Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Oct 2017 21:56 UTC
Google

The Pixelbook has a lot in common with the previous Chromebooks that came directly from Google, with a high price tag and a spec sheet to match, but the Pixelbook will showcase the two newest enhancements to Chrome OS with stylus support and a hinge that allows for fold-over convertible use as a tablet. Neither of these things is new (convertible laptop designs have been a Windows staple for ages) but both are new for Google.

Including these features in Chrome and putting them on a high-priced Chromebook aimed squarely at developers and enthusiasts means Google really wants them to become a natural part of the Chromebook experience, and ultimately part of the web experience. So we have to ask, is Chrome finally ready to be a replacement for your tablet?

The answer is a mixed bag. It seems like answers are always that way. And Google needs to lead by example, then get everyone else on board.

Earlier this year, I replaced my aunt's aging Windows Vista (...) laptop with a Chromebook - a nice, solid, aluminium laptop with a good screen, solid trackpad, and amazing battery life. Since I set it up for her, I got to use it for a week before sending it off to my parents, who also used it for a week, after which we sent it to my aunt. All of us - my aunt, my parents, myself - were impressed with just how effortless of a machine it was. No fuss, no fiddling, no extraneous, outdated junk from 40 years of desktop computing getting in the way of browsing, e-mailing, and working with some simple documents.

Chrome OS is a great platform for a large group of non-demanding users, which is why I'm baffled by Google trying to sell us these upscale, fancy Chromebooks with insane amounts of power, and now, apparently, with stylus support and tablet mode? This feels exactly like the kind of extraneous, useless features that will only confuse and get in the way of the kind of people I personally think Chromebooks are great for.

Who is this upcoming Pixelbook for?

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Experiments!
by Flatland_Spider on Tue 3rd Oct 2017 15:33 UTC
Flatland_Spider
Member since:
2006-09-01

As other people have pointed out, it's for developers. Google crams random stuff into the Pixel to give devs a playground.

Remember how irritating it is when OEMs drag their feet and cite the lack of a market to justify churning out the same cookie cutter machines they always have? Well, Google is taking the initiative and producing machines which are baffling experimental, but they're necessary to advance the Chrome ecosystem.

If ChromeOS leads to Fuscia, which is what it looks like, then this is the next step in the evolution of the product. Convergence between PC, tablets, and cellphones is going to happen, even if it's failed so far.

Who is this for? Teachers and students, which is the market that has really embraced ChromeOS. We've developed a whole range of weird little squiggles that we do with our hands which we call writing, and we spend a lot of time perfecting them using a writing utensil rather then learning how to use them with a keyboard.

People who deal with lots of math equations for one. Believe it or not, it's really cumbersome to write math equations with a normal keyboard without specialized software (LaTeX), and as such, it's much easier to draw out a math equation.

It's much easier to mark up a paper with a stylus and touchscreen then it is to use a keyboard.

Incidently, these are the reasons my wife has a Wacom tablet.

Writing practice. Children spend a lot of time practicing writing letters, and this isn't going to change. The response to this is to create a program that will grade them on their handwriting skills.

Art in general will benefit from this. Wacom tablets are awesome for art, but they are pretty rare outside of professional circles. Adding a touchscreen democratizes this, and allows Synaptics, or whoever, to say they're innovating.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Experiments!
by darknexus on Tue 3rd Oct 2017 16:51 in reply to "Experiments!"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

It's much easier to mark up a paper with a stylus and touchscreen then it is to use a keyboard.

That doesn't mean you should. Remember what it's been like not being able to read people's handwriting? At least having to use a keyboard took that away. OCR for handwriting is going to have to get a lot better before I'll accept anything marked up that way.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Experiments!
by Flatland_Spider on Tue 3rd Oct 2017 20:34 in reply to "RE: Experiments!"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

That doesn't mean you should.


Hours with the keyboard versus minutes with the touchscreen.

In principle, I agree that a keyboard should be used more often, but the productivity gains when using the touchscreen were pretty dramatic.

Remember what it's been like not being able to read people's handwriting?


Scanned math homework in PDF form which has students handwritten work on them, so tit for tat.

OCR for handwriting is going to have to get a lot better before I'll accept anything marked up that way.


Crappy OCR is more reason to use it. It's not going to get better if it isn't exercised, and if there is a company that can collect enough data to make a good OCR, it's Google. Google has a vested interest in make a good OCR, now that I think about it.

Anyway, the handwriting recognition with MacOS has been pretty good, for what it's worth.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Experiments!
by zima on Wed 4th Oct 2017 12:33 in reply to "Experiments!"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Who is this for? Teachers and students, which is the market that has really embraced ChromeOS. We've developed a whole range of weird little squiggles that we do with our hands which we call writing, and we spend a lot of time perfecting them using a writing utensil rather then learning how to use them with a keyboard.

People who deal with lots of math equations for one. Believe it or not, it's really cumbersome to write math equations with a normal keyboard without specialized software (LaTeX), and as such, it's much easier to draw out a math equation.

That's why I won't buy a new ~computer without stylus support, I think (that said, it would be great if stylus support trickled down to some less expensive machines than this Pixelbook...)

Edited 2017-10-04 12:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3