Ever since it came out, the Chromebook line of ultra-cheap laptop computers has relied heavily on a connection to the Internet. That’s why they were so much cheaper than other laptops. Since all of the apps were Web apps, and your photos and documents were stored in the cloud, manufacturers could keep the Chromebook hardware low-powered and inexpensive. But if you tried to use a Chromebook without an Internet connection, there just wasn’t much you could do. Thanks to a number of recent updates, that’s no longer the case, which means Chromebooks are finally becoming reasonable, budget-friendly replacements for some people’s PC needs.
The march to making Chromebooks usable offline has been slow and steady. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) led the charge by added offline support for its apps, like Google Drive and Gmail, and they’ve been urging developers to do the same. Now there are all kinds of offline-capable apps for Chromebooks, including games, calendars, task lists, photo editors, and more. To make clear the distinction between apps that require an Internet connection and apps that work offline, Google has added an “Offline Apps” section to its Chrome Apps store.
In an interview with PC World, Caesar Sengupta, the vice president of product management for Chromebooks at Google, said, “As the ecosystems evolve, more and more developers are writing apps using Chrome APIs so they work offline. … The platform has evolved and keeps improving. It is an OS that updates every six weeks. It keeps getting better.”