Google and its partners have managed to sell a lot of Chromebooks without requiring access to Microsoft's Windows ecosystem. But having that access -- alongside the usual Chrome OS experience -- would allow users to have their computing cake and eat it, too. At least that's what virtualization company NComputing is hoping to achieve with its new Chromebook.
The CX110 is a traditional Chrome-based laptop, but with one key difference: It includes a year's access to the firm's new vSpace Client for Chromebook software, which provides a Windows desktop experience on a Chromebook device via a centralized vSpace Server, which can provide up to 100 virtual desktops.
While the CX110 with vSpace has obvious enterprise appeal, NComputing is focusing its pitch towards schools, which have become the biggest purchaser of Chromebooks. As the company says, many educational applications still rely on technologies like Silverlight, which Chrome doesn't support. Over a million students use the existing vSpace software for Windows, according to NComputing, so school systems can add Chromebooks to existing PCs and retain the same virtualization experience.
As a Chromebook, the CX110 is not one of the most robust of its ilk, using an ARM Cortex-A17 quad-core processor instead of an Intel CPU, although it does include 4GB of RAM (along with the typical 16GB of built-in storage and a 1,366x768 11.6-inch display). In addition to the year-long subscription to vSpace Client for Chromebook, NComputing gives buyers a one-year subscription to video learning site Brightstorm.com.
Despite the free software, the CX110 retains the value pricing that's a hallmark of Chromebooks. It can be pre-ordered starting today for $229, with the laptop becoming available next month.