[IMGCAP(1)]Isn’t technology great when you simply push the power button and it’s instantly ready for you to be productive?

If you agree, then you have experienced the euphoria that results from the synergy of human and machine interaction. However, if you disagree, it is most likely due to a kink in the system anywhere between your fingertips and the cloud. Fortunately, Google has introduced a product called the Chromebook that will move us one step closer to seamlessly integrating technology into our lives.

The Chromebook is designed specifically to work with the Cloud environment and will alleviate some of the headaches associated with traditional personal computers, such as crashes, program updates, viruses, outdated hardware, etc. Even though this device may not be ready for enterprise-wide deployments in the accounting industry today, this compact 10-inch laptop has a battery life of over seven hours with built-in WiFi and optional 3G (100 megabytes of free access from Verizon each month) for connectivity to business resources.

This product is a great complement to existing cloud or Citrix clients as a laptop replacement that will reduce the overall cost of ownership by eliminating the variables associated with locally installed operating systems.

Thin-clients have been implemented in Fortune 500 companies since the early 90’s; however, the ROI was recovered only in large-scale deployments of thousands of PCs since the cost of the terminals was rather expensive. The Chromebooks will be available from retail outlets for under $500. Google will be offering a subscription that includes the Chromebook, a Web-based management console and 24/7 support from Google starting at $28 per month for businesses.

[IMGCAP(2)]Even though the upfront cost may seem higher than comparable netbooks or PCs on the market, it is considerably less expensive than an enterprise-class thin-client device. We will be keeping a close eye on the future developments of this product and may potentially see the ability for ubiquitous access of accounting applications for the industry in the near future.

Andy Nguyen is a client development manager at Xcentric, which specializes in cloud computing and IT consulting for CPA firms. As CDM, he works strategically with firms to help position their technology for the future. He can be reached at (678) 297.0066, ext 523 or at info@xcentric.com. For more about Xcentric, go to www.xcentric.com or follow the company at www.xcentric.com/blog and www.twitter.com/xcentric.

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