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Here Come the Chromebooks, As Google and Intel Cozy-Up On Haswell

timothy posted about a year ago | from the tradeoffs-and-favorites dept.

Chrome 139

MojoKid writes "News from Intel (and Google) today includes an announcement that more Chromebooks are on their way to market packing Intel's Haswell processors. The new chips are designed to consume less power, thus preserving battery life for an all-day charge, while still offering better overall performance. Google notes that there are schools in over 20% of school districts across the country that now use Chromebooks, and with prices for some of the machines dipping as low as $199, deploying fleets of these machines in academia is an attractive option. What's interesting is the alignment between Intel and Google now, which should cause folks in Redmond to smart a bit, as yet another major competitor to the Windows operating system seems to clearly be coming into focus. Intel-Google partners including Acer, ASUS, HP, and Toshiba will be rolling out Chromebooks based on Haswell soon, and they'll collectively be sporting more variety of form factors."

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Interesting (1, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#44832307)

11" display, SSD, running a cut-down Linux, intended primarily for use when connected to the Internet.

Hang on. Didn't we used to call these netbooks?

Re:Interesting (0)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44832343)

Hang on. Didn't we used to call these netbooks?

I think these are slightly worse, since they are designed to have pretty much constant connection with Google's services.

At least a netbook was just a small standalone laptop.

I've gotten the impression that a Chromebook without a pretty constant internet connection and fully buying into the Google ecosystem is going to be useless. I suspect it doesn't do much without being connected to those.

Re:Interesting (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832437)

Could always just replace it with a full blown Linux distro. Problem solved.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44833587)

Not really, you can abuse the debug mode to run things in a chroot. But AFAIK it's impossible to install a native Linux distro on their locked-down DRM hardware. It's not a standard pc.

Re:Interesting (5, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#44834167)

You'd be mistaken...

http://jeffhoogland.blogspot.ca/2012/12/bodhi-armhf-alpha-for-samsung-chromebook.html [blogspot.ca]

There's a more recent build of that particular distro for it, but that's the instructions for how to do it. That's not a chroot, it's a native boot. You can, if you choose, nuke the chrome partition entirely and go fully native.

Re:Interesting (3, Interesting)

butchersong (1222796) | about a year ago | (#44834393)

My problem with this is that if you do you're stuck with a new laptop with 2GB of (probably soldered on) RAM. I was really interested in these because all I really want is a light Linux haswell laptop with 9-10 hrs battery life. This though, it's really not a usable machine these days once you move away from google's OS.

Re:Interesting (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | about a year ago | (#44835661)

While for a full-blown laptop, I wouldn't skimp on RAM. However, something cheap may have less. I'm typing this on an Acer Aspire S3 (Bought it last week: it was on sale for cheap), which has -granted- 4GB RAM. It runs Ubuntu 12.04LTS and while I only have Terminal, Firefox and Thunderbird open, it uses a whopping 1.3GB RAM. So, even with 2GB, I'd be fine:

jorg@sanddevil:~$ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 3774 2710 1063 0 119 1429
-/+ buffers/cache: 1161 2612
Swap: 8191 0 8191

As, you can see... 1.4GB is used for buffers, but that can be freed up. 1GB is "truly" free, as in "not used at all". I don't think that 2GB would be much of a problem for "basic" usage and there are much lighter distros out there than Ubuntu.

So, yes, it might not be ideal, but I wouldn't exactly call it a dealbreaker.

For normal users, I usually recommend 4GB RAM... More is usually a waste for them, but 4GB is already with a big margin calculated in. Most, never fill it up. Regardless the OS.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832447)

Not anymore. Besides, if that's what you want, you have a choice to buy it in that configuration else it's pretty comical to install XFCE or whatever DE you choose. It IS a computer you know?

Re:Interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832511)

Oh, so it comes with a crappy customized Linux distro that you immediately wipe out and install Debian (or Mint or Arch or Fedora or whatever you prefer).

Yep, we definitely used to call these netbooks.

Re:Interesting (3, Interesting)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year ago | (#44832519)

Chromebooks are great for their target market, your parents. They work extremely well and boot up in seconds. You'll never receive another tech support call. Most cell phones today are worthless without connectivity. I'm sure you could go as far as using only the phone part and installing apps manually but what is the point? Different products are designed for different purposes and trying to use something for which it is not intended is being dumb. "Look I put Linux on a Chromebook, the wifi doesn't work and its command line only but who cares it boots!"

