Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th May 2014 20:54 UTC
Google

If you haven't picked up a Chromebook just yet, you might want to wait a little longer. Intel has just announced plans to roll out as many as 20 new Chromebooks by the latter half of this year. This new set will be thinner, lighter, more powerful and generally more diverse in terms of design. It's clear that Google is making a play for the mainstream.

I applaud any efforts to get people to buy new platforms, but in all honesty, I've yet to see a Chromebook in the wild - in fact, I don't even think I've ever even seen one in a store. Granted, I live in a small country nobody cares about, and the uptake of non-Windows platforms in desktops and laptops has always been pretty abysmal here, but you'd think you'd see more of these things.

What is the current state of Chrome OS? Owners, do you use it every day? What do you miss in a Chromebook that a traditional Linux/Windows/OS X laptop does offer?

Order by: Score:
A solution searching for a problem.
by moondevil on Tue 6th May 2014 21:10 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

As a consultant I travel quite a bit around Europe and am yet to see anyone using one.

Since a few months there are available on Saturn and Mediamarket in Germany, but I haven't seen anyone even playing around with them at the stores.

As devices they are more castrated than tablets as they lack proper support for real native apps that people want to use. And HTML 5 offline support is a joke anyway, when comparing with what tablets or GNU/Linux netbooks (lots of online shops offer them) can offer.

As for the people getting them to wipe ChromeOS and install a GNU/Linux distribution, it is no different than buying a Windows/Mac OS X system.

So I don't get how they are selling so much in the USA, as the press keeps stating.

Reply Score: 3

Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

So I don't get how they are selling so much in the USA, as the press keeps stating.

There I'm "copying and pasting" some comments from other people that months ago tried to answer it (I don't try to answer it, because I haven't used a Chromebook, and nowadays I don't plan to buy one :-) because I find them too limited ):

A chromebook has been the best selling laptop on Amazon for over a year. A $200 machine that does everything 80%+ of the general population needs, is there any real surprise that it's so popular? I've purchased one for most of my family members and they still use them.

ChromeOS/Chromebooks have come a long way and 2014 will be extremely good for the chromebook with the upcoming new lenovo/samsung/asus chromebooks.

I think it's interesting how fast tech-savvy users forget that most users just want to browse random websites, send emails, and maybe edit a few documents. These people make up a MASSIVE majority of the market share, and chromebooks do what they need. Chromebooks are essentially Mac "it just werks" on a new level.

Geeks are not exactly the vast majority here. Let's face it, we're actually a MINORITY when it comes to computing. Getting Chromebooks for the mom/pop/younger siblings out there is exactly what Chromebooks are good at and it also happens to be a very, very large market.

Chromebooks aren't for geeks, they're what you buy for your Mom/Dad/kids/salespeople so you don't have to play tech support because they can't be screwed up like a Windows laptop can.

They are making great inroads into educational and some business markets for the same reasons, low acquisition and support costs.


Edited 2014-05-06 22:00 UTC

Reply Score: 4

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

There is already a generation of people raised with the expectation of 24/7 connectivity. And for things like school districts, collaborative environments, light personal use/consumption of content, etc... these things sort of make sense.

It's not my personal cup of tea. But just because I'm not the intended target for a product, it does not necessarily mean there is not a market for it.

Also, chromebooks are an attractive proposal for HW manufacturers, given the current state of the desktop/PC market.

Edited 2014-05-06 22:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

There is already a generation of people raised with the expectation of 24/7 connectivity.


Which isn't there when you travel outside big cities.

Plus those people are anyway better served with tablets than a 300€ browser.

Reply Score: 2

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17


Which isn't there when you travel outside big cities.


Unless your "consulting" gig involved traveling to every place on earth, you could be simply using a very partial, biased, and grossly minuscule data set to define a whole market.

Besides, the majority of the population in developed countries tend to live in urban areas.


Plus those people are anyway better served with tablets than a 300€ browser.


And it's up to consumers to make that decision. These products most definitively not meet my needs, but I'm keenly aware my needs are probably non representative of the whole market.

Reply Score: 2

TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

"
Which isn't there when you travel outside big cities.


Unless your "consulting" gig involved traveling to every place on earth, you could be simply using a very partial, biased, and grossly minuscule data set to define a whole market.

