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At $250, New Chromebook Means Competition For Tablets, Netbooks, Ultrabooks

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the very-cute dept.

Chrome 283

Google's new ARM-powered Chromebook isn't a lot of things: it isn't a full-fledged laptop, it's not a tablet (doesn't even have a touch screen); and by design it's not very good as a stand-alone device. Eric Lai at ZDNet, though, thinks Chromebooks are (with the price drop that accompanies the newest version) a good fit for business customers, at least "for white-collar employees and other workers who rarely stray away from their corporate campus and its Wi-Fi network." Lai lists some interesting large-scale rollouts with Chromebooks, including 19,000 of them in a South Carolina school district. Schools probably especially like the control that ChromeOS means for the laptops they administer. For those who'd like to have a more conventional but still lightweight ARM laptop, I wonder how quickly the ARM variant of Ubuntu will land on the new version. (Looks like I'm not the only one to leap to that thought.)

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I don't get it (4, Insightful)

tommeke100 (755660) | about 2 years ago | (#41724671)

so what?!
How is this different from any generic netbook that comes out around the same price range (with a x86 processor may I add)?

Re:I don't get it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724695)

You get the CLOUD, son. The CLOUD. All your data can be stored in the CLOUD. The processor is not relevant. Cycles per second doesn't matter when you data is instantly accessible in the CLOUD. At our fingertips. We can scan, parse, and not store any data. Promise.

Re:I don't get it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724709)

stfu and gtfo

Re:I don't get it (5, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41724865)

Yeah, we know [dilbert.com] .

as long as you have a good network link (5, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41724915)

as long as you have a good network link and you better hope it's cap free and don't even think of roaming as it can cost $10 or more pre MEG!!

Re:I don't get it (4, Insightful)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41724755)

How is this different from any generic netbook that comes out around the same price range (with a x86 processor may I add)?

Power-efficient ARM setup with modest sized SSD and crippled OS. Just needs a proper Linux install to make a cheap and useful geek trophy. Subsized by Google, what's not to like about that. I wonder if it requires prorietary modules or firmware.

And I wonder how long Google will continue beating this dead horse.

Subsidised? Remember this hardware is cheap (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41724819)

The cost per unit of this sort of hardware isn't a lot and they only have to sell a few thousand to get their development costs back.

Re:Subsidised? Remember this hardware is cheap (3, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#41724917)

The cost per unit of this sort of hardware isn't a lot and they only have to sell a few thousand to get their development costs back.

We lose money on each unit but we make it up by selling in volume.

Re:Subsidised? Remember this hardware is cheap (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725063)

I'm pretty certain you meant to be funny there but it's not as strange as it sounds. By selling in volume, you get a LOT of devices out there which can be used for money generation in other ways. Haven't you ever wondered how Google makes money despite the fact that their flagship product (search) is free to use (as are quite a few of their other products)?

Re:Subsidised? Remember this hardware is cheap (2)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | about 2 years ago | (#41725293)

They make their money through advertising. It's not really a secret.

Re:Subsidised? Remember this hardware is cheap (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | about 2 years ago | (#41725295)

It's a race to the bottom.

They make the revenue by giving up your location and what you do. After all: this is Google we're talking about. Between Adsense and Google apps you use, there are no secrets. At.All.

People pay for your secrets, so buyers get a nebbishy netbook wannabe, and think they're getting a deal. Yeeeesh.

Like smartphones, they can sell it at or under cost and make money on the back-end.

Re:Subsidised? Remember this hardware is cheap (3, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#41725381)

10" ARM Android netbooks are retailing from $100-150 in China, so I'd say Google have a bit of room to earn money on their Chromebooks.

Re:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#41725093)

And given the same Watt-sucking screen as any other netbook, you'll see at most a 10% improvement in battery life. FAIL.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41725183)

As long as corperate america is suckign the up. They dont care about you. They care about the 1500 of them sold to XYZ corporation.

At work we are moving ALL the sales force over to them. Saving us a TON on IT costs.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725385)

Power-efficient ARM setup with modest sized SSD and crippled OS.

My Dell Inspiron 8600 from years ago still lasts 8.5 hours on a charge, and with a power-sucking a 1920 x 1200 screen. If technology has advanced so far then why has battery life regressed for this ARM-based device with a pathetic 1366 x 768 screen?

