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Update Brings Android USB Mounting To Chromebooks

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the now-merge-them-even-harder dept.

Android 47

sfcrazy writes "Google has updated its stable channel for Chromebooks (Acer AC700, Samsung Series 5, and Cr-48). The latest version of Google chrome running on these devices is Chrome 13. The feature has added Google Cloud Print settings to Settings > Under the Hood. It now allows auto-connect using 3G, remove/forget added VPN connections and 802.1x support. The update brings the most needed feature — USB mounting of Android."

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YES! (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993320)

Again, YES!

I really like my Samsung Chromebook. Now, it's better!

Re:YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993392)

You actually spent $500 on one of these or was it free? Yeah for getting a laptop to recognize a USB device. The rest of the computing world welcomes you to 1995.

USB Mounting? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993330)

Do they mean mounting your android device on your desktop system as a USB device? The syntax is rather vague...

Re:USB Mounting? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994682)

I gather that previously usb-mounting your android didn't work.
it's bad press anyways.. now if they included adb with it?

can you run android sdk on a chromebook? that's the real question and tells the failings of crap almost-OS's.

mo3 d0wn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993552)

MTO DIE. I WILL JAM area. It is the

I have a Chromebook (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993600)

So can anyone explain to me WHY I would want to mount Android on my Chromebook via USB -- let alone why it's the "most needed feature"?

Don't understand why is it so hard to understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993634)

When they talk about mounting USB .... it means mounting the USB as a drive (as in accessing the data in a USB flash drive). In other words, Google just managed to add a feature available in all REAL (and even toy) operating systems since no later than 1998.

Re:Don't understand why is it so hard to understan (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010056)

When they talk about mounting USB .... it means mounting the USB as a drive (as in accessing the data in a USB flash drive).

Have you ever used the Chromebook file manager? This is no great benefit.

Re:I have a Chromebook (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994170)

Indeed, the ability to mount a fileshare on the LAN would seem to be more useful.
Even if you are supposed to view/edit everything in Google Docs, etc. Are you
supposed to have someone/something else upload them?

USB mounting ON Android or OF Android? (1)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993748)

Does it mean mount a usb device on the Android or mounting Android to elsewhere? The later is how it reads.

Re:USB mounting ON Android or OF Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993864)

Or the latter, as the case may be.

Upset Fanbois? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993772)

I'm getting a bit tired of seeing all the fanbois go on about an "old feature that was recently added".
When the fuck could you ever do that on an iPhone+iPad? Thought so. So go back to pre-1998 and enjoy your wait there.

Maybe you all are just upset about your screwed up nvidia drivers [slashdot.org].

On the off-chance, that you all are not just being pitiful idiots, let me explain... Android USB mounting = mounting your Android phone in USB disk drive mode, on your Chromebook.

Re:Upset Fanbois? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993900)

Good point. All phones should mount as a Mass Storage Device.

Re:Upset Fanbois? (2)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994020)

Seems obvious to us geeks, but when a photographer at a christening I went to recently asked if anyone was a "computer expert" so he could give them the CompactFlash card to transfer the pictures no-one wanted to touch it. Syncing,as opposed to just exposing the device as a filesystem, is a better solution if you are going for mass appeal.

What is the point? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994192)

Why would anyone want a Google Chromebook? I've seriously been trying to figure out what market they're going after.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36994226)


Re:What is the point? (2)

That Guy From Mrktng (2274712) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994330)

Probably Google just planned and actually started to develop something without doing a market research, everybody knows that you just have to have a blowjob in the morning to get to the office and say "hey, lets do an operating system thats in the cloudz trololololol" and everyone is "yay let's do it! for the lulz" and then it's magically delivered inside a custom laptop thanks to pounds of unicorn dust stolen from Cupertino. /s

In all seriousness: Let's say We have a translation team which need to access a webapp to manage and translate stuff and it sucks because it's a poorly build and expensive licensed webapp -IE6 only shit level- that usually fails on the ultra secure WinXP... So What do we do? Oh right migrate to have Google docs accounts and the team can now work in groups if they need to. Calendar and communications integrated in the google accounts fixed and managed w/out a CS PhD IT Preventor in the way.

Why would they need a full laptop with Windows or OS X or Linux? Really? Is not hard to find lots of workflows that don't need anything else than a webbrowser, docs and IM.

ChromeOS is probably the most underrated Google project because is the only thing that can ACTUALLY bite Microsoft in the butchecks. Hope they don't let it die.

Re:What is the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36995216)

Why would they need a full laptop with Windows or OS X or Linux? Really?