Besides, the majority of the population in developed countries tend to live in urban areas.
"

Having travelled even moderately, it's not even there.

Sure, you can have cell service in any urban area; and yes, you get away from urban areas and cell service goes to zero.

But even then, having cell service doesn't guarantee connectivity, especially as Chrome devices tend to not have Cell Modems built-in, and WiFi service is not so readily available in easy to use manners.

"
Plus those people are anyway better served with tablets than a 300€ browser.


And it's up to consumers to make that decision. These products most definitively not meet my needs, but I'm keenly aware my needs are probably non representative of the whole market.
"

Agreed.

Reply Score: 3

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17



But even then, having cell service doesn't guarantee connectivity, especially as Chrome devices tend to not have Cell Modems built-in, and WiFi service is not so readily available in easy to use manners.


Same thing could be said about Tablets, or even Laptops. Very few people, in the developed world, buy a consumer computing device with the expectation of nil network connectivity nowadays.

My biggest issue with Chromebooks aren't technological concerns per se (most of which are resolved by now) but Google themselves (who are starting to creep me out).

Reply Score: 3

TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

"

But even then, having cell service doesn't guarantee connectivity, especially as Chrome devices tend to not have Cell Modems built-in, and WiFi service is not so readily available in easy to use manners.


Same thing could be said about Tablets, or even Laptops. Very few people, in the developed world, buy a consumer computing device with the expectation of nil network connectivity nowadays.
"

It's not that connectivity isn't available in the devices if you want it - and want to spend $100 more (typically) for the cell modem to be part of it.

It's just the nature of the cell networks - even in the developed world - they simply do not and cannot cover everything or be everywhere.

My biggest issue with Chromebooks aren't technological concerns per se (most of which are resolved by now) but Google themselves (who are starting to creep me out).


As I said in another thread, my only real issue with Chromebooks is the size of the disk drive, which is small as Google expects you to put nearly everything in the Cloud.

Right now I work for one of the big Cloud Companies (Rackspace), and I certainly do find Cloud functionality useful, but I would in no way rely on Cloud for everything - that's just not my nature as I prefer to have more control so I like having local resources which are augmented by Cloud. This philosophy just makes the base assumption behind a Chromebook invalid for me.

Reply Score: 2

tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

I still don't understand the hate on this site for chromebooks. Like you said, they are great for education and small businesses. Far simpler to maintain and faster for the same money than a windows machine. My son's school uses them, a much better use of resources than buying $600 ipads AND $1200 imacs like many schools do. I recently picked up the 14" HP model(haswell). It's fast, has a special restricted user mode for my kids and even comes with free 200MB of T-mobile 4g. I've been desperately trying to get my Dad to get a Chromebox. It's too hard to try and troubleshoot and maintain his Linux box over the phone. For $180 it has basically no competition.

Reply Score: 4

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

Chromebooks are pretty much what i ended up using my Asus 901 for.

Reply Score: 2

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

There is one serious difference with getting a Chromebook and wiping it, no Windows tax.

Unless you go through the song and dance to get the Windows License returned, your computer is registered as a sale by MS accounting.

Another thing is that there is a higher probability of it "just working" with a distro than a random Windows box (Foxconn ACPI anyone?).

Reply Score: 1

TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

As for the people getting them to wipe ChromeOS and install a GNU/Linux distribution, it is no different than buying a Windows/Mac OS X system.


Aside from the side of the built-in disk drive, yes.

One of the only reasons I haven't picked up a Chromebook is due to the pitiful size of its disk drive; otherwise yes, I'd agree it's a great way to avoid the Windows Tax.

Reply Score: 1

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

The only thing I'm annoyed by is the keyboard layout is different from a normal keyboard.

Reply Score: 2

Everyday use and consulting
by xeoron on Tue 6th May 2014 22:00 UTC
xeoron
Member since:
2007-03-25

Mine is over a year old and for 59 bucks (I had a gift card), I am very happy with how it works. Though, I wish they would make it easier to setup dual booting into Linux or sell them with that feature.

I use mine everyday to do regular web-stuff in the living room. I, also, use it as a loner when fixing peoples computers (knowing they can't mess up the software even on the guest account) or I use it in the field as a means to look things up on a larger screen that is not my phone, as well as download files and programs to load onto other systems. People that try my Chromebook often want one for themselves and ask how to get one, especially after hearing the price ranges. I find people over 40 seem to love it anyone below that age group it goes other way, hate or love.