Re:I don't get it (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41725433)

Woah... did you just compare a $1700, 7 pound laptop to a $250, 2.5 pound laptop and conclude that the technology hasn't advanced?

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 2 years ago | (#41724771)

It's all about Chrome OS.

  1. No need for anti-malware... it runs a super-locked down variant of Linux. OS partition is mounted read-only and hash checks are done on every boot so it would be much more difficult for malware to get a foothold.
  2. Setup is fast and easy, with few more steps than Google Chrome's setup itself on other OSs. Even if you somehow break everything recovery is as easy as you would expect (get SD card/USB drive, run a Google tool on it, then boot the Chromebook from it to flash the system.
  3. Updates are as seamless and as easy as the Chrome browser does them.
  4. Everything is stored in the cloud so backups and data loss isn't a concern.
  5. It's just a browser with a minimal OS shell around it, so things are speedy, so the hardware can be on the light side and save a few dollars without sacrificing as much performance as if you loaded Ubuntu or Windows on it (I can personally confirm for the Cr48 that Chrome OS is much speedier than Ubuntu 12.04).
  6. Profile and settings sync means your settings, bookmarks, tabs, etc are synced between desktop, mobile (Chrome for Android), and laptop. If your Chromebook dies for some reason and you get a new one you will be quickly synced.

In short this is likely the ideal computer for someone who just uses their PC for the internet and a few things like word processing that they could be using the internet for. And it's great for someone who isn't technically inclined, no need for anti-malware and less opportunities for things to break and having to get a relative to fix it.

More improvements are coming in newer versions of Chrome/Chrome OS, including a set of APIs that allow for creating "native"-like applications that manage their own windows etc (still all HTML/JavaScript based of course).

Re:I don't get it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724795)

So when Microsoft locks down the bootloader, it's bad. But when Google does it, it's good.

Re:I don't get it (4, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | about 2 years ago | (#41724827)

So when Microsoft locks down the bootloader, it's bad. But when Google does it, it's good.

Of course. That's a well known law of nature.

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724867)

This is incorrect. The boot loader isn't locked down - it still allows developer mode where you can put whatever software you want on it.

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725397)

And you can even open it up and unlock the firmware to install your own boot loader, as stated by Google engineers at https://plus.google.com/u/0/109993695638569781190/posts/3EoeZU8QnNG

Re:I don't get it (1)

MBCook (132727) | about 2 years ago | (#41724825)

So it's slightly cheaper than an older iPad, but gets worse battery life. It has a fraction of the software of an iPad, and isn't as easy to whip out and use since you have to fold out the keyboard. It's less features than an netbook (which you could restrict down to be malware free) but at the same cost.

I'm just not sure about the value on these things.

Re:I don't get it (5, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41725119)

So it's slightly cheaper than an older iPad, but gets worse battery life. It has a fraction of the software of an iPad, and isn't as easy to whip out and use since you have to fold out the keyboard. It's less features than an netbook (which you could restrict down to be malware free) but at the same cost.

I'm just not sure about the value on these things.

iPad2 [apple.com] : $399 ($529 with 3G). 9.2" 1024x768 screen. No keyboard

Samsung Chromebook [samsung.com] : $249 ($329 with 3G) 11.6" 1366x768 screen, keyboard, touchpad, USB 3.0/2.0 ports, SD Card slot

I'm not sure I'd say that $150 - $200 is "slightly cheaper".

Re:I don't get it (4, Funny)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41724851)

No need for anti-malware... it runs a super-locked down variant of Linux.

Car analogy time. Fill a sedan up to the windows with concrete and nobody will be able to steal it. You also won't be able to drive it to the store to buy groceries but nobody will be able to steal it.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724999)

Unless they use a tow truck, of course.

Re:I don't get it (3, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 2 years ago | (#41724945)

"Everything is stored in the cloud so backups and data loss isn't a concern."

Say again ? How many examples of people losing access to some or all of their data definitively (the MS Sidekick fiasco for example) do we need for people to finally realize that the only safe place for your data is.... several backups that you physically have and have spread in different locations. If "the cloud" is so safe, why do each and every cloud license agreement state and restate end rerestate and rererere.. that the cloud provider is liable for *NOTHING* if they lose, mangle, destroy, distribute... your data. Same as no bank ever lost all your money... except at least banks offer a guarantee, and that guarantee is federally-backed.

