The Chrome that will forever remain unpolished
R.I.P. the dream of running Windows on Chromebooks. It seems an internal Google project to allow Chromebooks to also run Windows has run out of steam
This is a real shame. As compelling as Chromebooks are for most tasks, there are a handful of popular use cases they’re useless at. You probably don’t want to edit videos in a web app, for example. If Google could say ‘these higher-spec Chromebooks also let you run Windows,’ it would help sell them as do-it-all devices.
Of course, the sensible counterargument to this would be ‘if you need to do things ChromeOS can’t do, why not just buy a Windows machine?’ And the latest Chromebooks can dual-boot with Linux, giving users access to things like desktop video editing software and other more specialist software applications.
But then, ‘you can dual-boot with Linux’ would leave the average consumer cold. ‘What does that mean? What’s Linux?,’ they’d say.
So the idea of the Chromebook as a streamlined productivity machine with the ability to run more powerful apps when you need it is likely to remain nothing more than unfulfilled potential for most users.
I was once tempted to make my main machine a Google Pixelbook (the premium Chromebooks Google puts out every couple of years) but not without Windows dual-booting. That certainly won’t be happening now. Google won’t care — it’ll still sell Chromebooks by the barrel load to schools and certain businesses.
But still, I can’t help thinking that there’s a real missed opportunity here.