Open Source

The future of computing has a name: Chromebook

Jack Wallen tackles the enigma of enigmas, otherwise known as the Chromebook. Do you think the Chromebook is the future of computing?

 

Chromebook
 

Over the last few months, I’ve been searching for the ultimate ultrabook. My current laptop has lived a solid, productive life (Sony Vaio running Ubuntu 13.10), but its teeth are long and brittle, and it has the gout. So, I’ve been on the quest for something smaller, more powerful, and easy to use.

I’ve looked at just about every possible solution that would fit my needs:

  • Lightweight
  • Outstanding screen
  • Top-notch keyboard
  • Solid build
  • Good battery life
  • Runs Linux well

I’ve carefully examined the following:

  • Sony Vaio Pro 13
  • Samsung Ativ Book 9
  • MacBook Pro
  • System 76 Galago Pro
  • Dell XPS 13 developer edition
  • Lenovo Yogo II
  • ASUS Zenbook Prime

I’ve spent the better part of two months digging into as many reviews, forum threads, and articles I could find on each to see how users felt about the products -- especially from a Linux standpoint. All were leaning toward the Samsung Ativ Book 9... until I was handed a Chromebook Pixel for review. At that point, everything changed. Everything. This piece of hardware meets each of my criteria, and then some. It has the single best screen I’ve ever beheld, and the best keyboard to ever be at my service. Ever. Period.

But then, there’s Chrome OS. I decided it was in my best interest to start using the platform, before seeing what everyone else had to say about Google’s take on the operating system. I have to admit that I fell in love instantly.

Let me preface this by saying that I’d already moved much of my writing to Google Drive (not only my tech writing, but my fiction as well). The Google Calendar has been my scheduling platform of choice for years, and I’ve used a Gmail address for business for as long as I can remember. So, that was a non-issue. The Chrome OS works flawlessly with those tools.

But...but...but…

With Chrome OS, there are always a litany of buts.

To that, I say “nay nay.” And after using the Pixel for a month, I decided to finally take a look at what everyone else was saying about the platform. The immediate conclusion I came to was that most people were writing about Chromebooks without actually using them! It sounds crazy, but what about these claims:

“A laptop that requires a network connection to be useful?” Sorry, but you can work offline with the Chromebook as easily as you can a standard laptop. All you have to do is set Chrome OS to work offline.

“Only 32 GB of space? How can you survive with that?” Easy. You save your work in the cloud or you insert a 64 GB SD card and save away. The average user could easily get by with the kind of space offered on a Chromebook.

“What about Quickbooks or Photoshop or...?” First and foremost, Intuit wants everyone to migrate to their cloud-based solution. I recommend the same thing. Not only is it cheaper in the long run, it’s much more reliable. And Photoshop? Outside of designers, who really uses Photoshop? And if you’re a designer, you’re probably working on a beast of a desktop machine -- or at least, you should be. I’ve used Pixlr on my Chromebook -- it’s fantastic and does everything the average meme-meister needs.

Diving headfirst into the Chrome OS platform has also served to reinforce a few things for me:

  • We are a society that does most of its work online
  • The majority of users make use of only a fraction of the power of their computers
  • A large percentage of the work we do is (or can be) done within a web browser
  • Applications and work will continue to shift to the cloud
  • The desktop, as we have known it for nearly two decades, is done

Now, I will admit the Pixel is a very special beast. It isn't the most powerful ultrabook available, but thanks to Chrome OS, it feels like the most powerful. Just in case the Pixel completely skewed my opinion about Chrome OS, I purchased an Acer C720 Chromebook. [Side note: I also installed Ubuntu Linux on the Acer and it worked flawlessly.] Yes, it’s small (11” screen), and it’s cheap (currently $199.00 on Amazon); but in the end, it helped me to realize that my perception of Chrome OS is dead on.

The Chromebook is the future of mobile computing.

