In 2020, more Chromebooks were sold than Macs. Though Microsoft still have a commanding lead over its competitors, for the first time since its release Chrome OS was the second-highest selling operating system around the world.
The numbers speak for themselves, developers can no longer ignore Chrome OS and need to ensure that their apps and platforms provide an equally good user experience on Chrome OS as they do on Windows and MacOS. Whether you are an early adopter of
the OS or are considering a switch, in this article we have listed 5 free must have apps for Chromebook that are already available on the Chrome web store that you should definitely install.
What are chromebooks?
A lot of people confuse Chromebooks with budget or entry-level laptops. That is not entire accurate, though they may look the same, Chromebooks are actually very different from conventional Windows-based laptops or two-in-ones as well as MacBooks.
The main difference is that Chromebooks run Google's Chrome OS. When it first launched Chrome OS was essentially Google's Chrome browser with an updated interface that made it look like a desktop most people are familiar with. Since 2011 the OS's functionalities have increased greatly. However, since it is a browser-based OS it relies heavily on internet connectivity. Unlike Windows and macOS that install and run software on your machine, Chromebooks only use Web apps. This means that if you are not connected to the internet or your connection drops, the functionality of your Chromebook will be highly limited.
The upside of this appraoch is that the Chrom OS is very light since it relies primarily on cloud computing and web apps. There is no need for lengthy updates at inconvenient times or long boot times. It's always on and always ready to go. If you are considering purchasing a Chromebook, the first thing you should do is think about what you use your computer for? If you are mostly using web apps like email, google docs, your web browser, etc, then this might be a really good choice for you.
Since Chome OS is so light, it does not need very high specs to deliver good performance. This is why Chromebooks can be priced so low because often the hardware built into these devices is not very high grade.
Google made the smart decision of making the Google Play Store accessible on Chrom OS. The play store has a lot more apps on it as compared to the Chrome web store. Listed below are 5 must have for Chromebooks that you should install when you get your ChromeOS device:
5 Must have Apps for Chromebook
1. For ChromeOS photo editing choose Pixlr
A list of must have apps on Chromebook has to include a photo editing app. Available as a browser based app as well as on the Chrome Web Store, Pixlr is an excellent choice for all your photo editing needs. Whther you want to updates images before adding them on your personal social media or if you are creating graphics for your business. Pixlr has all the tools you need. If provides support for layers, wand masks, and more. There are a lot of tutorials available on YouTube for those who want to learn how to do complex edits an photo manipulations on Pixlr.
2. Awesome screenshot for ChromeOS
ChromOS has a built in feature for screenshots. However, if your work requires you to take a lot of screenshots and provide feedback, then you might want more features. In such a case Awesome screenshot is a great solution. Not only does the app
allow you to quickly capture the screenshots you need, you can also annonate, highlight and add notes from the app as well.
3. Stay up-to-date with Feedly for ChromeOS
Availalbe for free on the Chome Web Store, Feedly is a great app for those who like to be in the know. There is a lot of new and content being churned out everyday on the web. Feedly allows you to filter the noise and create your own custom news feed. This allows you to find out about the latest news, trends, and developments related to the topics you care about. The app also allows you to share articles you care about directly to your social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc.
4. Entertainment apps for ChromeOS
There is no single app that we wanted to highlight in this categoy. Most of the popular streaming services have a ChromeOS compatible app that you can use to stay entertained. Netflix, Spotify, Disney+, and more are available. The streaming services have greatly imporved the offline capabilities of their apps over the past few years. You can download a Netflix movie or episodes of your favourite shows and watch them even if you dont have internet access. With limited device storage, your Chromebook
may not allow you to store a vast library of content for offline acess, but you can easily make it through a long flight or road trip without internet connectivity.
5. PowerDirector for video editing
Chromebooks are not typically meants for resource-heavy tasks. However, there are apps you can use to get the most out of your devices. Powerdirector allows you to edit videos on your device. Optimized for full screen landscape use, the app has a timeline track as well as a a left panel with tools. You probably won't be able to create VFX-style visual effects, but the app is more than enough for simple video editing needs.
When they first came out, there was a lot of skepticism about Chromebooks because of their need to always be connected to the internet. However, most of what we do with our devices today is online. If you are looking to change your device then take some time to truly understand what you need. A Chromebook could be a great solution at a fraction of the price that you would pay for Windows of MacOS device.
1. Feb 21, E. Protalinski, "Chromebooks outsold Macs worldwide in 2020, cutting into Windows market share" [available online] https://www.geekwire.com/2021/chromebooks-outsold-macs-worldwide-2020-cutting-windows-market-share/, [accessed Mar 21]
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