Chromebooks Live!

Chromebooks Live!

Summary: Sorry folks, but tablets, as neat as they are, aren't going to replace low-end laptops and that means the Chromebook still has a future.

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TOPICS: Google, Mobility, Tablets
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I'll be the first to admit that while I like Chromebooks, I own a Samsung Series 5, Chromebooks also have serious problems. Still, the Chromebook is far from being dead.

My fellow ZDNet writer, Scott Raymond argues that the consolidation of WebKit, and Chromium open-source Web browsers source code trees means the end of a need for Chromebooks--and by extensions other lightweight laptops. Specifically, Raymond argues, "If we had the Chrome browser on an Android tablet, why would we want a Chromebook? For the price of a Chromebook you could pick up an Android tablet with a keyboard that connects via dock or Bluetooth. You would have the same functionality, plus the added capabilities of Android."

Why would I want a Chromebook? Because, while I like tablets a lot-I currently own and use a first generation iPad and a Nook Color--I also like having a single-unit, lightweight laptop.

My Samsung Chromebook, warts and all, has become my grab-and-go device. It weights next to nothing and it has a battery that can see me through an entire day of use. It also, and this is more to the point, lets me do everything I do with a tablet, and includes a built-in working keyboard. Sure, I could use a separate keyboard with my tablets, but with my Chromebook I don't need to worry with one.

Besides, the Chromebook is well on its way to being a lot more useful. After abandoning the ability to let its applications work off-line with Google Gears, Google is finally, as promised, bringing back this feature back with HTML5 compatible, off-line applications. The first will be off-line Gmail. This will be followed by off-line Google Docs and Calendar.

That's great news and it should help take care of one of my main problems with the current Chromebook operating system: The fact that Chrome OS and applications have real trouble working with local files on the solid-state drive (SSD).

Sure, I'll be able to use off-line Google applications on an Android tablet as well sometime soon. And, I might add, I'll be able to work with off-line Google apps. on iPads too. No one seems to have noticed that blending the WebKit and Chromium source trees will also bring this kind of HTML 5 off-line support to Apple's Safari Web browser as well in short order.

All that said, just because I can use a tablet like a laptop doesn't mean that I want to use a tablet as a laptop. For me, at least, tablets are still devices I use to consume information while laptops are what I use to create information.

So, I still think the Chromebook may have a bright future. That said, seriously, Google, Android and Chrome OS? You really want to support two operating systems? But, that's another matter for another day.

Related Stories:

Chromebooks are dead, they just don't know it yet

Google adds off-line mode to Gmail, Calendar, Docs apps

Google's Chrome operating system gets a much needed update

Five Chromebook concerns for businesses

The first Chromebook Review: Samsung Series 5

Topics: Google, Mobility, Tablets

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57 comments
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  • You where always the wishfull thinker in reference to Linux

    nice to see that wishfull thinking carries over to Chromebooks, too.

    Consistency is nice at times. :)
    William Farrell
    • RE: Chromebooks Live!

      @William Farrell
      Dont you love how Google has exploited open source for profit. Yet the open source community cannot do anything about it. Because it goes against their principal of exsistance. Its very funny though how business has managed to exploit the free nature of open source and profited off of it.
      jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
      • RE: Chromebooks Live!

        @jscott418

        Open Source was developed under the principle that one could build profit models that extend from it. If you want the GROSSEST example of this, OS X is OPEN BSD based! Apple gets something like 60% margin on a Mac! Red Hat is for profit. Novell, who brought us SUSE is for profit. Linspire pioneered a distribution with paid access to software repositories. The internet is the greatest example of how open source works. The Internet Protocols are free and open. Amazon, Apple, and most of the rest of the companies on the internet are for profit.

        So, to be clear, your fundamental grasp of what open source is, IS WRONG!
        tkejlboom
      • RE: Chromebooks Live!

        @jscott418 Uh, that's the whole point of the Open Source Initiative. Yes, I do love it. And no, the open source community doesn't want to do anything about it.
        Badge3832
      • RE: Chromebooks Live!

        @jscott418 Come on man. Do you really think Google is the first company to do this? There is a huge list of companies that have used open source code to make a large profit. AND. A lot of the other companies that have done this do not contribute back to the community. Google has given lots of code back to the open source community. While others have used open source code and keep their added code a closely guarded secret. Give Google a break. They aren't the best company out there, but they sure are better than most of the rest. At least they give back to the community. Also have you ever heard of GSoC (Google Summer of Code) ? Every summer Google pays open source projects to help mentor a programming student. The students gets to code for an open source project and also learns how the open source community works. Plus, Google pays the student for his code. The code is published under the same license as the projects code, which is some sort of open source license. So yes while Google is making a profit from open source code, they also are giving lots of code back to the community, even going as far as paying college students to write open source code for projects that Google doesn't have any stake in. Google is a pretty good example of a company that is using open source code as a business model. IMHO
        dtigue@...
  • RE: Chromebooks Live!

    Yeah, now I know you haven't been keeping up with the tech. Your friend Raymond is talking about a keyboard dock/case...you know, the ones that essentially turn a tablet into a laptop with a touchscreen. Granted, it's still severely limited to a full featured laptop, but it's still miles above a chromebook.

    I don't even like tablets and realize they're a better use of your dollar than a Chromebook.
    Aerowind
  • I just can't see the appeal.

    for the price of a Chromebook you can buy a cheap laptop with 10 times the storage, twice the computing power and you can still use it while not connected to the web. No dependency on a wifi connection. I just can't see the appeal of the Chromebook.
    Scubajrr
    • RE: Chromebooks Live!

