Google today announced new features and pricing to attract more businesses to Chromebooks. The features focus on improving identity, manageability, virtualization, and performance.
Yet before we dive into those, it’s worth highlighting that enterprises can now purchase Chromebooks for Work features and support through a new subscription plan priced at $50 per device per year. The new option is available in the US and Canada first, “with more regions to follow.”
Here are the features Google has recently pushed out:
- Single sign-on lets you log in with the same credentials and identity provider that you use in the rest of your organization. It uses the SAML standard and works with most of the major identity providers (CA SiteMinder, Microsoft AD FS, Okta, Ping Identity, SecureAuth, SimpleSAMLphp, and so on).
- Multiple sign-in allows you to securely and quickly switch between work and personal accounts on your Chromebook.
- Businesses, schools, and government institutions can now provision Chromebooks with client certificates to access 802.1X EAP-TLS wireless networks and mutual TLS protected web resources. Using the Admin Console, IT admins can pre-configure their secure networks, push certificate management extensions, and pre-select certificates to be used with certain websites and networks.
- IT administrators can use the Admin Console to push a list of bookmarks and many other settings to signed-in workers on all devices.
- Improved virtualization options: Google has tapped its virtualization partners like Citrix and VMware so Chromebooks can do a lot more than just browse the Web.
- Rich graphics experiences: Nvidia and VMware announced technology to speed the delivery of graphics-heavy virtualized applications to Chromebooks, allowing you to seamlessly run 3-D modeling and simulation applications often associated with heavier hardware.
Last but not least, Google now also supports licensing portability, which means if you lose or replace a Chromebook, you can easily apply your existing license to a new device. If your employees sometimes lose or misplace devices, this alone may make the subscription fee worth it.