Reply Score: 4

Will they support internal disk storage?
by MadRat on Tue 6th May 2014 22:10 UTC
MadRat
Member since:
2006-02-17

In all honesty the Chromebook looks slick and doesn't seem to lack too much. I just cannot fathom a laptop that won't allow me to store it local. I don't want the cloud. Nobody I know wants the cloud. The cloud is a solution nobody wants.

I can see Android replacing simpler forms of Microsoft OS versions. I just don't see it happening until it looks like Windows 98 or newer versions in some way. People need a desktop. They want a task manager. They want multiple programs that standalone from the internet. And they want a file folder system. People want simple but to retain control.

Basically everything developers do not want them to have.

Without internal storage that matches other laptops, in the 500GB plus range, I don't see me ever using a Chromebook. I don't really care if it uses ext3 or some other open file system. It doesn't have to use exFAT or NTFS. But I want my old Windows files able to seamlessly copy over to it for my usage.

Reply Score: 6

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

In all honesty the Chromebook looks slick and doesn't seem to lack too much. I just cannot fathom a laptop that won't allow me to store it local. I don't want the cloud. Nobody I know wants the cloud. The cloud is a solution nobody wants.


Except companies who have been lured into the realm of "leave it to someone else" by the typical parasites offering "solutions". Later on, people will want to have at home what they know from work (which is also the reason why some many people run pirated copies of "Office" at home even though they don't use 1% of its functionality, still they insist they "need" it). Being able to share data among many devices (home PC, laptop, smartphone etc.) is said to be "the easiest thing" when you use the cloud.

Don't get me wrong: I prefer to keep ownership and control over my data. But that's nothing home consumers are basically interested in.

I can see Android replacing simpler forms of Microsoft OS versions. I just don't see it happening until it looks like Windows 98 or newer versions in some way.


A simplified and limited windowing paradigm (as it is present in "Windows") would probably appeal to potential users, together with commonly known captions for icons.

People need a desktop.


They want a desktop (as a means to start programs and "organize" files). This is basically what things like a dock and a file manager will do. But when you don't have local storage, what would you need a file manager for? Additionally, organizing files is something "normal" people aren't particularly good at. In combination with the Chromebook concept, having them use a search interface (like "google for my files") could be a solution. So they don't have to understand how hierarchies work, what file names are, and how to tell the difference from a file and the program it will be opened with. Bringing the "WWW metaphor" to the desktop could make potential buyers believe that this is what they want - and need.

They want a task manager.


Really? (Honest question!) I've never meet anyone who wanted a task manager. Actually, I only know few people who know what a task manager is.

They want multiple programs that standalone from the internet.


True. But again, the transition of "my local desktop" to "with the web browser into the cloud" could change this. It's even becoming present in MICROS~1 land which has long been an advocate of "local only" concepts both for files and programs (a typical disadvantage of PCs, especially problematic in office-like environments).

On the other hand, many GUIs (even "Windows 8" with its "Modern" interface) seems to favour a single-computer single-person single-program single-window concept, just like apps commonly found on smartphones. Add "subscription required" and "cloud storage" and you have what marketing currently is trying to make people believe in.

And they want a file folder system.


Some of them want, but probably typical home consumers do not care. Organizing files with a hierarchical concept is more common in professional contexts, usually among those who create (like programmers, designers, musicians or engineers).

People want simple but to retain control.


That is quite a problem, because "control" is not a trivial concept (or, to be more precise, the means to exercise control require knowledge and experience). It's hard (but not impossible) to combine this with "simple" without dumbing down things so much that they become unsuitable for their initial purpose.

Basically everything developers do not want them to have.


Probably because developers will be held responsible for dealing with persons who fail to meet the criteria I've just mentioned. So "dumbing down" things has almonst become an industry standard, because it stops people from doing stupid things (and, by that limitation, also stops them from doing clever things, but that's not in the scope of the intended target group anyway).

Without internal storage that matches other laptops, in the 500GB plus range, I don't see me ever using a Chromebook.


I fully agree. Storage could be a common 2.5" SSD, and external connections (not just wireless or wired network, but also USB) should be present to transfer data in or out.

