BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - Well surprise, surprise. As it turns out, the tablet hasn't really replaced the PC. At least not yet. Tablet sales are now slowing down, while PC sales have stopped declining. People are buying PCs again.
Not to say that tablets are a failed device. Unlike smartphones, people who currently own tablets tend to hold on to them longer, and users still land on PCs for productivity and to do real work.
Physical keyboards are still more effective and comfortable than tapping on a virtual keyboard on screen. As much as I enjoy reading and browsing on a tablet, I'd switch to a laptop if I want to get some real work done.
However, tablets have changed the way we use computers today. We consume information and media more than we create stuff.
Even on powerful machines, we don't often use 100 per cent of their power with all that browsing, media streaming or emailing activities.
But thanks to heavy marketing, most people tend to spend a lot of money on powerful hardware they don't need.
If you find yourself spending most of the time on a web browser on your computer, then consider getting a Chromebook machine.
A Chromebook is a laptop running Chrome OS as its operating system. Chrome OS is developed by Google based on its Chrome browser, and it's designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet.
It might sound off-putting at first, but you have to admit, these days we would easily render our computers useless when not connected to Wi-Fi.
Where Chromebooks truly shine is that most applications and data reside in the cloud, so there is no need for large storage. If you lose your Chromebook, you won't lose your data. Just get a new Chromebook and you'll get access to your apps and files again.
Chrome OS is also easy to use, especially for those who know how to get around a tablet. The experience may differ from the traditional Windows or Mac OS X, but its a whole lot simpler.
Chrome is optimised for Google's apps, such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive, and just like on a smartphone or tablet, there are tons of productivity apps on the Chrome web store that will suit your needs.
If you're still worried about not having Word or Excel, don't fret. You can easily access or edit your work files via Google Drive, and there's also Microsoft Web Apps, a free cloud version of Office at your disposal if you must have Microsoft's suite.
The best part is that Chromebooks are generally inexpensive. You can get one for just under $400, about half the price of a decent Windows laptop computer, and just a fraction of the cheapest MacBooks.
There are a lot of Chromebooks from various manufacturers in the market to choose from.
Big name brands such as Acer, Dell, Asus and Samsung have been releasing their own Chromebooks over the recent years with different screen sizes and specifications.
One of the best reviewed Chromebooks right now is the Toshiba Chromebook 2. It has an excellent 13-inch IPS 1080p screen, great OS performance, up to 9 hours of battery life, and a nice feature set including an SD card slot, a fast 802.11ac wireless and great-sounding speakers.
The Toshiba Chromebook 2 also has a sweet price tag of just $330. There's also a $250 non-HD display option.
Chromebooks are definitely good enough for the basic tasks, but it may be limiting to other groups of people such as gamers and those who do professional work (photography, video editing, graphic design, etc).
But for those who are on a tight budget and in need of a laptop computer, the Chromebook is the best option today.
These days, you no longer have to pay up to a thousand dollars for a decent PC. Chromebooks are so affordable especially for college students.
While there are also budget Windows laptops available, Chromebooks are a viable option if you want true cloud computing experience, which is ideally the future of computing.