Imagine taking the best of a laptop and the best of a tablet and cramming it into one device. You have an incredibly efficient productivity tool that will allow you work on a familiar and efficient form (laptop) while gaining speed and simplicity (tablet).

I have yet to find something I cannot actually do with this device. In fact, the Pixel may well have surpassed all other possibilities as my ultrabook of choice. I can’t look at another screen without thinking “Oh, that’s sad” (yes, even Apple’s Retina) -- and the keyboard makes all others look and feel like toys.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that my needs are different that a lot of other users. I’m a writer, so the tools I use on a daily basis are pretty insignificant (on any platform):

  • Word processor
  • Web browser
  • Email

I also know that Chrome OS will never replace my monstrous desktop (I depend on that machine for professional-quality audio recording and heavy graphics usage). But for taking my writing on the go, I have yet to find a better-suited platform than Chrome OS.

So, is Chrome OS the future of mobility? Honestly, the way I see it now, Chrome OS is the future of the PC. Google has made a bold shift to a resource that we all continue to grow more dependent on (the cloud), and it has created one of the single most user-friendly computing devices on the planet. There will always be doubters, but the second you get beyond the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD), you can see how the elegance and simplicity of the Chromebook might well meet the mobile needs of the vast majority of users.

Have you tried a Chromebook yet? If so, what was your reaction? If not, what’s stopping you? Share your thoughts and experience in the discussion thread below.

 

 

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

41 comments
JPWhite
JPWhite

I agree Chromebook will take the market by storm, especially if laptop manufacturers beef up the specs slightly to keep Chrome OS running fast after a slew of upgrades and patches which add bulk and features.


The sad thing I notice is that Ubuntu, a great free OS has struggled to get anything more than enthusiast interest. Chrome OS after a very slow start has suddenly come into the common-mans consciousness and Ubuntu maybe destined for a very unfair slide into obscurity.


Odd how things play out.

kspin
kspin

I have the C720 and it does just what I want it to, but my higher end machines serve their purposes as well. The Chromebook is nice, and I have integrated into the "ecosystem". I don't need supercomputing power to scroll social media, or watch online shows. The PC certainly isn't dead, but there ARE quite a lot of people owning overpowered machines which they have no real clue how to get the most out of. The writer put it simply, basic needs are met well with the Chromebook in a pleasant way.

ernie
ernie

Jack,


I agree with most of what you are saying.  I have just completed a multi-year study at a school in Orange County, CA and they have found the Chromebook to meet all of their needs.  The main conclusion that came from the study was that the students felt "more organized" and had easier access to data to continue their learning after school hours.  Check it out here www.beyondteched.com/swimgrid

JamesLeeP
JamesLeeP

In a business setting, where we have Google Apps for Business implemented for all end users, Chromebooks are becoming indispensable for us.  The huge majority of end users need only a Chromebook, which in the long run will save our business a lot of IT resources.  The combination of Google Apps and Chromebooks is extremely powerful.


The downside:  if you want provisioning licensing for mobility management in the Google Apps administration panel, you have to spend an additional $150 per device.  This is not true of Android-based mobile tools (smartphones and tablets).  Further, this cost is basically hidden until you attempt to manage your first Chromebook implementation.  Even further, it's a pain to get through the process of finding a reseller that allows for purchasing Chromebooks with the provisioning already set up.  This is a major detractor; you may think you can get away with less expensive Chromebooks, only to find your price tag go from $279 to $429 simply to take advantage of the mobile management aspect of Google Apps.

*bernie
*bernie

The only problem I have with Chromebooks is crazy U.S. policies. Just as I can't even get a decent Kindle Fire in my little country in Europe unless I let it be delivered in some country in the neighborhood, the chromebook I'd want is not available either right off the bat. And I hate that. A company the size of Google and with such a great reputation (I certainly love them) should find ways to make their stuff available to everyone. If anyone can show the world how to treat everyone equally in spite of stupid laws, it's Google. I don't think a Chromebook Pixel contains technology that would put the U.S. economy in danger. This whole self-protection thing has gone paranoid.

jirving
jirving

I'm an IT pro and I've used an Acer C710 almost exclusively for over a year. A screen with more than 768 vertical pixels would be nice, but the Pixel is apparently the only one, and it's just not worth paying six times what I paid for my super-portable Acer. So at my desk I just position a second, large display over the Acer's own, and move the main tab I'm working in onto it.