I don't really care if it uses ext3 or some other open file system. It doesn't have to use exFAT or NTFS.


Not a big problem, as IT forensics can deal with them just fine. :-)

But I want my old Windows files able to seamlessly copy over to it for my usage.


That might be a problem when the programs which are required to open those files are not offered, either as locally installed native applications or via "web access"...

Reply Score: 3

Saw my first last weekend
by ameasures on Tue 6th May 2014 22:13 UTC
ameasures
Member since:
2006-01-09

Had they been available 5 years ago; I would have bought one instead of the netbook (AOA150) I did get. Frankly if it fills a role, why not.

Could have taken my MacBookPro on that long haul trip but I preferred to have a lightweight that wouldn't stress me out if it were dropped by my kids or stolen.

Laptops and tablets are becoming the modern equivalent of the old VT100 terminals anyway - much of the time. The web browser replaces telnet and looks better - plus ca change.

My guess is that "silver surfers" amongst others will take to something like this. Whether it take significant market share is hard to guess. Alongside Android and Linux: it could quietly gain market share.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Saw my first last weekend
by SeanParsons on Wed 7th May 2014 01:41 UTC in reply to "Saw my first last weekend"
SeanParsons Member since:
2011-01-11

I feel like I see them a lot here in Pittsburgh. I see them in all the computer stores, a couple of my friends use them, and one my friends has a teen age daughter and all her classmates are issued Chromebooks. I even bought one last year to replace my grandfather's old xp box. He is 92 and seems quite comfortable doing everything on his Chromebook.

They are fast, cheap, reliable (provided you have WiFi access), and hard to screw up. I am not surprised they are so common now.

Reply Score: 3

In Stores, but not in the wild
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 6th May 2014 22:24 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

In the wild of coffee shops and fast service resteraunts ( Mc donalds, starbucks, pannera), I see close to 80% Macs. I'm guessing I live in a non representative area.

Reply Score: 2

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

I see 3 option:

1. artists working on their latest "masterpiece"

2. marketing working on their latest contract

3. web monkeys hammering out the latest social networking site.

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I wonder what it means that I never see Apples in Mc Donalds.

Maybe the artists don't appreciate McCafé?

Reply Score: 3

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Tue 6th May 2014 23:04 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

I've seen one in a store, but I've never seen one used by anyone around me.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by shmerl
by Morgan on Wed 7th May 2014 11:07 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I think one factor in this phenomenon is that (depending on the specific store) sales clerks are either not trained how to sell a Chromebook, or are trained to not sell a Chromebook. I've seen the latter in stores like Best Buy and MicroCenter, where they have beautiful Mac laptops on display, but the sales rep inevitably steers the customer towards the cheaper Windows laptops where the margins are higher for the store itself.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by hobgoblin on Wed 7th May 2014 14:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

Iirc, usually the margins are not on the computer.

Instead they are on the "accessories". The boxed software, the cables, anything of that nature.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by shmerl
by Morgan on Wed 7th May 2014 14:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by shmerl"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

In my limited experience as a retail clerk selling computers (granted, that was many years ago), your average craptastic Windows laptop will have a margin of about $50 to $100 for the retailer. A Mac laptop, on the other hand, nets the retailer about $5 to $10. Macs exist in retail stores purely as window dressing to get customers in the door.

As for the Chromebooks, I don't have any experience selling them but I would imagine the margins are also pretty low, given the already low retail price of the device vs the quality of hardware alone.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by shmerl
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 7th May 2014 18:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by shmerl"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

In my friends experience working at best buy, the real money was in the extended warantees. Those had absurd margins.

Even now, last time I bought a laptop at retail. The sales guy went so far as to suggest that I purposefully break the computer shortly before the warantee expiration to get a new computer.

Reply Score: 3

Me!
by zizban on Tue 6th May 2014 23:40 UTC
zizban
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have had a Samsung Chromebook for a year and I love it. I use it mainly for writing at doctor's appointments or anytime I have to wait. Offline support is good and getting better. Anyone who thinks offline support is a joke hasn't tried it recently. I work in a remote area and I use the offline mode a a lot. There are many apps including Docs, that work in offline mode just fine.

My Chromebook has a physical keyboard and that's what makes it for me. I need that and no tablet can replace that.

