Chrome Notebook Round 2

Chrome Notebook Round 2

Summary: Please don't hate me for getting a second Chromebook...If you're still waiting for your first, hang in there. It's worth the wait.

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Early last week, after we dug out from a big weekend storm (and before another one hit us later in the week) I took a ride to my local FedEx customer service office where they were holding a package that I kept missing. It required a signature and I was hoping that it was some new education products that Dell PR was supposed to be sending me. Nothing like new toys on a snowday, right? It turned out, however, to be a second Chrome Notebook.

I had already received a Chrome Notebook (also known as the Cr-48 or just the Chromebook) late last year, not as part of their pilot program, but as an analyst test unit. For an early beta device, it was very impressive. So impressive, in fact, that my technophobic wife ended up loving it (and adopting it).

I have to say that I was happy to have one back. They go just about anywhere, they come with free data from Verizon (only 100MB/month, but if used judiciously to supplement the generally ubiquitous WiFi, it does the trick), and they sync up brilliantly with Chrome browsers on the rest of your computers. Overall, if you only need Web access (which is usually what we all need), then these little guys do just what they're supposed to do (and precisely what Google intended, namely to keep you in a web browser day in and day out).

I'm approaching this new notebook a bit differently than I did with my last tester, however. I'm staying far more true to the spirit of the pilot program and worrying less about industry implications of the device as I was wont to do with my analyst preview unit and just actively using the Cr-48, reporting bugs, asking questions, and submitting issues to Google.

So far, I've reported an issue with the sound (all I get is squealing static, regardless of what I'm listening to) and asked how to manually set my DNS (and have it stick; right now, as far as I can tell, it can only be done from the command line with a shell script). My ISP's DNS is generally much slower than either Google's or OpenDNS, but the Cr-48 just takes whatever DNS information comes from whatever DHCP server it hits. While I can obviously change the DNS handed out by my router at home, that doesn't help me as I move around.

I'm still mighty happy to have it, though. It can't replace my MacBook Pro, but more often than not, it's the laptop that will be in my bag wherever I might be wandering. Realistic 8 hours of battery life and non-stop access to my stuff since I've embraced Google Apps pretty fully is more than I can say for the MacBook I like so much.

Topics: Google, Apps, Browser, Dell, Hardware, Laptops, Networking, Tablets, Verizon

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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9 comments
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  • Chistopher: We would also like to hear more about native client and Davik

    applications on ChromeOS. As a C/C++ programmer, native client is very interesting.
    DonnieBoy
    • c/c is out of mainstream

      @DonnieBoy

      native client will never fly.

      The only thing good about this machine is free data plan with 100mb/month. I hope verizon providing it to all cellphones.
      FADS_z
      • Actually, C/C are alive and well, and with the the IP problems around C#

        and now Java, there may be a little of a renaissance for C/C++. Though, in the long run, better just-in-time compilers for dynamic languages will probably win out.
        DonnieBoy
      • The free data plan is only good for two years

        @FADS_z
        after that time you'll have to pay for it. Also, 'Free' is deceptive because the cost will be built into the price. Basically, you would be paying more up front and recoup the cost as you use the notebook. If the notebook breaks you're still paying for the 'Free' data plan.
        iPad-awan
    • RE: Chrome Notebook Round 2

      @DonnieBoy There are no applications.
      Jimster480
  • How many people still need to run legacy Win32 applications. This is Key in

    how well ChromeOS will be accepted.
    DonnieBoy
  • RE: Chrome Notebook Round 2

    I think it is awesome if all you want to do is surf the net. The downfall for me is the wifi is slow unless you are on N with AES only.
    So if you are out and about and connect on a G network you will have issues,
    Also they should make it so you can upload from your SD card to Facebook etc. Kindof crappy that you need to sign up for a Picnik account just to upload pictures.
    Also the more apps or shortcuts to websites you add the slower ChromeOS becomes.
    Randalllind
  • If it cannot replace something?

    So their is the rub. If it cannot replace something like your Macbook . Then the question begs, why would you buy another laptop? I can see where a Tablet or smart phone could accent your electronic arsonal of web tools. But buying a Chrome OS in laptop form that cannot replace a Windows or Mac laptop will not get many takers.
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • RE: Chrome Notebook Round 2

      @jscott418

      I agree, a combination of laptop and tablet seems to be the perfect mobile "sweet spot" right now depending on just how much you want to carry. Laptop and... "less" laptop seems illogical.
      Playdrv4me