I do need to run on a PC occasionally, but Google Apps and my Chrome-synced environment follow me around and simplify my life. Even remote desktop sessions on servers include my synced bookmarks, easy access to my cloud files, and simple ways to move and link things to my other platforms -- including my Android phone.


This is a nicely focused writeup, but the larger picture is the ecosystem -- which is even tougher to sell to people who can't wrap their heads around the Chromebook.

Shuntavi
Shuntavi

I bought a Chromebook for my son, first year of college.  I asked him the other day how he likes it and if it is doing everything he needs.  He said, absolutely! He is able to do everything he needs to to function in college.  Battery life is great, lightweight, and boot time is instant.  Not bad for $250. 

davisg
davisg

Hi mate. Not sure, but less is more....I love gadgets but for practicality, weight, travel, theft, work etc, going for a power horse light weight laptop is more interesting than carrying five laptops serving different functions...but that's my way and point of view....

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I am glad that you have enjoyed your experiment with the Google's Chrome OS. About two and a half years ago I won an iPad and I have been using it as my primary mobile computer of choice since then. I love the fact that I come into work with just the iPad in my hand and no backpack on my back! I do a lot of writing on the device and was originally concerned with the lack of a physical keyboard as I had always purchased Tablet PCs that were convertable so that I would always have a keyboard at hand. After the positive experience with the iPad I upgraded my desktop to OS X on a Mac mini which is just plain the best UNIX out there for a no hassle desktop. I have been able to perform all my required tasks from the iPad when away from my Wyse terminal at work and my Mac mini at home. I have also been able to perform my administration tasks quite well on the iPad.

Currently I do not use any of Google services and a majority of my computing is performed locally and not on the Internet at large. I count it a great day if I never have to open a web browser. I imagine that there are many others that simply do not trust Google and thus would completely avoid using a Google Chromebook. I for one have made my decision on my mobile platform and Google's Chromebook is not in that roadmap.

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

Same old same old comments. Dissenters not admitting that they're in the 10% of PC users who legitimately DO need more than a browser on a regular basis.

The only thing I would add to the conversation is to suggest that people step back, and recognize that ChromeBooks are Google's attempt at jumpstarting a true "Cloud OS". Of course they're not there ... but they're doing what Google does, they're playing a long game and seeding the ground for a future (inevitable, imho) where nearly every use case involves some connection to remote services in some way. Yet they are not pretending that the "dumb terminal"/3270 model is sufficient - instead, they're working to mature HTML5 capabilities, and at the same time evolving local-processing capability via their NaCl app-container with native performance design.

Is it as capable as a Windows/Mac PC right now? No. But all that's missing is apps. There's no basic capability that's out of reach of the basic architecture they've established, that's unsupportable. Is Pixlr as good as Photoshop? Of course not ... yet. But give it time, and it'll asymptotically approach Photoshop in capability (or some other photo-editing app will, if they decide to continue to play the 80/20 game, implementing just the 20% of capability that 80% of users need).

Think about that. ALL that's missing is apps. Wasn't that similar to where Android was a few years back?

People claiming they're useless because they can't do as much as e.g. Windows PCs never seem to extend that reasoning to conclude that Windows PCs are useless because they can't do the things supercomputers do. The relationship is the same - only the scale of user populations is different.

dogknees
dogknees

You speak of the future of computing, but then start listing exclusions like designers.


The "future of computing" has to cover everyone, not just the majority. Otherwise it's just the future for a certain group. I'm sick of people telling us what the future PC will be and then back-pedaling when pushed to "well it will be for most".