You can also do all the mindless things you would with your phone: Facebook, web surfing, etc. Mine cost $200 US. Cheap.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Me!
by Morgan on Wed 7th May 2014 11:10 UTC in reply to "Me!"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

My Chromebook has a physical keyboard and that's what makes it for me. I need that and no tablet can replace that.


I would bring up the Asus Transformer line of tablets with detachable "real" keyboards, but for the abysmal performance of the OS on those. The hardware is beautiful, the keyboard is great, and the combined battery life when the tablet is attached is out of this world. But Android on those machines just limps and stutters like a drunken sailor.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Me!
by moondevil on Wed 7th May 2014 11:34 UTC in reply to "Me!"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

My Chromebook has a physical keyboard and that's what makes it for me. I need that and no tablet can replace that.


There all piles of keyboards for tablets to choose from.

Not to mention that tablets are way more functional than a 300€ browser.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Me!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 7th May 2014 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Me!"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

There are piles of keyboards for tablets ... and none of them I've tried are any good.

Which is why I use an Ultrabook rather than tablet or chromebook. But that's also at least twice the price.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Me!
by moondevil on Wed 7th May 2014 19:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Me!"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

I share your opinion, specially since I do coding on the go.

What I don't see is a Chromebook having any value, specially given the more functionality of tablets.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by thegman
by thegman on Wed 7th May 2014 00:47 UTC
thegman
Member since:
2007-01-30

I live in Melbourne, Australia, and can go into many shops in and outside the city and see Chromebooks. They're well priced and quite attractive things. I also used to own one of the first Samsung ones.

The OS is nice, probably richer than I expected, I think utility is comparable to a tablet of some kind. Obviously a tablet can run apps, but I don't know of any apps that I use and like which cannot be replicated by a web site.

I liked my Chromebook, but I wouldn't buy again. Why?

Well, I'd rather have a Mac or a PC. The big reasons are...

Programming.
Sound server access, i.e. good SSH, SFTP, FTP, 5250.
Run a server if I want to (just a quick HTTPd to test something).

However, I think if I was to recommend a simple computer for those who struggle technically, I think I'd be more likely to recommend a Chromebook over an Android tablet, just for the keyboard and the simplicity. Over an iPad is a bit different, and would depend on the user.

So, yes, I see them everywhere, I kind of like them, but not enough to get one again.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by thegman
by earth_worker on Wed 7th May 2014 01:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by thegman"
earth_worker Member since:
2014-01-21

I see them in Perth stores too. Only seen a couple actually being used by people, but you don't see many laptops out in public these days anyway.

Reply Score: 2

not for me...
by Moochman on Wed 7th May 2014 02:04 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

The reason Chromebooks are popular is because they are cheap, low-maintenance and simple to use. But the always-connected and cloud-storage requirements are deal-breakers, as is the seriously limited selection of "apps". I would never recommend a Chromebook to anyone, except maybe a completely computer-dislexic 94-year old relative who I knew would never use his computer outside of his broadband/wireless-connected house. The fact is that there are more than enough Windows laptops out there that can compete on cost and offer comparable performance, and increasingly they even offer touchscreens. 300-dollar Windows laptops with touchscreens, touch-optimized Office, and heaping servings of "real" apps and games are around the corner, and to me that sounds like a far more enticing offer than anything a Chromebook could ever provide.

Edited 2014-05-07 02:07 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Bought one last year.
by leos on Wed 7th May 2014 02:22 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

Thinking that instead of a tablet a cheap device with a laptop keyboard would be more useful. Well I haven't touched it in 4 months.

Doesn't run any apps so aside from the web it's totally useless.
My phone is a better web browser and significantly faster.
It's useless for work since Google Docs is miserably inadequate and I can't run Teamviewer for remote desktop (and chrome remote desktop doesn't work).
I'm no longer interested into putting all my data into Google's hands.
For a while it was used only for Netflix, but now not even that.

Wouldn't work for my parents either. The iPad is much better for them, and they still need their computer to do the occasional spreadsheet and word doc.

Reply Score: 4

A great idea...five years ago
by unclefester on Wed 7th May 2014 02:35 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

A great idea in theory. However the Chromebook probably arrived five years too late to make a serious impact.

