Chromebooks hit the personal computing market in 2011, and have rapidly gained market share as useful tools for more simple computing tasks. The simplicity of the Chrome operating system and their low cost have made Chromebooks popular as business tools for employees whose work primarily involves simple office applications. Since many businesses have migrated various functions to the cloud, where access often only requires a browser, Chromebooks can be effective devices for collaboration and communication.

Thanks to the growth of web applications, many business computing functions can take place within a browser environment. This includes document editing and sharing and collaborating via team messaging apps such as Slack, Google Hangouts and other web-based platforms. Some people may think that a Chromebook's utility is limited to the Google ecosystem. While it is true that Chromebooks are optimized for use with GSuite, Google Docs, Google Keep, Hangouts and other Google-branded services, many non-native apps and services work well on Chromebooks. 

As these devices become more popular and useful for business purposes, companies may look to incorporate Chromebooks into unified communications platforms. Video chat on Chromebook devices would be a beneficial feature, but is it possible? Let's take a closer look at the features and benefits of Chromebooks to determine their potential role in your organization's unified communications.

Chromebook Basics

Unlike PCs or Macs, a Chromebook is a simple computing environment. By this, we mean that the number of available applications is limited. The Chrome operating system features little more than a web browser. Most of the Chromebook experience involves navigating the Chrome browser, which is not a limitation, but a benefit. Instead of launching applications, users open web apps through various sites.

Chromebooks provide a simple interface. Many computer users find themselves only interacting with a browser for most of their needs, anyway. The growth of cloud computing also has seen the growth of services that are operating system-agnostic, meaning that the services function through almost any browser without needing to run through an operating system. An example of this is Gmail, which does not require an email software package. 

Since Chromebooks are so simple, they are low priced. A full-featured Chromebook can be purchased for as little as $200, although there are options that can take the price closer to $1,000. Google's Pixelbook, for example, is like a Chromebook on steroids, providing a user experience that is close to that of an Apple Macbook. But, for a business looking for inexpensive tools, modestly priced Chromebooks provide everything necessary for most business computing. Recent changes to the Chromebook system are making the devices even more beneficial for business use.

Powering up your Chromebook with Android Apps

Where Chromebooks once were limited, mobile apps now broaden their abilities. Beginning in 2016, versions of the Chrome operating system began supporting Android apps. This means that most mobile apps could now run on Chromebooks. While Chromebooks are growing in popularity for business use, there are many Android users. Android dominates the global smartphone market with more than 80 percent of all smartphone sales worldwide. Integrating Android apps into Chromebooks gives businesses additional productivity tools.

Since many services are available as Android apps through the Google Play store, businesses can turn Chromebooks into fully powered business devices. With Android integration, Chromebook video call functionality is enabled. 8x8's Virtual Office, for example, is a full-featured unified communications solution that incorporates video chat. Since Chromebooks do not run programs, however, there is no Chrome-based application for the company's services. There is, however, an Android app.  

Through the use of the 8x8 Virtual Office app, organizations can bring their communications to the cloud with ease. This app allows users to make secure business calls, but the capabilities go much further, including:

  • Conference calls
  • Business voicemail access from anywhere
  • Click-to-dial with a single touch
  • Ability to send and receive business SMS messages
  • Virtual Office Meetings for collaborative online conferencing with HD video

With Chromebooks, business computing has never been easier or more affordable. Thanks to web access and Android apps, businesses can use Chromebooks to tap into the world of unified communications. With these tools, employees increase productivity and customers benefit from improved communications choices.

Collaboration is key to the success of any business. Easily collaborate from anywhere on any device using the most integrated video and audio conferencing with HD quality and instant screen sharing. Call 1-844-450-3554 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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