How about an article that talks about the "future of computing" for everyone. From social media mavens to developers to musicians to designers to .....

mark
mark

DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!


1st I have an Asus  chromebook and the hardware is decent however the OS is not an OS it is a browser. 


 Anything I have used that starts out with a statement "Its good for the price" falls short of the performance I want or need. (This goes into almost any performance stat, computers, cars house, food etc)


Even if all I do in computing was word process to compare Google docs to MS Office or even Libre Office is a joke. 

If you like Browser apps over standard apps it may be for you. I use but for the most part cannot stand the non-standard standard that is the web browser(s). 

I have to use Chrome for gmail and IE for our ITSM ticketing system, firefox for this, another browser for that. They ALL (browsers) constantly get stupid and need cache cleared or cookies blown away or Java replumbed etc. 


I have a corporate gmail account and it is a joke compared to other enterprise email systems. (I have used and admin several brands)


I won't even go into the Google spread sheet joke (THE cut and paste challenged app.)  


Here at my work almost all of the admins call Google apps the "Unproductivity Suite" as it is just not as efficient as a real application.  (I really don't care where something is stored local or cloud. I use gdrive, skydrive Ubuntu etc but it has to work and be efficient when in use!


Until I installed Ubuntu on Chromebook I was less than impressed. Now (with Ubuntu installed) all I have is a semi-hamstrung Linux laptop wasting space with a browser OS loaded that I don't use. 

(and can be blown away with a space bar press at reboot.)


I would rather pay another extra $100 or two and get a plain old laptop, even Windows is in my opinion MUCH better OS that a browser with hardware framework. 


Chromebook does work pretty good for a Citrix thin client but then so will just about anything else.



sysop-dr
sysop-dr

Chrome book may be the future of what seems to be a widely held idea of what computing is. Those of us who do real computing work (science and technology here, nuclear) won't be using a chrome book to run simulations or control nuclear reactors. So for what they can do they seem nice but I will stick with my beowulf cluster for now thanks.

orfika
orfika

"And Photoshop? Outside of designers, who really uses Photoshop? And if you’re a designer, you’re probably working on a beast of a desktop machine -- or at least, you should be."


This is idiotic. First off, many people, from photographers, graphic artists, animators, videographers, animators, etc. use Photoshop. Second, I understand your last laptop was a relic, but Photoshop has played just fine with portable computers for quite a while now. If you need extra screen real estate just plug in an external monitor. 


The sub-$500 Chromebooks make perfect sense for their niche use, but buying a Pixel over, say, a 13-inch Retina Macbook Pro is unbelievably stupid.


Nitramd
Nitramd

As I understand it, Chromebook's are just a way of marketing low cost, low performance laptops & Google services.

How is this really any better functionally,

(apart from battery performance, being a bit lighter & compact), than my 7 year old Dell Inspiron 6400 with SSD, Linux Mint & a Chrome browser?


Trentski
Trentski

I had a look at a chromebook at jb hi fi, I agree, they are boring. I'll never buy one. Good call Jack

Gisabun
Gisabun

Ha ha ha ha. Don't make me laugh! Chromrebooks as the future of computing? Ha ha ha. If you are surfing the Internet and checking Email - yes. But that's it.

Can you video edit? Can you edit an image? Can you develop applications? Can you burn to a disc? Can it do CAD? Does it have business level applications for accounting?

Then of course it is tied in with Google - the #1 abusive company when it comes to privacy.

Got one of these things, I'd wipe the TINY disk and put on Ubuntu or maybe Windows 7.

Of course this coming from Jack Wallen. Not surprised.

evansonfeldman
evansonfeldman

Great paper, I totally agree.

Average users love chromebooks! They run the same way in 2 years as they did when you took it out of the box.


Carney3
Carney3

I have a ChromeBook.


