It’s not just a Windows-or-Mac world anymore. Many people find that, what they used to do on the computer, can now be done on a phone, tablet, or Chrome device. Familiarity with phones and tablets is improving, so this article will focus on the lesser-known “Chrome devices”, which include the ChromeBook, ChromeBox, ChromeCast, and ChromeCast Audio.
If you connect a computer to a TV just to stream music, pictures, or videos, you might consider using a (more affordable) Chrome device. For example, a ChromeCast does all those things (called “casting”) for only $45. If you are just looking to cast your music to your stereo, a ChromeCast Audio does that very nicely for the same price.
Note: Casting may sound like a trivial thing, but (IMHO) it will transform how we watch and listen to media content. Your phone/tablet can store/retrieve all the content, while your TV/stereo can play it back, all the while using your phone/tablet like the ultimate remote control.
If you want to do a bit more, like visiting websites, checking email, or editing Word/Excel files, you can connect a ChromeBox to a TV or monitor for the fraction of the price of a computer.
If you want to take those features with you on-the-go, well then, there’s the ChromeBook, a portable version of the ChromeBox.
I’m writing this article on a ChromeBook. Just like laptops, they come in a variety of sizes, some with touchscreens and some without. A quick look at the list of the (dozens of) preloaded apps tells me I can: browse the ‘net, search the ‘net, email, Word/Excel, YouTube, map, calendar, play music/movies, read books, access local drives or your GoogleDrive. Looking at the “Web Store”, I see hundreds more choices. All this for half the price of a similar-looking laptop.
And if there are times when you absolutely need a Windows or Mac computer, you can setup and use one of the available remote access apps to connect remotely to one. Unfortunately, software licensing doesn’t allow paid services to sell you remote time on a computer, but there’s usually a way to connect to one of your own computers (perfectly legal) using Chrome Remote Desktop or similar.
I encourage you to check your local computer shop to see these devices first-hand.