Also, on top of the risk of definitive loss, you also
- may lose access to your data everytime there is a 'net outage (never climb into a fast train or a plane, unless you're willing to pay through the nose),
- don't have any guarantee that your data is confidential (no clue as to who has access to it, including your subcontractor's subcontractor's trainee in some 3rd world country.

So, stop it with the "the cloud is safe" mantra. It is not, and only idiots believe that.

Re:I don't get it (4, Insightful)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41725075)

Cloud is way safer than your typical malware ridden PC.

Re:I don't get it (3, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#41725111)

I know a couple uses for it. One of them, is essentially a remote terminal, assuming it has Citrix or other receiver support.

For typing stuff and general business/IT stuff (remote logins), it is a lot easier to do that with a keyboard than on a tablet, especially when dealing with a number of screen or text sessions.

Also, if the Chromebook gets stolen/seized, it is "just" a hardware loss except for saved browser preferences. An attacker might be able to tell what sites were visited with Chrome, but there would be little to no sensitive data physically on that device.

No, it isn't a game machine, but if I needed something to take out with me on a vacation trip where I had to log from remote, it would be immensely useful.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725269)

Install linux, encrypt your drive and it's a hardware loss too. I'm not always near wifi when I need my data. I back up my data to the cloud but I use it locally. This is a fancy browsing machine. Perhaps useful for remote terminal stuff as well, that's about it.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725171)

As much as I appreciate ChromeOS'es security architecture, if your documents are living in the Cloud, eventually that's where your malware will live also.

Re:I don't get it (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41725477)

I'm not sure what you mean? There are certainly "macro" type malware that infect documents, but most of it gets at you executables. If your executables are all read-only from Google's servers, how are you going to infect them?

Re:I don't get it (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#41725219)

It seems like it is going a step forward from what we really need right now. Still the linux arena is not the mess that is windows to worry right now for linux malware (at least, in 2-3 orders of magnitude that it should in windows). There are few differences between a netbook with ubuntu or another linux based (fedora, ubuntu/debian variants, mer, openwebos, firefox os, etc) os preinstalled using even google apps and chrome for most of your data, it could even be running under arm architecture and a pretty similar hardware. The main difference is that you have an alternative. You can run local programs if you want, you can store some files locally if you need to.

Yes, you need protection, people tries to put malware in your computer, you could lose data, or your hardware breaks, but that shouldn't stop you for doing something you really intend, bad things also can happen elsewhere, in particular in google in any of the points that connects you with it, and you don't want a brick in that event.

Still thinking that the idea behind netbooks, small, cheap, with long battery time, linux based portable computers to mainly access internet and all that is there is the right idea. You could improve it giving them some good hardware (processor, screen), be able to turn them into tablets and back, even being able to run a tablet-like environment if you choose to. But making them more expensive, vulnerable and more complex that they should be installing on them windows (requiring antivirus?) or limiting them (tying it to google, as in you could't use it at all if you can't access google) are a step backward.

Re:I don't get it (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41724781)

They are not netbooks, that is the difference. Increasingly we have a workforce that simply needs to connect to a database, do email. Firms are buying expensive computers, repairing them, reimaging them after virus attacks, basically paying for functionality that is not needed. A *nix machine can provide only needed functionality, but can be more expensive to implement.

With this machine you are looking at $300 per workstation, google apps included. For certain uses, you are talking about a a complete cubicle farm for what one could put on a credit card. And if a computer breaks, just swap it out.

I can see these used in call centers. I can see these use in certain school situations. I can see this for use in the home for small kids. I can't see a laptop matching this price point, at least not one that is going to last a few years.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41724925)

Increasingly we have a workforce that simply needs to connect to a database, do email.

... and has $250 to waste on a device that is a brick without a net connection, purely because of crippled software. Good luck with that.

Re:I don't get it (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41725221)

Increasingly we have a workforce that simply needs to connect to a database, do email.

... and has $250 to waste on a device that is a brick without a net connection, purely because of crippled software. Good luck with that.

Many offices are already dead without a 'net connection - no connection to financial systems, email at the corporate office, etc. If they are lucky they have a local fileserver, but can't do much without the network. Which is why they tend to have redundant connections (i.e. a leased line back to the corporate office and VPN over public internet as a backup).

