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Chromebooks continue to be a tough sell for some folks: Why buy a computer that does less than similarly priced Windows machines? You can always run the Chrome web browser on another computer to get much of the experience you’d get with a Chromebook after all.
But Chrome OS is a case study of less-can-be-more. The browser is the most important app for many folks, and it’s an increasingly powerful tool at that, with a growing number of web apps that you can run online or offline to perform PC-like tasks including editing documents and media or playing games.
Meanwhile, Chrome OS is designed to be fast, simple to use, and relatively secure since apps are sandboxed in a way that makes it very difficult to install malware. Meanwhile, Chromebooks sync most of your important data with the cloud, which means you can pick up where you left off on another machine.
Here’s a roundup of tech news and opinion from around the web.
- In defense of Chromebooks
GigaOm’s Kevin Tofel is a card carrying member of the Chrome OS fanclub, and he’s penned a rather interesting response to folks who dont’ seem to understand why anyone would want to use Chrome OS. The short answer: It’s not because it does more… it’s because it does less (like less waiting for Windows Update, scanning for viruses, etc). [GigaOm]
- iPad mini Retina has the same chip as the iPad Air, but it runs *slightly* slower
The iPad mini with Retina is basically a smaller, cheaper iPad Air. But while it has nearly identical hardware, the Apple A7 chip in the smaller tablet is clocked at 1.3 GHz instead of 1.4 GHz. [TechCrunch]
- Fedora 20 “Heisenbug” beta released (Linux)
The first beta of Fedora 20 comes on the heels of the 10th anniversary of this open source operating system, and includes support for ARM as a primary architecture, enhanced cloud and virtualization tools, and more. [Fedora/Red Hat]
- Microsoft releases Surface 2 software update to improve performance, battery life
Microsoft’s new Windows RT tablet should now get better battery life and improved wireless, camera, and audio performance. [The Verge]
- Google Glass Explorer Program is now letting anyone (in the US) request invites
Waiting for someone to invite you to join Google Glass Explorer program? Now you can Request an invite from Google. Just be prepared to sit on a waiting list for a while… and there’s no guarantee you’ll ever actually move off the list and into the ranks of Glass Explorers. [Google]
- NVIDIA compares its DirectStylus with a standard capacitive stylus (video)
The NVIDIA Tegra Note may not have an active digitizer, but this video shows that it does support palm rejection and pressure-sensitive input. [YouTube]
- Status update on ReactOS, the crazy project to build an open source, Windows clone
This thing’s been in development forever, kind of looks like Windows 2000, and doesn’t run as many Windows apps as you’d like — but it’s still kind of fascinating from a technical standpoint, if not a practical one. [Slashdot]
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Some Chrome OS apps give a glimpse of what might be possible. For example Caret is a great text editor that is just as good as any native text editor for Linux or Windows. I still think Google should get the Android runtime running on Chrome OS.
Chromebooks seem pretty well optimized for the consumer market. Being browser oriented (think Blade Runner blimp advertising) Google should see advantage here from their ad-based revenue model. In a sane world the amount of entropy involved in performing simple things would rule it out as a wasteful Rube Goldberg way of getting things done. Since we don’t live in a sane world mass market acceptance is the measure of success, so Chromebook will probably succeed and minority needs… well the Devil will take the hindmost, i.e. nobody cares. Great news for the unwashed masses of passive sheep to be sheared. Whether you choose Idiocracy or The Marching Morons our path has already been predicted. Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.
Chromebook’s are incredibly underpowered and the battery life continues to be subpar. I’d much prefer an Asus T100 which does double duty as a Laptop and Tablet. Not to mention, the Asus runs full Windows, it comes with Office, and gets significantly better battery life. I’d gladly pay the extra $70 for the Asus any day.
I thought most people (not the ones who got them for free or almost free from Google) get Chromebooks to put their favorite Linux distro on it. People actually use Chrome OS as the main OS on these things?
Yes!, and I have not gone back to the traditional laptop!, WHY?, when I go mobile I usually want to go on a browser or get my email, and that the Chromebook does well and quickly, as you stated I did put Ubuntu on my Chromebook device but after a couple of days realized it was unnecessary for my mobile needs, and if I needed to do some high power stuff. I just networked to my Desktop at home or in my office using Chrome Remote Desktop….I can even play Halo if Internet connection is fast as it is in my office, but unfortunately at Starbucks with a full compliment of customers….not so much….
