Chromebooks don’t run Skype, Photoshop, Minecraft and some surprisingly common video CODECs are not supported. But from a mainstream perspective at least they do almost everything else better than PCs. There is a fundamental reason for this – Chromebooks are designed to run as cloud computers not simply computers that sometimes use bits of the cloud.

This often makes them harder to use as legacy devices (opening those video files for instance) but arms them with important advantages for the sort of computing world consumer computing and perhaps even business could be moving towards. In future, this model might also be able to support application streaming of the sort suggested by Adobe. If that comes to pass, Chromebooks will offer a mostly online idea of computing with an offline mode. Today's PC's sell themselves on the opposite notion.  

Zero migration

Because the data, apps, and settings are held in the cloud, users can log into any Chromebook in the world and see the same ‘desktop’.  If they lose their Chromebook or leave it at home, or buy a new machine, migration is as simple as logging into their Google account - voila.

On a PC, all but a few settings are held locally. If a user wants to access their desktop they must have physical access to that PC or log into it remotely while it is turned on. Moving to a new PC requires a tedious migration process in which files, settings and applications are reinstated from scratch. Not surprisingly, cloud applications have become popular with PC users because they because they lighten the load a bit.