It has definite strengths.  Fast booting, responsive, reliable, automatic instant constant "backup" of all userland data and experience, secure from hackers with dual-factor authentication, secure from malware, automatic hassle-free background updates from a single source for all software etc.  Affordable.


I do have some residual worries about corporate / government snooping.


And I do run into occasional limitations.  I miss my old games.  I'm annoyed that Google Drive labels imported files as if they were created that day and hour - even if they're 20 years old.  I'm worried about having to switch to a subscription model to store my own data - at what point do I cross the threshold of the low upfront price no longer being a bargain (about year two after the free storage runs out, actually).

adornoe
adornoe

Question is: Why even have Chromebooks or ChromeOS in simple and crippled devices?


If a person's ONLY NEED is a browser, and that browser is dependent on a remote server, then, even Chromebooks and ChromeOS are overkill.


What is being sold as Chromebooks are terminals with a few bells and whistles tossed in, but in the end, they're just terminals, very similar to the old says ot remote computing with "dumb" terminals at the user end.  People actually use dumb terminals now, and they're everywhere, and they are things like ATM machines and point-of-sale stations, and now, the in-car infotainment systems.  If people are going to be satisfied with what amount to "dumb" terminals, then, even Chromebooks and ChromeOS are overkill. We could probably go back to the dumb terminals of the 70s and 80s, but with a much better graphical UI in those terminals.  


However, going with the dumb terminals also means having to store your data remotely, and being wholly dependent on the remote servers for any computing that might be needed.  In essence, you're giving up ALL control of your data and your computing needs to some unknown server management group, and as we already also know, some of those remote management companies are into spying on your data and your browsing, and privacy is basically, nonexistent.   


So, just because many won't need more than a simple device to do their on-line browsing and media consumption and "tech writing", doesn't mean that it's prudent or practical or wise to do so. 

Ben_in_CA
Ben_in_CA

Well, the idea behind a Chromebook makes sense. Would it work for me?


Well, sometimes I want to watch a DVD movie - a Chromebook is not ideal for this.


Sometimes I need to burn some data to a disc - a Chromebook is not ideal for this.


How about if I want to connect to the serial interface to program something? (like a Cisco router for instance) Not exactly ideal.


I'm currently using over 200GB of space on my HDD; do you know how long it would take (and what the monthly costs would be) to upload that to the cloud? And when I want to access it, it would take longer.


The platform makes sense, but I think I'd still find too many limitations.



dheyman
dheyman

I have had a Chromebook from the beta testing as Google was nice enough to send me one to test and although I realize the hardware has vastly improved, I believe it is just one of a multitude of options all of which have a valid purpose and many a dedicated fan base.  Obviously, the desktop and to a lesser immediate extent the desktop replacement laptop have been displaced for most users everyday tasks to a large degree by smaller, lighter more portable devices such as smart phones, tablets and netbooks (Chromebooks included).  All of these devices are able to provide web browsing, photos, social networking, email, basic document creation, low level gaming and multi-media consumption but in my mind the one that is able to best marry complete functionality of the OS and Hardware will win the future of computing.  I believe Google, Apple and Microsoft as well as the other OEM's like Samsung and Lenovo that will make an attempt at the same lofty goal that Windows 8.1 and the surface pro 2 for all its complaints and shortcomings is the closest so far to achieving.  If Apple or Google can join their mobile OS with their desktop, for lack of a better term, OS on a hardware platform that is priced well and can accomplish not just certain functions but all functionality then they will become more dominant than their current niche albeit dominant to say the least in their strongest markets as they are.  For my money I still believe Microsoft to be by far in the better situation to re-position themselves with new leadership into this ultimate goal.  For certain, competition will be fierce and there is room enough for many to be successful but if there is to be any one dominant future player in this end game, I say meet the new king... the same as the old one.