Re:I don't get it (4, Interesting)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 2 years ago | (#41725259)

This is correct but you forgot VOIP. Many businesses are using VOIP or a PBX. Losing Internet access would mean losing the phones. I am a lawyer with my own small office. If my Internet went down (and I didn't have my smartphone) then that means no phone service, no Westlaw access for legal research, and no email. Internet access to me is as important as electricity service. I believe that I'm not an outlier.

Re:I don't get it (3, Informative)

germansausage (682057) | about 2 years ago | (#41725541)

Actually, our office runs full-on engineering workstations with $800 video cards in $2000 PCs. And they're bricks without a net connection too. What's your point?

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725209)

I got a chromebook for my grandparents last year and it has worked out perfectly. All they need is a web browser, and now that is exactly what they have. Locking down another system is just not the same as handing them one that just works out of the box. Saved me lots of time in setup and support.

Re:I don't get it (0)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41724869)

The difference is of course:

1. A queer lock down experience. With resources found on the web you can root your device so that you can actually own it. Until they lock you down again in the next version. Very kinky indeed!
2. Privacy invasion. Now you can give your private information to big corporations with much more ease! And betray your friends too!
3. A large percentage of your money will be donated to lawyers. Help feed those poor bastards!
4. Spoil it for the nerds. With this laptop, you can help big corporations improve their new lock-in business models, and make generic computing devices more obsolete than ever! Soon, nerds will not even be able to find a brand of computer they can actually write code for freely!
5. Be laughed at by Apple users. Your not-so-round corners, and scientifically founded (thus not magical) features will make you an instant comedian!

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724959)

It only runs a web browser. No ios apps, no android apps, no x86 apps. You won't be able to upgrade its miserable 2GB of ram or attach an ethernet cable and it hardly has any cache. Might as well fuck yourself in the leg with it; it's a DOA POS that will be filling landfills by the end of 2013.

I spent the same amount on an Acer last year and I can read/write DVDs on it, have a moderate HD (250 GB), 15.6" screen and dual-boot Win7 and Linux w/o hacks. I upgraded the mem to 10GB for ~$25 and it has a Radeon 6310. Even before the mem upgrade, I could compile FPGA code, FV-1 code, AVR code, STM32F4 code and develop games with Game Maker on it. Oh yeah, I can also run what the Chromebook "cellphone in a laptop body" does. faster.

Fools and their money.

Re:I don't get it (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41725229)

It only runs a web browser. No ios apps, no android apps, no x86 apps. You won't be able to upgrade its miserable 2GB of ram or attach an ethernet cable and it hardly has any cache. Might as well fuck yourself in the leg with it; it's a DOA POS that will be filling landfills by the end of 2013.

I spent the same amount on an Acer last year and I can read/write DVDs on it, have a moderate HD (250 GB), 15.6" screen and dual-boot Win7 and Linux w/o hacks. I upgraded the mem to 10GB for ~$25 and it has a Radeon 6310. Even before the mem upgrade, I could compile FPGA code, FV-1 code, AVR code, STM32F4 code and develop games with Game Maker on it. Oh yeah, I can also run what the Chromebook "cellphone in a laptop body" does. faster.

Fools and their money.

How much does your $250 15" acer weigh, and how long does it last on batteries? I wouldn't buy a Chromebook as my primary machine, but sounds perfect for travel or catching up on email on the train on the way to work. (the keyboard makes it more convenient than a tablet for replying to emalis)

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725059)

Quicker boot time and no need for virus software. These computers are ideal for netbooks since all you're doing is surfing the web and light word processing.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41725169)

It's better than a Dell because it won't let you install anything and it protects you from getting a Microsoft infection of Windows.

Could be a decent spare machine. (4, Interesting)

Dzimas (547818) | about 2 years ago | (#41724675)

Unlike previous iterations of ChromeOS, this version allows at least a semblance of being able to work offline - there's an offline email client and you can use Google Docs without an internet connection. That said, I'm not sure it matters much because I suspect that very few typical users actually work offline much. Access to the web, email and social media pretty well requires a connection.

The really cool think here is that we're seeing the impact of Moore's Law in new direction. ARM-based hardware in its various guises (cheap notebooks, tablets and smartphones) has ushered in a wave of inexpensive machines that has been made possible by the availability of incredibly cheap chipsets that are just good enough for the task at hand at prices that are absolutely astounding (I remember carrying a work-issued laptop in 1996 that cost almost $3,000).