I like how everyone is defending chromebooks.
If this had been a Microsoft product, they would have criticized it to death.
Suddenly with chromebooks, no one is missing programs(apps), but Windows RT was criticized by every reviewer on the planet for not running the same programs.
Its OK to live in browser for chromebooks but Windows RT browser with flash and many metro apps is not enough.
Bunch of biased hypocrites.
i dont want to pay the windows tax. pure and simple.
don’t say “no one” I trashed both RT and Chrome 😛
awful x2 🙂
I agree. A lot of reviewers clearly have an axe to grind with MicroSoft.
I like Microsoft…..just a day late and a dollar short….and to move back???…I need something worthy of making all my hardware new with Microsoft all over again….I started when Windows Phone 6.5 just did nothing for so long and support dwindled away…it’s when I moved to an Android device and it snowballed from there!,…..Years later…I’m all Google as I once was with Microsoft, and to have to learn all things Microsoft as I am with Google and Chrome??…I don’t think so!, I just showed an Apple guy what a $249 Chromebook did against his Mac Air Book of $1800, he was impressed enough to go across the street to Best Buy and purchase one!!
I spent the next hour with him setting it up, he was like a kid on XMAS!!….
Yes the Chromebook is not a full fledged Laptop!, but that weakness is it’s strength!!….I have learned so much about Chrome OS that if there is not an app for it I just then write my own!!, there are a few of them on the Chrome Web Store…anyone here has a better chance of writing code for a Chromebook than for Apple or Microsoft…..it’s why a nobody like me was so excited about my first Chromebook, and my new friend from Starbucks is soon going to learn the same….Chromebook is not for everyone, as everyone has different needs.
Chrome books have no local storage.
So its for people who trust that there’s always going to be a connection, that their data won’t get stolen or sent on to the NSA, or that whatever cloud service they use doesn’t flat out loose their data.
Only thing they seem useful for, is to install Ubuntu and use a 128GB SD Card for storage. Not to mention Google is getting more conniving by the day, following Apple and Microsoft’s self serving ways. I’d rather buy something where I’m in control.
Its like the difference between paper money and electronic money. Once you got hooked on the convenience of using all these cards and NFC etc, your access to your funds can be remotely cut off anytime you displease the powers that be. If you have paper money, they can’t prevent you from having a stash here and there, and so, nobody can just shut you down so easily.
Several chromebooks have local storage. Not a lot of it , but still.
I think Chrombooks can be good computing devices. They have moved past being devices that just run a browser since Chrome’s ecosystem is slowly developing. I’d actually like to see Google bring Chrome OS to phones like Mozilla did with FirefoxOS.
One thing I don’t get is that Chromebooks seem to have some good opinions from people that say “less is more”, yet Windows RT gets a very bad rap for taking the same approach. Windows RT is a simpler, lower maintenance Windows. Users don’t need to worry about viruses as much, it updates in the background, it speedy and responsive, it’s not as heavy an OS, it runs with apps that are sandboxed and the app store is growing.
Difference is, Windows RT is a zombie OS, since they removed application support at Intel’s request, since Intel didn’t want to have to compete with a horde of ARM CPU manufacturers.
And there are basically no good apps for it, what’s available is totally bare bones, except Skype, which belongs to MS. On top of that, Microsoft builds its Surface systems in such a poor way, that they are near impossible to repair or upgrade. Check the iFixit scores…
I’d never buy a Chromebook either, not because I’m against a scaled down OS, but I’m against having no local storage. I don’t like my stuff in the cloud, many places I travel don’t have internet or have poor internet. Local storage is not negotiable, as having to rely on something controlled by the U.S. Government (Obama signed laws that he can shut it down in the U.S. anytime he sees fit, for example if martial law is called etc.) is out of the question.
Local storage is a must for me as well, but ultimately works against folks who have something to gain by leveraging cloud storage services, so…you know how that goes.
There is also something to be said for not assuming constant access to the internet.
It just isn’t for me.
I have local storage of my 1TB drive I carry with me, if it becomes necessary to have it on-board then Google might include it on future products.
Windows RT gets a lot of unfair, overly critical reviews from people who will turn around and praise Chromebooks. I just don’t get it.
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