Reply Score: 2

RE: A great idea...five years ago
by thegman on Thu 8th May 2014 05:07 UTC in reply to "A great idea...five years ago"
thegman Member since:
2007-01-30

I'd probably say the opposite, I think the Chromebook is a terrible idea in theory, but in reality, it's catching on fairly well.

Why terrible? Well, other than price, there is just no reason to get one over a Mac or PC. They are simpler of course, but you pay through the nose for the simplicity with an incredible lack of functionality.

I do sort of like them, but price really is the only advantage over a PC or Mac.

Reply Score: 2

A Surprising Success, IMHO
by benali72 on Wed 7th May 2014 04:14 UTC
benali72
Member since:
2008-05-03

Given Google's attitude that it owns your data and everything you do, I can't imagine businesses trusting their private operations to laptops you that require you to log into Google to use.

Instead of Chromebooks they should have called them Googlebooks. Then maybe some of these folks would understand what they're giving away.

Reply Score: 2

Would love to have one
by ozonehole on Wed 7th May 2014 04:49 UTC
ozonehole
Member since:
2006-01-07

A good friend of mine has a Samsung Chromebook and has allowed me to play with it. I think it's great, and would love to have one, but they aren't sold here in Taiwan. Amazon won't ship them abroad either. My friend bought his in Europe, and next time I have a trustworthy friend coming to visit me from the USA or Europe, I will ask him/her to bring me one.

There are several reasons why I find these machines very appealing, outside of the low price. First, small size and light weight. Second, you don't have to pay the "Microsoft tax." Third, and maybe most importantly, long battery life (about 10 hours).

By the way, my friend installed Linux on his, so has the full functionality of a laptop. Unfortunately, you do have to first boot ChromeOS and then switch to Linux, which is more awkward than a direct dual-boot setup. However, he does find ChromeOS to be perfectly adequate when he's just doing online things like email, blogging, reading news, etc.

While local storage is a good thing, I find that fully 90% of what I do is online anyway, so if I was using a Chromebook for serious work, I could probably get by with booting Linux only occasionally.

I definitely need a keyboard to get serious work done, so I am not satisfied with a tablet. A Chromebook looks to me like a very appealing compromise when I need portability. When I'm doing more graphic intensive work like photo editing and web site design, I really need my desktop.

Reply Score: 3

I'm using one now...
by duraaraa on Wed 7th May 2014 05:12 UTC
duraaraa
Member since:
2012-03-31

I have one, as well as a Macbook Pro and a Thinkpad W Series. I use the chromebook the most. I have crouton to allow me to switch back and forth with an ubuntu chroot, so I can basically do anything any other laptop can do. With haswell it has good graphics performance and battery life, and it cost all of $150. I'm really, really happy with it and think everyone should get one, so long as they are comfortable enough with linux to use crouton.

Reply Score: 3

Linux
by crhylove on Wed 7th May 2014 05:24 UTC
crhylove
Member since:
2010-04-10

If I Can install a real OS, then sure!

Reply Score: 0

I'm sure i'll get hatemail for this.
by p13. on Wed 7th May 2014 06:33 UTC
p13.
Member since:
2005-07-10

Don't want to offend anyone stuck with their head in the cloud, but ...

IMHO, chromebooks are just handicapped notebooks.
They have no reason for being, IMHO of course.

Anything they offer can be replicated quite easily with just about every other bit of hardware. All it does is boot into a browser.

You buy hardware that is capable of doing pretty much anything a "big" notebook can, and then you voluntarily restrict yourself to booting it into a browser, and some very limited side functionality. Useless.

I have yet to see one in the wild here in Belgium, or rather, used for it's intended purpose. People just buy them to hack linux onto them (much easier now with crouton, although that's just a chroot).

I don't see the point, really ... That is to say, other than them being a platform for tying you into google's services.

Edited 2014-05-07 06:34 UTC

Reply Score: 3

They're huge in the US.
by tidux on Wed 7th May 2014 06:34 UTC
tidux
Member since:
2011-08-13

Chromebooks have been sitting at the top of Amazon's best-selling laptop charts for a year now. They're popular with travelers because the laptop itself is basically stateless. Save your important stuff to Google Drive, and it no longer matters if your kid spills their juice all over it, or it gets lost or stolen in transit - just get another cheap Chromebook and log in, all your stuff is right there.