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (1)

Dzimas (547818) | about 2 years ago | (#41724691)

And, unlike this retarded tablet that autocorrects my slimy screen taps into a weird ESL interpretation of what I meant to write, the damn thing actually has a keyboard.

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (4, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41724729)

... and unlike netbooks, It's unlikely Microsoft will weasel in with a version of their OS for this hardware ... although with WinRT, I guess it is possible. At least it will force the price down. I kind of like the idea of this in general as a maintenance-free laptopn, but I really don't understand why people don't just install Ubuntu or something. They'd get almost all of the safety, but with a full offline OS.

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725071)

Wow. They could probably photograph that chip on your shoulder from space. Only on Slashdot do you see people who are so bitter over so little.

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (2)

arkane1234 (457605) | about 2 years ago | (#41725263)

Why, because he voiced his opinion? I realize the whole Linux crowd has drifted away, but some of us are left. Keep that in mind.

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725509)

Windows RT works in a very similar way. It has all the cloud stuff + local storage. All settings and user files can be synced to the windows account, if you're on your win8 tablet you can go over to your desktop, log in, and it will look and work the same as your tablet, and you can get started on that document because it will be synced over.

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41724733)

netbooks have been in the 250 or less range for years now. and there x86.

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724857)

$250 netbooks are terrible. This looks like a really nice machine.

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725043)

I really like my Acer Aspire One for $228 at Walmart.

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725135)

this looks like every other 250$ netbook out there, cept its not x86 so I cant run what I want to

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | about 2 years ago | (#41725287)

Atom == x86...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom_processor [wikipedia.org]
Most netbooks are not ARM, including Acer Aspire One. I have one I bought back when I had very little cash due to job searching. Thank god I became employed, and could afford something better.

Re:Could be a decent spare machine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725409)

He was talking about the chromebook, dickhead. This one runs on ARM.

To hell with Chrome OS (5, Insightful)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 2 years ago | (#41724677)

A real Linux distro is where it is at.
The big advantage over other ARM based netbook hacks is that this one has a driver accelerated X (since ChromeOS is just a Linux distro) and not just some Android graphics driver.
Too bad it looks like they won't be selling them in Australia.

Re:To hell with Chrome OS (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41724839)

Too bad it looks like they won't be selling them in Australia.

China is not far away and their are a pile of places where the business model is a Chinese expat getting stuff from China, as well as the option of getting stuff direct from Hong Kong from people fluent in English.

Re:To hell with Chrome OS (1)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#41725249)

Except stuff from China tends to be riddled with GPL violations and stuck with some ancient, decrepit version of Android.

Re:To hell with Chrome OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725449)

Except stuff from China tends to be riddled with GPL violations and stuck with some ancient, decrepit version of Android.

That's so not true: every recent Gingerbread installation I've seen out of China carries a Jellybean version number in Settings-About! Oh, wait...

1st thing (3, Insightful)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about 2 years ago | (#41724699)

1st thing I thought when reading about these was "will I be able to put another OS on it". I have very little interest in ChromeOS, but Android, linux, or even Windows RT, and now you've got my attention.

Hackability of new Chromebooks (3, Interesting)

bostonidealist (2009964) | about 2 years ago | (#41724717)

Evidently, the new Chromebooks don't have a physical dev mode switch (the old ones used to break a lot), but can be put into dev mode via a firmware switch [google.com] . The price and combination of expansion ports (USB 3.0, HDMI, etc.), make this a pretty appealing target for hacking, although the ARM architecture means that lots of software will have to be recompiled, as the original post mentions.

Re:Hackability of new Chromebooks (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | about 2 years ago | (#41725379)

too bad that there is no driver for the gpu in linux.. still going to grab one, eventually. i always wanted a arm system.

Re:Hackability of new Chromebooks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725505)

Pardon my ignorance, but the gpu will surely work in ChromeOS.
Since ChromeOS is built on linux, doesn't that imply that there is a linux driver for this gpu somewhere?

Why bother? (1)

Xacid (560407) | about 2 years ago | (#41724735)

"it isn't a full-fledged laptop, it's not a tablet (doesn't even have a touch screen); and by design it's not very good as a stand-alone device."

So....it's a crappy piece of tech? I don't get who they expect to market this to. Business customers? Really? Pipe dream if you ask me.

