Chrome OS for my job because I feel like I can build a better product if I fully know the nature of the beast.
The second reason is I was drawn to the Pixelbook’s sleek design. I often go to meetings with Google employees and have always intrigued by the unique designs of their devices—such as the colored lights on the older flagship devices. Since using one myself, it’s proved to be quite the conversation starter.
The third reason I switched to the Pixelbook, is that I’m someone who used to switch between a laptop and tablet throughout the day. I would work on my laptop at my desk and would carry the lightweight tablet to my meetings. With the Pixelbook, I no longer need to carry two devices around with me, which is convenient daily, but especially when traveling! The Pixelbook is so powerful that it made the fulltime switch easy.
3. How do you get access to the apps to do your job? Are you missing any particular apps after switching to Chrome OS?
Bhavesh: I access the apps that I need for work in a few different ways. I have a shortcut to Workspace ONE pinned to my shelf, so accessing my SaaS and virtual apps was never an issue. When I first got my Chromebook Pro, I thought I missed the native experience of the Microsoft Office applications. I would work on my Chromebook for emails, websites and messaging, but if I had to pull up a PowerPoint presentation, I would switch back to my other laptop due to functionality. But, thanks to VDI sessions, I can even easily tap into the full functionality of the Microsoft Office suite from my Chromebook.
Microsoft opened the Office suite of Android apps to Chrome OS devices and I am now able to use these for my editing and composing. Developers have done a good job with making the Android apps feel native on the Chromebook. Most of my app suite now is from the Google Play Store with some web apps here and there.
The only app that I thought I was missing was something really good for product mockups, but I have found good Android apps for that too!
4. What’s your favorite feature on your Chromebook?
Bhavesh: Speed. The number one feature is its speed. No matter what type of app I am using – web, Android, or Chrome Extension – my Chromebook is lightning fast. Always.
Next would be the power. The Chromebook that I use is very powerful and because Chromebooks are browser-based they are not like other laptops in terms of resource allocation. Now, when I have many applications and tabs, my Chromebook doesn’t slow down.
Another feature I like is how my Chromebook is always synced to the cloud. This is beyond convenient having everything backed up in real-time, so I can access documents remotely.
5. What’s your favorite tip, trick or shortcut on your Chromebook?
Bhavesh: My favorite trick I use is creating easy access to my favorite web apps (e.g. Outlook Web Access, Slack, or Gmail). Through Chrome you can pin your most-used apps to your shelf and when you do that, there’s an option to “open as window.” What this does is not only pin the app to your shelf but when you click the app it gets launched into a full-screen window. So there’s no address bar or bookmarks bar. I do this for all my web apps and they really get the native app feel rather than feeling like a browser.
Another shortcut I use often is swiping three fingers up on the trackpad to open a mission control view. This lets me see all my open windows so I can easily go back and forth between tasks.
6. Any words of wisdom for others who may be considering using a Chromebook or other Chrome OS device?
Bhavesh: Of course! Don’t let the thought of migrating be daunting. When migrating, the only thing I had to do was move my work documents to cloud storage. It was a fast, easy and seamless transition.
Chromebooks have an equivalent for everything you are used to on other platforms. If you’re used to an app store, that exists. If you’re used to a virtual assistant, there’s Google Assistant. It has more parallels than you’d think, so it doesn’t take long to get used to the new device.
Chrome OS is such a modern operating system. With everything Chrome offers in terms of speed and security and being cloud-centric, I hope that people are excited about exploring Chrome OS. You’ll end up loving it. And manage your Chrome OS device and deploy apps with Workspace ONE!