Because I can get one of those *much cheaper* than a chromebook (have you seen those pricepoint?), then install google chrome and do anything I'd be able to do with a chromebook (and few things more).

I'd be tempted by a chromebook if they were 50% cheaper than an equivalent laptop/netbook, I really dont get how they can sell chromebooks at those pricepoint compared to netbook and laptops.

Re:What is the point? (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 2 years ago | (#36996056)

The model has been tried before with those "internet appliances" that came out ten years ago. Granted they weren't portable, but they were cheaper then the average desktop at the time and were designed to strictly surf the net. Nobody bought them back then (except for geeks that hacked them into usable machines). Larry Ellison's dreams were crushed when the Think NIC went nowhere.

Re:What is the point? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37005110)

Granted they weren't portable,

Your munificence is appreciated.

but they were cheaper then the average desktop at the time

Certanly not in the UK ; I suspect not anywhere, unless you were buying them by the lorry-load. In which case, hardware costs fall well below the rest of your IT cost load.

and were designed to strictly surf the net.

More precisely the corporate INTRA-net, with the possibility of going out onto the INTER-net. During your lunch break. I never heard of anyone other than trade journalists contemplating them for domestic use.

Re:What is the point? (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012480)

These aren't SunRay terminal type devices, but they might not have been common or available outside of the US and were quite the rage in 2000-01. Look up the Netpliance iOpener, 3com Audrey, and the Sony eVilla. They were sold to home users at highly subsidized prices with the expectation that a 2 year dial-up internet subscription contract would pay off the cost of the hardware.

Re:What is the point? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37013122)

Ahhh, that would be about the time that Compuserve was invaded by hordes of knuckle-dragging AOLers, often complaining about not getting their "rebate"? I remember the wave of spittle and bile that washed through CIS around then, but I wasn't aware that it was driven by this sort of equipment.

None of those device names ring any bells at all. I'd already forsworn Sony by that point, and even so don't remember an "eVilla". "Audrey"? iOpener? SunRay? All complete blanks.

Ummm, at that time I was on a £17/month dial-up deal with a maximum online time of 2 hours (but no limit on dialling back in, so I just set up a dial-up/ NAT/ Firewall/ box in the cupboard and that kept the line going most of the time. So that was £408 approx every 2 years. Yes, I could see that there was some potential there for a tie-in deal to make a profit over all.

Anyway, I don't recall ever having seen one or heard of one. Not even in a junk pile at a computer fair.

Re:What is the point? (1)

That Guy From Mrktng (2274712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011118)

In my example, because it's the first thing that came to my head, I'd say the company just want the users to stick to the Chrome OS for their work and everything else it's blocked. They can't download work to USBs or mail it anywhere than a fixed recipient list.

And sure you can buy lots of cheap laptops and shove ChromeOS in them but I think (irdk) that would void the warranty and no sane company would buy 100s of new computers to lose warranty in the next week. You point makes sense anyway, I would not buy it for that single reason (I'm more o less driven for the bang/buck ratio) is not cheaper than average cheap laptop if we were talking about a single candid geek purchasing a single laptop but I guess the whole thing is aimed to corporations: say mass discount in hardware and account costs, I really don't even know if Google have mass licensing options like MS.

And I also agree with you on the point that a limited open source OS laptop should have a smaller price compared to similar espec full featured Win laptop, Since that is outside Google control AFAIK maybe it's OEMs milking out the novelty and nothing more.

Re:What is the point? (2)

dirt (1129) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994560)

Because you don't want to patch Outlook on a distributed fleet of 700 salesmen's laptops?

Chromebooks aren't about the hardware. It's entirely about the software and the support. Look how many people are already using Google Docs. Now imagine if you're a major clothing designer. You're not a tech company, why should you invest so heavily in tech? Use IT like a service, like power or water, to get your job done.

Re:What is the point? (2)

jasomill (186436) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995252)

Google provides support?

Seriously, though, what happens when Google patches 700 salesmen's laptops at an inopportune time? According to the documentation,

Customers on the Scheduled Release track gain access to new features on a regular, weekly release schedule following the initial release of those features. This delay allows time for administrators to familiarize themselves with new features using a test domain, educate support staff, and communicate any changes to their users. New features will be released on the Scheduled Release track each Tuesday, with at least a one-week notice following the initial feature launch.

What? Google expects "customers with complex IT environments" to "familiarize themselves with new features using a test domain, educate support staff, and communicate any changes to their users" in a week?