Re:Why bother? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724835)

I thought the same thing. "I have no use for this, in my life." Then someone pointed out where this fits: in the hands of every person that has ever asked me for tech support. This is perfect for the non geeks in my life. I'd love to never be asked to figure x a laptop again and this may just fit that mold.

Re:Why bother? (1, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#41725013)

be real, the second a non geek gets their hands on one you will be called up and buried in dumbshit questions like, "why doesnt my GPS map updater work on it", "how do I install EXCEL", "my yahoo account doesnt work"

I agree with DMX (1)

anarkhos (209172) | about 2 years ago | (#41724737)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDs7F4x3Dyo

Stop, drop, shut it down google non stop
Oh, no
That's how Ruff Ryders scroll...

Yawn (4, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 2 years ago | (#41724751)

call me when it's $100. At $250 I can wait for Black Friday and get a 15.6" i3 with Win 7 Home. Heck, I can buy one of those right no for another $100. Maybe if the packaging was sleeker I could get behind it (e.g. all titanium and whatnot).

Re:Yawn (5, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 2 years ago | (#41724841)

Yes, and that laptop will be heavier, more bulky, less secure, have much worse battery life, start up much slower, resume from sleep much slower, etc. etc.

Chromeboks are brilliant machines for people who value price, convenience, and security over versatility.

Re:Yawn (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#41725147)

I dont follow how a machine that phones home to do anything is "more secure"

you can also get 250$ netbooks that run on atom, get similar battery life, dont have to be connected to use the fucking calulator and run every common home app ever made, whats the point of a chromebook?

Re:Yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725207)

Secure as in "far less likely to get you a trojan", but if you want to back up your "phone home" claim, please go ahead.

Netbooks are still running Windows, which means a lot of overhead leading to slower processing and worse battery life. They're less secure because of it as well. They won't start up or resume as quickly. Their screens will be smaller.

For many, many people, the only thing they use a computer for is web-related activities or things that can be done on the web. Why is a machine tailored to that purpose not a good thing?

Re:Yawn (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | about 2 years ago | (#41725227)

Fancy that, multiple choices! It's almost like we have a choice, or something...

Re:Yawn (4, Insightful)

pnot (96038) | about 2 years ago | (#41724861)

At $250 I can wait for Black Friday and get a 15.6" i3 with Win 7 Home.

As far as I'm concerned, an extra 4" of screen (with attendant bulk, weight, and battery life reduction) would be a liability rather than an asset. Same goes for Windows. I realize that my needs are not everyone's, but I suspect there are a lot of people out there who don't want to lug a 15.6" machine around.

As reliable as the network (1)

Macrat (638047) | about 2 years ago | (#41724821)

19,000 of them in a South Carolina school district.

I foresee a lot of downtime in the classroom each time there is a glitch in the the school's wifi or network.

Re:As reliable as the network (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about 2 years ago | (#41725181)

I foresee a lot of downtime in the classroom each time there is a glitch in the the school's wifi or network.

Which, from what I have seen, would happen if they were using standard laptops from Dell. You'd be surprised how much a non-cloud device still relies on a working network.

Re:As reliable as the network (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41725301)

19,000 of them in a South Carolina school district.

I foresee a lot of downtime in the classroom each time there is a glitch in the the school's wifi or network.

That wouldn't surprise me; but any school system(or other enterprise setup) shoving 19,000 clients around is likely going to be toast if the network glitches in any case:

You can't trust a laptop hard drive even as far as you can throw it, so it is typical for the user's home or documents directory to be a mount from a fileserver. That certainly doesn't function any better for losing connectivity. Authentication is usually centralized, so if you can't talk to the domain controller(or OpenDirectory server, if this is one of those mac schools), only the IT guy and maybe some users who have logged in recently enough to have cached credentials can even log on... Plus, for most any use case that isn't straight typing(which these 'ChromeOS' things apparently do support in offline mode, the kiddies aren't going to be doing much research, email, collaboration, whatever without a network connection in any case.

I am a bit surprised that a school district would do this, given how many textbook vendors have some dreadful software tied to their paper product(either ghastly we-kidnapped-shareware-programmers-from-1998 win32 stuff, or 'Web based' material that only works with IE7 in compatibility mode, 3 adobe plugins, Java, and a sprinkling of holy wter) which the Chromebooks wouldn't work with; but I'd be overwhelmingly surprised if they were getting better uptime with whatever they had before. Probably worse, once you count the greater odds of hardware failure in a system with moving parts and an OS more likely to be toasted by software oddities.

