If you've been following the market share reports, you know that Chromebooks--portable computers running Google's cloud-centric Chrome OS platform--are starting to succeed, especially in several niche markets such as the education market. Additionally, PCMag.com has a big story out on why Microsoft should be worried about Chromebooks, and Business Insider has argued that Chromebooks are the best hardware choices for many users. The fact is, some new incentives from Google as well as some newfound forms of compatibility with popular applications make Chromebooks more viable than they ever have been.

One reason to look into a Chromebook is that Google has recently extended its end-of-life policy for Chrome OS from four years to five years. This policy, of course, will not only appeal to enterprise users, but also to schools, which are attracted to Chromebooks for their low costs. Schools want to avoid expensive upgrade, support and renewal costs, and Google is wise to woo them by removing such hassles.

For months now, Google has also been pursuing a strategy that allows users of the Chrome browser and Chrome OS to easily find and run "packaged apps." Chrome packaged apps are now available in the Chrome Web Store, and these applications make a Chromebook more appealing now than they were before.
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--jeremy