To borrow from Denis Miller, " of course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong"

4wsilver
4wsilver

I recently purchased an Android phone.  It is very good and has a lot of nice features.  I can't stand it.  I feel like I need to stand on my head to use it.  Just as bad as an Iphone.  I have a really old windows phone which works great except it is nearly worn out.  I bought the new Android phone because I intend to change plans and wanted to try it out.  I have not connected it to a carrier yet, but can do anthing but call on it.  I do not like it and will probably sell it.  I also have an Android tablet which is also difficult to use.  My mind just works with the windows phones and tablets PC's and they WORK!  They have many drawbacks, but they do work.  They do what they are told.  Yeah, I do drink more coffee, but then I like coffee, and the break is nice sometimes.  For now I will stick with my MS laptop, tablet, and phone.  I will try the UNBUNTU phone when that comes out.  


For now I have tried the CHROME offerings and find them very lacking.  Just too many things I do all the time that I cannot do.  Plus all the software that I have that is not available at all on that system.  It is not in MY future.


BTW I run XP and will not switch to the newer versions until MS cleans up it's act, if it every does. 

tvmuzik
tvmuzik

I'm happy with my desktop and laptop Beast machines, as they can do the things I want them to do with the programs I'm currently using; and I'm using WinXPsp3 and Win7 Ultimate at home, between three machines (two laps, and one desk) for the fun and flexibility of it.  Yes, I'd like to play with a Chromebook... as a side-fiddle Scooby-snack hacked/modified little hand-held handy gadget to try out Win8.1 and go online with a portable machine anywhere, away from home and chillin' out in my backyard. lol

Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com
Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com

AS much as it might be feasible to think that everyone will be using the cloud for their OS and for their data storage, I am not one of them. I don't like the cloud, I am uneasy about putting important data out there...floating around in cyberspace, relying on some companies declarations that it's secure. As we've seen from countless breaches, NO data is safe, unless it's not attached to a resource that is "always on"...granted your data could be taken from your laptop / desktop that's connected to the internet from home....but how many of us leave it running 24/7? I just cannot believe the way in which some companies and industries have been so quick to adopt "Cloud technology" as the new norm. I will admit that seeing the Chrome book in action was impressive (my sister bought one..) and it IS fast, and light, and can do "The Basics".....but I for myself will not be buying one.Being a Linux user I can appreciate that there's an OS that isn't Windows that is becoming popular, and even though Chrome OS is a light and easy to use system, because it's affiliated with Google, there's always that nagging suspicion that somehow my data will end up in the hands of who knows....so to just give myself peace-of-mind, I will not be going that route. As for those who keep saying the desktop is "dead"...there is no such thing happening, yes sales have declined, and people are gravitating towards tablets and net-books and touch-screen devices etc. but a lot of companies are not going to scrap all their desktop machines for tablets in the near future, even when those desktops become obsolete, they will just invest in newer desktops. Most corporations cannot afford to have data "walk out" of the building every day, just because there's a new trend in mobile devices. The ones who keep claiming this...need to study the pragmatic business model...its just not a smart choice for companies, although giving their employees tablets to make them more productive when OUt-Of-Office is a good idea, they're not going to remove the desktop from their infrastructure, so please stop spreading these kinds of misleading facts. Better to say "sales have declined tremendously.." than to keep repeating that the desktop is dead. We thought it was dead when laptops came along...its still here, then came iPads,.....its still here....then tablets....smart phones.....phablets......and its STILL HERE! The desktop will BE here for quite a long time...(can't do calculations for the Large Hadron Collider on a laptop or tablet!!)....you can watch Netflix on 'em...all day...but serious number crunching?...nah...

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

Fair and balanced commentary, especially "The immediate conclusion I came to was that most people were writing about Chromebooks without actually using them!" a Chromebook, especially one with 3G or LTE capability, makes an excellent mobile platform. Still, despite owning more than 1 Chromebook, when my ancient G5 iMac became intolerably slow (and most new software for OS X requires Intel), I bought a used iMac 24 rather than a Chromebox.


A minor quibble: "I have yet to find something I cannot actually do with this device." Try uploading your music library to Google Play. After 3 years, it's still not possible with Chrome OS.


