For many, Chromebooks are a form of computing zen. Gone are the long settings menus, multiple tweaks and insane amounts of legacy programs, replaced by a simple desktop that gives access to Chrome and Chrome-based applications. For those on the other side of the fence, Chromebooks’ inability to run Windows programs is looked at as a blight on an otherwise fairly good OS. Although Google seems keen on bringing the Play Store to Chromebooks in the near future, many users will still be left wanting the Windows programs they’ve used for years and the high-end games their friends are all playing. For many users, the lack of their favorite office programs, games and quirky bits of software from indie developers is enough to keep them away from Chromebooks. A company called NComputing, however, is looking to buck that trend; their new CX110 Chromebook includes a year’s subscription to the company’s virtual Windows desktop program for Chrome OS, called VSpace. As a bit of a boost to the device’s viability in a school setting, a 1 year subscription to learning website Brightstorm is also included.
The new Chromebook is touted as an all-in-one solution, with the simplicity, battery life and ease of use that only a Chromebook could boast, riding side by side with the versatility and utility of a full Windows desktop. Specs-wise, the Chromebook on offer isn’t terribly different from most of its contemporaries, boasting an 11.6 inch matte screen with a 1366×768 resolution, 16GB of internal storage, a fairly ho-hum 1.8 GHz quad-core ARM processor of unnamed origin backed by a somewhat rogue 4GB of RAM, not a spec you would normally find on any computer at this low of a price range, especially a Chromebook. Presumably, the extra RAM is there to help with the virtualization software, though a 2GB model, dubbed the CX100, is also available. A webcam, 3.5mm combo headphone/microphone jack, 2 USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port and a MicroSD slot are also along for the ride. The battery is a 42Wh Li-Po affair, said to be able to power the machine for up to 8.5 hours. Rounding out the package is a nicely spaced chiclet keyboard, resembling those found on most netbooks, and a somewhat large touchpad boasting multi-touch gestures.
The CX110, currently only set to be available in the United States and Canada, will set you back $229 per unit. Pricing has not yet been revealed on the slightly lower-end CX100 model. Through NComputing’s website, you can order a single CX110 unit or an entire fleet of them for your business or school. Interested customers can preorder the unit from the website, with shipping expected to begin in June, at which point the device will also see general availability.