Competition with netbooks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724837)

What is the advantage of a Chromebook over a netbook? I could get a low-end netbook, with Windows included and the possibility of installing a good Linux distro, for the same price.

Way too many limitations (4, Insightful)

sk999 (846068) | about 2 years ago | (#41724943)

Given that a Chromebook works best when on a network, at least it should get the network stuff right. Right?

VPN - does it support, say, Cisco AnyConnect? No.
Kerberos? Not that I can tell.
Printing? Sure, if my organization is willing to install "Google Cloud Print Connector".

Baslcally, this thing might work fine if your entire business runs in the Google universe. Otherwise, get a netbook.

Re:Way too many limitations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725115)

Given that a Chromebook works best when on a network, at least it should get the network stuff right. Right?

VPN - does it support, say, Cisco AnyConnect? No.

Seems like there are instructions over here: http://support.google.com/chromeos/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1282338 [google.com]

Kerberos? Not that I can tell.

LDAP with Kerberos? I think the way to do it would involve setting up SSO for Google Apps for Business, then having the chromebook auth against that.

Printing? Sure, if my organization is willing to install "Google Cloud Print Connector".

This page seems to suggest otherwise: http://support.google.com/chromeos/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1069542 [google.com]

Baslcally, this thing might work fine if your entire business runs in the Google universe. Otherwise, get a netbook.

I don't disagree with your conclusion, just your support for it. :)

Re:Way too many limitations (2)

sk999 (846068) | about 2 years ago | (#41725557)

[Backdrop - the requirements I enumerated were only a partial list of what I need to get my day job done.]

VPN - The link you provide says that "Cisco AnyConnect is supported when configured with L2TP over IPSec." Unfortunately the VPNs I need to connect to all run in SSL mode - not supported.

Kerberos - Google's SSO is of no use. I need to authenticate against my organization's servers.

Printing - here be dragons. Google's solution (for "classic printers") assumes that your printer is plugged into a computer. How retro. At work, all the printers at work are network-connected. Even my home printer is now.

All of the above limitations have solutions that could easily be implemented in ChromeOS. But before long, you now have an OS that is not any different from what you would find on a ... netbook.

Lots of blind opinions (1)

gone.fishing (213219) | about 2 years ago | (#41724949)

Lotta people who haven't even seen it yet are sure rendering authoritative opinions. Me thinks the proper thing to do is to wait and see and decide for myself, or at least to talk to someone with real experience. I like Googles stuff in general and hope I would like their Chromebook and the Chrome O/S as well.

Re:Lots of blind opinions (2)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#41725197)

As a Web terminal, my Cr-48 is fucking brilliant. Unbreakable operating system, nearly instant wake from sleep, good keyboard, touchpad, and screen. I'd take it over a tablet any day for web use, and it's been a daily driver of mine since December '10.

It's really only good as a web terminal, though. Doesn't run much on itself. Can do games that you can d/l from the Chrome store, but the old hardware's a bit slow - Atom N455 and 2GB of RAM. There's production hardware from Samsung that's got a Sandy Bridge-derived Celeron, which I expect is plenty fast.

Basically it's a brilliant second machine for technically-minded people, or a primary box for one's grandmother or luser father who keeps getting viruses from looking at internet porn, or for anyone who only needs Internet access. I almost never print from mine, but if you want to print you'll either need another computer serving out the printer, or a specially-enabled printer that can talk directly.

three questions (2)

mojo-raisin (223411) | about 2 years ago | (#41724961)

Can it mount an external USB drive?
Can it play flac audio?
Can it route audio to a USB DAC?

Re:three questions (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725017)

> Can it mount an external USB drive?
Yes

> Can it play flac audio?
Yes
https://sites.google.com/a/chromium.org/dev/audio-video
" When build Google Chrome OS, the following codecs/containers are also included:
FLAC audio codec"

> Can it route audio to a USB DAC?
http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/21/chrome-os-update-includes-custom-wallpapers/
"audio can now play through either HDMI or USB."