      @Scubajrr
      Yup Best Buy deal of the day today:

      HP Laptop with AMD Turion? II Processor, 14" Display, 3GB Memory and 320GB Hard Drive
      Today's price:
      $297.77
      Hasam1991
      • RE: Chromebooks Live!

        @Hasam1991
        That is the problem for Windows and that explains the shrill crys and urgency from Windows fanboys (shills?) to have Chromebooks declared dead before they become established.

        If you can get an HP Laptop with AMD Turion II Processor, 14" Display, 3GB Memory and 320GB Hard Drive for $297.77 today. Then it makes sense you can get a Chromebook with the same spec except a 12.1" display, 2MB RAM and 16GB SSD for about $75 less, which means big problems for Windows. That is why Microsoft is trying to push up the price of Chromebooks by charging for an Al Capone style patent protection racket. Microsoft knows it can't compete on price with Chromebooks. Even worse Chromebooks are selling quite well at a higher price than low end Windows laptops - which means that people are prepared to pay a premium for the zero maintenance and ease of use aspects of Chromebooks over high maintenance, low productivity/utilization Windows machines for a large section of computer usage.

        The Windows fanboys can dream on. Chromebooks aren't going to go away, and neither are Android or iPad tablets. The Windows desktop will eventually become a niche product, and a variety of devices including Chromebooks will become the mainstream, and Microsoft will also be forced to move away from the Windows desktop. This is already happening with Windows 8 abandoning .NET in favour of HTML5 and moving MS Office to the cloud 365 suite.
        Mah
      • RE: Chromebooks Live!

        @Mah

        "That is why Microsoft is trying to push up the price of Chromebooks by charging for an Al Capone style patent protection racket."

        Or, for those of us who are looking for horses instead of zebras when we hear hoofbeats, no one is interested in Chromebooks.


        "Microsoft knows it can't compete on price with Chromebooks."

        Like the linux-based netbook and thin clients, Microsoft made little to no effort to compete on price. Linux based netbooks were returned at an alarming rate for Big Box companies. Sometimes, "free" is to expensive for consumers.

        "Even worse Chromebooks are selling quite well at a higher price than low end Windows laptops"

        netbook 2.0

        "Chromebooks aren't going to go away"

        The flowbee isn't going to go away either. Yet, for most people, scissors and shavers work better.


        "The Windows desktop will eventually become a niche product"

        Once you can actually create meaningful content on a smart phone, yes. Sorry, don't see any OLAP cubes being built on a tablet in the immediate future.

        "This is already happening with Windows 8 abandoning .NET in favour of HTML5 and moving MS Office to the cloud 365 suite. "

        Good moves on Microsofts product, making their desktop presence even more relevant for the future and delivering far greater value than limited use chromebooks.
        Your Non Advocate
      • Nice imagination there, Mah

        @Mah
        Right, all a sense of ergency from Windows fanboies, irrelavency, blah, blah, blah.

        A hater much?

        And of course it has absolutelly nothing to do with the fact that users of all OS alike seem to look at this as DOA, and the sales (or lack of) kind of backs that up.

        That last line was a riot!! -

        [i]Windows desktop will eventually become a niche product, and a variety of devices including Chromebooks will become the mainstream[/i]

        LMAO! They're having a hard time surviving today, let alone next year or in this Chromebook future you see.

        I think you're seeing the ABM fanboy's desparation as this new "Windows killer" is going away even before it got here.
        William Farrell
      • RE: Chromebooks Live!

        @Mah<br><br>Sorry, but you have got to be kidding. Windows desktop isn't going anywhere. To say so is a laugh and a half.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Chromebooks Live!

      In google's defense there really was no need for another desktop/laptop OS. Between windows, OS 10, and linux I think its covered, so I guess their internet portal idea was at least completely different. Maybe if it were put on netbook hardware it would make more sense.
      kroguej@...
    • RE: Chromebooks Live!

      @Scubajrr
      I agree I don't see any point in a chrome book or why anyone with a brain would buy one? they do less thena smartphone, cost more then a laptop, and they run chrome os which like chrome browser sucks. If they got the price down to under say $125 had it run android, made it wifi or ethernet or gsm/cdma, added a dvd or blu ray drive maybe its worth something but as it sits whats the point it does less then my htc evo which is now $49 with contract.
      Fletchguy
    • RE: Chromebooks Live!

      @Scubajrr If you take out the cost of the included 3G data, which is worth about $210 at today's prices, the Chromebook itself becomes quite cheap.
      daengbo
    • RE: Chromebooks Live!

      @Scubajrr Here's the appeal and why I very badly want one...

      http://dearthey.com/2011/09/06/on-chrome-clouds-and-the-future-of-computing-a-crosspost-from-the-tumblogs/
      julianfinn
  • Hope springs eternal

    Keep hope alive, SJVN. If you believe really really hard in it, it may come true. You may become a real boy, this may be the year of the linux desktop and someone may actually find a use for a Chromebook that another existing product is not already doing for less money or with more functionality..
    Your Non Advocate
  • DEAD!

    Chromebooks are DOA- Most of us are saving our money for a MacBook Air, simply the most amazing laptop ever made!!
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Chromebooks Live!

      @Hasam1991
      You do sound so desperate to have Chromebooks declared dead. Why?
      Mah
      • RE: Chromebooks Live!

        He's just being practical.

        Why would somebody pay full laptop price for half a laptop?
        Michael Alan Goff