I've heard similar arguments about hardware replacement for why Apple laptops were popular among travelers. Over the last year, I've noticed Chromebooks take over a large percentage of laptops I've seen people use at airports, along with Thinkpads and Macbooks.

Full disclosure: I have an Acer C720 dual booting Chrome OS and Kubuntu 14.04. I use Chrome OS more often than not on it because 95% of what I use a small laptop for is SSH (recommended Free Software apps for ChromeOS: Secure Shell and mosh), media streaming, and web browsing, but it's nice to have a more full featured Linux distro available if I need to do serious work on a local machine.

Edited 2014-05-07 06:35 UTC

Reply Score: 4

blue_fox
Member since:
2012-04-17

I bought my son a Samsung ARM based Chromebook for use in his final year at university and I'm convinced a more limited machine (read: no Valve Steam) helped him graduate with a degree.

Later on I inherited it and used it regularly for a couple of months. I was close to springing for a Acer C720 with a Haswell chip, since as many have already pointed out, this is a inexpensive dual purpose device: Chrome OS for the run of the mill stuff and an intel based linux via chrubuntu or similar for anything else.

What held me back ? Reliability of the software. Despite being "just" a browser on top of a linux base, the reliability of Chrome OS was for me extremely poor. I had crashes / browser restarts / the occasional hard lock requiring a power recycle and the frequency of the browser crash / restart was very high. Sometimes once every 20 minutes. Although the restart time on the ARM device was super quick (say 6-7s) this is still not acceptable for a consumer device.

Maybe I was unlucky and had a bad device ? Anyhow, I bought an iPad Air which hasn't crashed once and fulfills my current needs. I might get an old TP X220 for dicking around with Linux.

So, Chrome OS promised much and was nice to use, but I was left with a question mark over whether I would bother in future based on this one bad experience. I don't doubt it's going to be a success though, something which to me looked really unlikely when Chrome OS was first announced.

Edited 2014-05-07 07:23 UTC

Reply Score: 4

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

You picked a bad model of Chromebook, and got a defective unit, so instead of exchanging it for a properly functioning version you got an iPad? That makes no sense.

Reply Score: 1

Best computer I've owned
by krackersk on Wed 7th May 2014 07:39 UTC
krackersk
Member since:
2009-10-03

I bought one as a second computer (my netbook recently died on me) about 3 months ago. It is now the only computer I use. It forces me to do everything on the web, which means that everything I do is now collaborative. This has really changed the way I work. I do run crouton with elementaryos but I found I only use it to run KeepassX to store my passwords. Everything else I've found an alternative for. If I don't have wireless I just tether my phone.

It's also actually the first mobile computer that actually makes sense: small, light, long battery life.

Another interesting thing about them is they are really the first throw away computer. Like another model? Just buy it because the are super cheap and like a phone all the apps are downloaded to a new one when you log in, almost no setup time. My upgrade cycle will be about a year now rather than the 4 years I used to keep my laptops for.

Reply Score: 3

ChromeBook != laptop or Netbook
by pica on Wed 7th May 2014 09:57 UTC
pica
Member since:
2005-07-10

While laptop and a Netbook is an autarkic computer providing
* own storage,
* own compute power,
* own user IO,
*...
a ChromeBook is a mere web terminal. That is the ChromeBook's main advantage. A ChromeBook beside the user profiles does not contain a state. It is an almost stateless device.

A stateless device
* is easely replaced
* requires no backup
* does not give confidential data to a third parties if it gets stolen

But it is also the ChromeBook's main weakness. It is not autarkic. A ChromeBook depends on a infrastructure.

Greetings,
pica

Reply Score: 3

Love my chromebook
by jstead on Wed 7th May 2014 13:01 UTC
jstead
Member since:
2014-05-07

I use it more than any other computer.
The things I like better are fast boot, no administration, just works.

The only thing that I miss is being able to download torrents (I think you can do that now too, but I haven't done it).

I knew I wasn't going to be able to install games, or play movies from a DVD. I didn't buy it for that.

I bought it so I could connect to the internet, get email, get documents, take notes surf the web, do my finances, wherever I was (you can almost always get connected, especially with a mobile hotspot phone). If I couldn't get connected, there was little I would be doing if I was running linux or that other OS.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by helf
by helf on Wed 7th May 2014 14:26 UTC
helf
Member since:
2005-07-06

A worker of mine's girlfriend has a chromebook that she has used all through college for note taking and similar tasks. She has had no problems with it and it has taken a lot of abuse fine. I used it for a little while and it drove me insane, but I can definitely see their use.