Web Apps already failed, ChromeOS is obsolete (3, Interesting)

goruka (1721094) | about 2 years ago | (#41724965)

Remember 2008, when the future was supposedly going to be Web Apps? Back then, we were to believe that native development was going to die and the future was applications programmed in HTML5, running on JIT-based JavaScript interpreters inside the web browser.

Since then, App Stores materialized and proven to be highly successful. Developers have again and again refused to develop their apps in HTML5 and clearly preferred to go native.
Apple, added an App Store to OSX, Android and Blackberry did the same and Microsoft is also going the same way with Windows 8.

So, ChromeOS is based on a premise that didn't really catch on. I can't blame Google for insisting on this since the web is their main source of revenue, but at this point they should just adapt the highly successful Android OS to handle the Desktop metaphor and forget about Web Apps. It didn't work.
Same should apply to Firefox and their Firefox OS..

Re:Web Apps already failed, ChromeOS is obsolete (1)

occasional_dabbler (1735162) | about 2 years ago | (#41725041)

I don't think it's true to say that web apps didn't catch on, but the better ones are simulacra of native apps like the MS office web apps or Apple iCloud/iWork apps. You can use them if you have to but you sure as hell fire up a native app if it's available instead.

Now if ChromeOS could run IE6, then all those hideous web apps used in company intranets would work and they'd have a product!

Re:Web Apps already failed, ChromeOS is obsolete (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 2 years ago | (#41725091)

Web apps have failed? They have on mobile devices, where the app's responsiveness is everything. But the desktop app stores (OSX and Windows 8) have yet to prove themselves. Especially in the corporate world where it seems that web apps have won. Some years ago it looked like native apps delivered through Citrix to a thin client were going to be the wave of the future, but these days pretty much any corporate resource other than Office and Exchange is delivered through the browser. Personally I agree and would pick an Android device over this Chrome stuff anytime, but IT managers might beg to differ. And I would not be so hasty as to declare web apps dead.

at 250$ why would I buy it? (2, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#41724993)

its arm so it wont run the applications I want
its slow and light on ram
it requires me to be attached to the internet to access my storage
its got a shit camera (640x480? really? my 5 year old free phone has a 1.2mp camera douche)
its not even all that good on battery life

why is this compelling?

Re:at 250$ why would I buy it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725085)

Because it's Google, man :-)

Androiod Please (1)

bartoku (922448) | about 2 years ago | (#41725033)

I will take a dozen if they come with a desktop optimized (mouse and physical keyboard) UI option for Android, an Android desktop section in the app market, and open source drivers.

Cloud storage violates our security standards. (2)

gelfling (6534) | about 2 years ago | (#41725039)

So other than zero corporate use and how it's not much cheaper than a netbook which, as a sector of the market died more than a year ago and it's nowhere near high powered enough for most actual use that's not browsing, I don't see a single thing wrong with it.

What version of ie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725077)

""for white-collar employees and other workers who rarely stray away from their corporate campus and its Wi-Fi network." "

Cool, what version of IE does it run?

you mean a Google Spy-On-Me-Book? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725157)

no thanks.

This vs asus transformer prime (1)

biojayc (856286) | about 2 years ago | (#41725239)

I bought an asus transformer prime rather than something like this thinking it would be better because it has a browser p.us the whole android Ecosystem and could easily be detached from the keyboard to be a tablet. However I have found the browsers to be incredibly slow compared to laptops or even an iPad. Not sure why this is the case, I'd expect the browser app to be super snappy as it would probably be the most used, but it just wasn't the case. I downloaded Chrome on it as well and it ran worse. I was quite surprised I must say. Side note, does things like Hulu and Netflix work on these?

Re:This vs asus transformer prime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725493)

The bundled Chrome browser on Android is shite. And it doesn't play well with Wi-Fi authentication... blowing away the contents of all your open tabs and their browsing history whenever you connect to a new network. I recommend you try out, in no particular order, Firefox, the many variants of Dolphin and the many variants of Opera.

Gentoo (1)

orodos (2726891) | about 2 years ago | (#41725253)

Just slap Gentoo on it...?

BRING BACK CHARLIE CHAPLIN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725311)

And bring back the IBM PC Jr !! If you don't like the keyboard, you can eat those keys !! NOTHING speaks of quality like chicklet keys !! Way to go, Google !!

But (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 years ago | (#41725521)

I don't want to keep my data in "The Cloud"

I keep my data on (micro)SD cards
Does it have a (micro)SD slot?

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