Google clearly has a rather superficial [norvig.com] sense of familiarization in mind. Moreover, what sort of users, other than "IT people with nothing more interesting to do," would want to rely on a perfectly satisfactory tool to change on a weekly basis? Is it conceivable that Google's idea of "customer satistfaction" is akin to "boiling a frog" [snopes.com]?

Perhaps Google Apps' target market is people who want an excuse to avoid taking the time to learn how to use their tools and companies who want an excuse to avoid training?

Re:What is the point? (2)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995688)

On the other hand if it is changing on a weekly basis, them many times there will be no new features to familiarize yourself with, or there will be only one or two small features. One person could spend an hour or two testing in those cases. (If nobody can afford that, then the company should have hired another person for IT prior to rolling out the chrome-book, especially since the rollout process could easily monopolize the time of a member of IT for several weeks.

Educating support staff on an invisible bug fix consists of doing exactly nothing. For small features, it may also consist of extremely little.

Communicating changes to end users should always be even less involved than educating the support staff. Basically an extremely high level overview like "You can now plug your Android phones/tablets into the chrome-book and see the files on it" should be enough. Those afraid to experiment can ask support for more details.

Re:What is the point? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37003350)

As others have pointed out, it is about the provisioning and maintenance. Chromebooks are essentially interchangeable. Suppose I log into one and do a ton of work, and then it gets stolen that afternoon. My data is secure since it is fully encrypted (with TPM support), and if I log into a new one in a few seconds all my bookmarks, extensions, applications, etc are up and running. And of course my files are all in the cloud. The only thing I'd lose is anything cached offline (a la html5), or the local file store if you're dumb enough to keep anything on it (it is intended just to be a place to download/view files, or download them from website A to upload them to website B).

For a more sophisticated setup provisioning just requires the admin to log in once using a special account, and then all the company's policies get automatically applied, and can be updated from a web-based dashboard.

So, a small business just needs a laptop for each employee, and one or two spares in the closet. That is, assuming they can run entirely off the cloud. For a true cloud-based company the only local infrastructure they would require is a WiFi access point, and maybe a consultant to help set it all up. Compared to the cost of backing up, virus protecting, encrypting, and provisioning replacement laptops, it is a bargain. Now, if your small business skimps on that stuff then they could do it cheaper with a bunch of consumer laptops, but then you're rolling the dice anytime somebody loses a laptop (or browses the web with outdated antivirus), and your employees will spend a lot of time tweaking their desktops any time they get a new system.

Oh, and employees can swap laptops without the risk of them getting into each other's data - the secure boot process ensures that nobody has root without you knowing about it, and individual home dirs are encrypted.

I'm not saying Chrome is without fault or limitation - clearly it isn't going to work for everybody yet - at least not 100%. However, if I were running a small business not in the IT domain, I'd probably strongly consider it. Drive down the street on the way to work and 95% of the places you pass probably don't need any software on the desktop that can't run in a web browser these days.

Re:What is the point? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995336)

It's the market which has one or more laptops only used for websurfing. You know, like most people who have a laptop today. I guess it's weird to serve "most people" when you could serve a niche. No, wait, that's not weird at all. You are.

Re:What is the point? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#36997758)

It's the market which has one or more laptops only used for websurfing. You know, like most people who have a laptop today. I guess it's weird to serve "most people" when you could serve a niche. No, wait, that's not weird at all. You are.

So instead of buying a netbook for $300, I can have a locked-down netbook (ChromeOS is locked down walled garden, after all) for the same price.

Geez. When Apple does it, it's bad. When Google does it, it's good? (Especially since, well, an Android device shows up as mass storage...).

selling points (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995798)

Last I checked, the featureset includes:
  • powers on and is online in < 10 secs
  • documents, prefs (read: same experience anywhere, multiple user machines), and apps stored in cloud
  • wifi and 3G
  • an app store (they call it chrome web store or something like that)
  • supposedly very secure

Maybe someone who actually has one can fill in the blanks here.

Re:selling points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37000450)

Why Chromebook sounds nice:

Having all of our business users be able to swap machines at will and retain all their data is pretty attractive. We run a small business that gives users a lot of control over their machines, so having something that doesn't need antivirus patches and whatnot is attractive as well. The work we do is very cloud oriented already, so there's not much to do offline.

The instant on and Just Works promise is attractive at that price point - a Macbook Air could do that, but it's ~3x more expensive.


Not enough core applications to do it. Robust offline doc editing and interoperability with microsoft doc formats (ie, reading the comments on a Word Doc) is essential.

Re:What is the point? (1)

herojig (1625143) | more than 2 years ago | (#36996706)

There is a donkey in the last frame of that video, yet the pseudo scientist intellectual points to horse shit. I want to know why.
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