Reply Score: 3

half assed
by FunkyELF on Wed 7th May 2014 17:45 UTC
FunkyELF
Member since:
2006-07-26

They need to either go all out or let it die like Google Wave.

ChromeOS is seriously crippled.
Nobody wants to write an application using JavaScript / HTML / CSS etc.

How big of an undertaking was Google Docs and it isn't as nice as LibreOffice.

You will never see an application GIMP or Audacity running on ChromeOS.

Reply Score: 3

They are nice
by nadiasvertex on Wed 7th May 2014 18:15 UTC
nadiasvertex
Member since:
2006-07-11

I have a Chromebook, development hardware from the initial rollout. The device is great. I don't use it every day, and it's not powerful enough for developing code (which is what I do.)

However, it is very nice when I need to do something that my tablet is not powerful enough (or convenient enough) for, and when my laptop would be overkill.

For example, I use it for a lot of document editing. Sometimes I use it to look at websites that don't have a good mobile alternative.

Reply Score: 2

Original Cr-48
by cpuobsessed on Wed 7th May 2014 18:19 UTC
cpuobsessed
Member since:
2009-06-09

I have one of the original test devices, Cr-48. I still grab it when I need to do something quick either locally on my server or just getting online to check something. It's a bit beat up but still works, still gets updates, and still runs the latest version of ChromeOS.

Reply Score: 2

Service manuals
by ClockworkZombie on Wed 7th May 2014 21:42 UTC
ClockworkZombie
Member since:
2012-12-12

I repair computers and the vendor now insists I login to their website to access service manuals instead of downloading PDFs.

This policy is because people were uploading the manuals to file sharing sites.

I purchased a 14" HP Chromebook and it is excellent for this purpose, the bigger screen is better than an iPad even if the screen quality is not as good. Older eyes need bigger screens. ;)

I planned to copy all my PDF service manuals to the Chromebook andthe only thing I miss from it is when opening a PDF bookmarks are not yet recognised.

Edit

I use this 3 -5 times per week.

If I could remove my dependance on iTunes and perhaps photoshop elements I would not need anything else.

Edited 2014-05-07 21:51 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Garage
by Kancept on Thu 8th May 2014 02:29 UTC
Kancept
Member since:
2006-01-09

I have an original Chromebook (Mario Fish) and I use it in the garage. I have Macs all throughout the house (me, wife, kiddos) and can't find where the Chromebook fits with us having small, light laptops already. If I had a guest room, I'd put it in there, but I don't.

So, since I don't want to work on my motorcycle and use my Macbook Air, I use the Chromebook out there, as I feel it's more "disposable" if you will. I don't feel bad typing with a greasy finger or something to scroll through a teardown or change the music.

Reply Score: 1

There is definitely a target audience
by testadura on Thu 8th May 2014 08:35 UTC
testadura
Member since:
2006-04-14

I am planning to buy one (HP chromebook 14) this week for my mother in law. She's over 70 years old and her old Windows desktop system doesn't cut it anymore.

For her occasional emailing and internet banking these machines are perfect. And no more maintenance for me.

These machines are not for power users (developers, content creators, etc). So please stop saying the're useless. Chromebooks provide the ease of a tablet (always-on, no maintenance) combined with proven technology what people actually make productive; mouse & keyboard. Even a tablet with a detachable keyboard (which needs to be recharged separately) will be too technical for most elderly people.

Reply Score: 2

If they ran Linux, they'd be a good netbook
by rklrkl on Thu 8th May 2014 13:47 UTC
rklrkl
Member since:
2005-07-06

I still mourn the loss of the netbook (basically a mini laptop with an actual keyboard and full size USB ports) and the Chromebook is really the only visible netbook left on the market. The alternatives are cheap, clunky and heavy 15.6" laptops or expensive Ultrabooks, neither of which hits the sweet spot for me.

As someone else said here, if dual booting Linux was a lot easier (e.g. grub-style boot menu, easy to install Linux in the first place), then Chromebooks would become a sweet Linux netbook without some of the restrictive annoyances of ChromeOS.

Reply Score: 3