My only quibble is the choice of a Pixel, with its relatively poor battery life; a Pixel 2 with a Haswell processor is desperately needed. I love my Pixel, especially the screen and keyboard, although I find touch useless on a laptop, so I disabled it within a few days.


@Saud Hassan Kazia : The Pixel, with its high res screen, is Linus Torvalds favorite device for running Linux. If you want to run Linux, you can do so on any Chromebook, although one with a 32 Gb SSD and 4 Gb of RAM is probably the preferred combination.



Rann Xeroxx
Rann Xeroxx

The problem with all of these tech writers "living with only a ChromeBook" and saying things like "ChromeBook is the future", etc and so on is that.... wait for it... they're tech writers.  What exactly does it take to do their jobs?  Not much.  In fact I will even say that a ChromeBook is a good solution for a tech writer just like for any writer or blogger, etc.  Anyone who's job it is to consume content, send and receive communication, and a bit more than a ChromeBook can fulful 99% of this.


My personal opinion is, yes, you *could* live within the confines of ChromeOS but why?  WIth Baytrail out and x64 soon to be released, Windows 8.1 running lighter than ever, with touch, with Metro, with these devices getting faster and lighter and more mobile and flexible, etc... why live in the confines of ChromeOS?  If you want security the run only Metro as user.  


ChromeBooks are great for education, some business use cases, companion devices, etc.   But if you only have one computing device and that's it, you might want to make it something more flexible like W8.1, Linux, or Mac OS.

Sanders Kaufman Jr.
Sanders Kaufman Jr.

I wonder - how much did Google pay C|NET to write an article like this, promoting their product?

Rick Neeson
Rick Neeson

Google chromebooks would be the future if only google chrome would stop spying on people for the government

CHIP72
CHIP72

I own a whole fleet of devices (among them a couple Windows 7 computers, a Windows 8 laptop, 6 different tablets with 5 different operating systems - iOS, Android, Windows RT, Blackberry Tablet OS, and webOS, and a whole slew of smartphones spread among 5-7 different operating systems, depending on how you classify different OSs built by the same manufacturer; basically the only major "mainstream" OS for which I don't own a device is MacOS), and among all of my devices, my humble Samsung Chromebook Series 3, which I've owned since late January 2013, is my favorite.  It is much easier to maintain than a conventional desktop/laptop computer, and it is much easier to use (and has a much better browser) than tablets.  Speaking of tablets, I think it is inevitable that Google will eventually release chromepads and then chromephones; they just don't want to undermine current Android sales.  Both Microsoft and Apple, which not coincidentally were both founded in the pre-internet 1970s, should be very concerned with Chrome OS and more broadly internet-based operating systems (including Mozilla's Firefox OS) - Microsoft due to chromebooks' ease of use, Apple (for both laptops and tablets) due to price undercutting (and high reliance on hardware profit margins to make money).


I personally think it is inevitable that cloud-based operating systems like Chrome OS (and Firefox OS) will replace device-based operating systems like Windows, MacOS, iOS, and yes Android.  That transition will take some time due to people's uneasiness about giving us processing power and control, but I think within 10 years cloud-based operating systems will be the norm and device-based operating systems will be niche devices, rather than the opposite as they are now.

narucy
narucy

Actually, Chrome Application platform is first option for desktop / laptop application running. because some `xxxxx-setup.exe' is incredibly dangerous for security reason, any application outrageous local file access Microsoft still don't ready customer friendly Sandbox feature. (Windows 8 store app aka metro app did it, It's secure, But metro GUI using on desktop/laptop, user experience CRAZY BAD)


And, ChromeOS goes looks old school window based application platform, and They really care security. It's nice idea I think. Google sat down on the chair which Microsoft  vacated.


Chrome platform continue performance improve, They create Dart programming language and DartVM, It's productive performance and perfect compatible HTML5/JavaScript. And programmer friendly. JavaScript is little bit still annoying some situation for old programmers.


