Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Chromebooks - Is the world ready for them?

First of all - Happy New Year and I hope you all had a great Christmas break. The delay in this blog can be partly attributed to a busy Christmas period, and partly to a misplacement of my HTC One X.... (just for note, the customer service was excellent once again).

I thought I would blog about a product that has been heavily advertised and promoted over Christmas - the Chromebook. If you haven't heard of it yet, a Chromebook is a laptop with no desktop. It is a browser that relies almost solely on Google's never-ending list of services. Scary right?

My first experience of Chromebooks was a few years back on my Asus eePC 901 notebook. It seemed a logical OS given how light it is and how little power it requires. However, it wasn't long before I became frustrated with its limitations. The Chromebook has changed a lot since then, for the better, but it still doesn't compete on the same level as a laptop in my eyes.

Firstly, you need internet to properly function with it. Seems obvious but it really holds you up, especially on the commute etc. What happens if you want to watch a film? You can't.
     Secondly, the lack of a hard-drive concerns me. I do actually prefer to store on clouds than the desktop, but the lack of the option doesn't sit comfortably. The other problem with this is simply the functionality and accessibility of files just isn't as good.
    Lastly, whilst Google's services really are extraordinary - they aren't quite good enough to better all of their rivals just yet. The biggest problem for me is Google docs. Whilst it is very impressive, it never takes preference over Microsoft Office in my eyes. I find it slow, and it also feels that bit limited compared to its offline rival. Again, Google Drive is effective and functional but my preference is with Dropbox, which I am slightly addicted to. Until these Google services are market leaders, I will always feel the need for a desktop.

Now, Google have the right idea. Given time this will be a brilliant piece of equipment which will make our lives extraordinarily simple - but not yet.  When we reach 'WiFi everywhere' - which will happen - this will be brilliant. However, the world isn't ready for it just yet and I just hope that this attempt to force the market doesn't delay its adoption. 
The widely promoted Samsung Chromebook looks great, and has a very attractive price at $249 - BUT you shouldn't look to buy one unless you are looking to install a new OS in my opinion. Google have jumped the gun with the Chromebook and, if you want a laptop for anything more than browsing I would avoid it. To be honest, if you're looking to buy a laptop for just browsing - what are you doing? Just buy the Nexus 7 tablet!

I'd love to hear any thoughts on this. It would be good to hear from anyone who has used/uses a Chromebook, especially on a daily basis. Everyone functions with technology in a different way and perhaps my experience says more about me than about the Chromebook.


  1. You could always add a 32G or 64G class 10 SD card, switch to dev mode, and install Linux. You get a desktop, local storage, and you can work offline.

    The upgrade will not cost you much more that $50, or $50 and a beer if you need a friendly geek to do the install.

    1. Hi James, thanks for reading. Couldn't agree more with you. I think the Samsung Chromebook is readymade for Linux and others would be wise to follow your upgrade suggestion

  2. It's not about what it CAN do, but what about you need it to do.

    In that light, Chromebooks suit a whole bunch of people perfectly...;)

    1. Hi Riel! Absolutely. You're spot on there. For me it simply doesn't suit as yet but this will be different for others as, for what it does, it does it very well