If people need window based application, I can't find another better option. (QT gui layer is best possible option probably, but C++ programming model is very stressful management memory and security reason, and still setup.exe problem exist. Client side java is completely dead because Oracle guys can't fix Java security manager that's pretty sad, Most people never launch applet)


Android attacks iOS, ChromeOS attacks Windows, Google running right way.

lvzardoz
lvzardoz

@mark  ??  "1st I have an Asus  chromebook" ??

That would seem unlikely. As of the date of your post, ASUS had not shipped any Chromebooks. The new ASUS C200 Chromebook should be going to market this month, May 2014.

james tower
james tower

@Ben_in_CA I just bought a terabyte external drive... if you keep the stuff you don't use regularly on that it works out fine and you don't have to put everything on the cloud...

4wsilver
4wsilver

@Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.com The cloud reminds me of the old GE timeshare computing of the 60's.  It worked, but as soon as people could put programs in their own machines, it went away quickly.  The new Unbuntu phone concept that they have on the internet, with the memory getting cheaper quickly and the microprocessors getting faster and smaller, it makes more sense to have the phone as the main computer and just tie in a larger screen and keyboard when necessary.  Whether that takes place as a simulated desktop or as a pad doesn't matter.  If everything is in the phone, then you will always have it with you.  And it is your personal information.  You won't need to be tied to the internet for it to work.  People are already looking at designs of phone that cross the tb threshold.   For those who want to play games and store videos, there are always external hard drives.  I think that whether UNBUNTU phones make it or not, the concept is good and eventually the cloud will be outdated just like the timeshare was. 

info
info

@Rann XeroxxMy favourite is, "I also know that Chrome OS will never replace my monstrous desktop (I depend on that machine for professional-quality audio recording and heavy graphics usage)." followed almost immediately by, "Honestly, the way I see it now, Chrome OS is the future of the PC."

The two statements are almost counterpoint. I could honestly see something like Chrome OS expanding to be able to handle something like CAD or Jack's audio recording on a cloud-connected desktop platform. Even an Ultrabook with those kinds of resources. Eventually. The danger is that the manufacturers will look at these claims and sales figures and conclude that nobody needs PCs anymore. So those platforms will go away. Now, the people that needed those kinds of resources and power have little, if any, to choose from... but a TON of Ultrabooks and tablets they can buy.

info
info

@4wsilver @Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.comYou're missing the point, though. To be sarcastic, most of these people never lived with mainframes, so this 'Cloud thing' is shiny and new! So it HAS to be better, right? Now, a point in their favour. The mainstream user doesn't want to think about the mechanics of their stuff. They just want it DONE. Or THERE. So they don't want to have to remember that Document X is saved on a particular device. If they managed to forget said device at home, but they have their smartphone with them, they can call it up from 'The Cloud'. Almost ultimate convenience with very little thought required. To most people, this trumps security and/or the hassle of setting up your own private 'Cloud'.

CHIP72
CHIP72

@4wsilver @Knighthawk5193@Yahoo.comThe differences between the 1960s and now are 1) the speed connection one has with linked devices and 2) the amount and cost of available memory (both on personal devices and on remote servers).  When the connection speed is slow and memory has intermediate cost and availability (rather than either scarce availability/high cost or abundant availability/low cost), a device-based OS makes more sense.  When the connection speed is fast and memory is relatively abundant, a non-device based (i.e. cloud-based) OS makes more sense.  Why have a personal device do the heavy lifting computing-wise when much more powerful remote servers can do that job more efficiently and the connection speeds between a local terminal and those remote servers are high?  Most (though not) all people value owning and using 1) easy to use devices and 2) inexpensive devices.


Based on my personal experience, I'd say chromebooks can do what they do better than device-based operating system devices can.  Chromebooks can also do all or most of what most people use computers for.  They can do those things while costing less money (on an internal specs comparison basis).

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