Re:Interesting (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44832569)

Oh, definitely -- we got the mother in law a Nexus 7, because what she really needed was something simple, which connected via wifi, and allowed her to get to the web and her email.

For many many people, these will probably cover everything they'll ever need to do and more.

I'm saying it's more limited in that it wants to be connected to the internet all the time and is highly dependent on the Google stuff. But for a lot of people, that is still probably all they'll need.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832713)

A Nexus 7 is not a Chromebook....

Re:Interesting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832783)

A Nexus 7 is not a Chromebook....

No shit, moron.

They do however cost about the same, and occupy about the same niche in the computer market -- for many people, they'll fill pretty much the same role since all they're doing is surfing the web anyway.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834131)

The main problem with getting one for older folk is screen size. It works fine for me and my kids, but big screens with large type is really useful. I'm sort of suprised Google didn't supply a "large print" option.

I've also seem complaints that while remote desktop to PCs is supported, remoting into the Chromebook is not. Anyone who's tried helping their nearly-deaf technology challenged parents over the phone understand the issue.

Thankfully, it appears Google is working on adding that particular feature.

Re:Interesting (2)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year ago | (#44834679)

You can always get the HP Chromebook which has a 14" screen. Same resolution as the 11" Samsung Chromebook so everything is "bigger" and provides a workable "large print" option.

Re:Interesting (2)

mrmaster (535266) | about a year ago | (#44834785)

The main problem with getting one for older folk is screen size. It works fine for me and my kids, but big screens with large type is really useful. I'm sort of suprised Google didn't supply a "large print" option.

I've also seem complaints that while remote desktop to PCs is supported, remoting into the Chromebook is not. Anyone who's tried helping their nearly-deaf technology challenged parents over the phone understand the issue.

Thankfully, it appears Google is working on adding that particular feature.

I've been pushing family members to chromebooks for awhile now. Hook the thing up to an external monitor and they are happy. I agree on the remote desktop issue. I can't remote in to some of them!

Re:Interesting (2)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about a year ago | (#44835005)

Re screen size, TFA mentions an ASUS ChromeBox, although I can't find any detail about it yet, but hopefully it'll be VESA mountable to keep things tidier.

Re:Interesting (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#44835463)

In a browser, pretty much any browser, CTRL-+ (shift equals) makes everything bigger.
All the users I support, at work and in the family, love that feature.
They pretty much only need browsers so chromebooks work well.

Re:Interesting (1)

fido_dogstoyevsky (905893) | about a year ago | (#44835703)

Chromebooks are great for their target market, your parents. ...

If my kids ever get me a Chromebook words will be said. Unpleasant words, spoken VERY LOUDLY.

But they probably won't, since they should know by now how I feel about crippled systems ("crippled" = "wiping existing OS and installing whatever I want needs more effort than booting from a USB device").

Re:Interesting (5, Interesting)

Dimwit (36756) | about a year ago | (#44832615)

I bought a Chromebook for my mother-in-law. For her, it's absolutely perfect: she can't break it too badly, there's essentially no risk of malware, updates are installed automatically, and it's got a keyboard. All she needs to do is read email, look at pictures of her grandson, and surf the web.

As for me, I want a Chromebook Pixel, but wiped and running a full distro of Linux...the hardware is gorgeous.

Re:Interesting (0)

tag (22464) | about a year ago | (#44832745)

there's essentially no risk of malware

...yet

Re:Interesting (5, Funny)

gishzida (591028) | about a year ago | (#44833077)

Actually... yes Malware is already available for devices like these... Its a multi-platorm, multi-government malware called NSA-ware(TM)... you can't leave home without it... but please don't tell anyone.... they might think we live in Soviet Russia.

Re:Interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44833243)

It is malware - google style.

Re:Interesting (1, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44833503)

As for me, I want a Chromebook Pixel, but wiped and running a full distro of Linux...the hardware is gorgeous.

Could always just replace it with a full blown Linux distro. Problem solved.

The pixel is one of the few Chromebooks you can install another OS with because it has a BIOS emulator. The other Chromebooks don't, so you can't install another Linux at all. ChromeOS uses coreboot I believe and as such, it's nice and secure.

The problem with the Pixel is rebooting Linux is a pain as you have to be in developer mode, then hit Ctrl-L every time in order to load the BIOS, otherwise it'll try to boot ChromeOS in developer mode (which you probably wiped).

Once installed, you'll find poor support for high-dpi displays (though it's changing, slowly - high-dpi support is coming to GNOME), and the touch screen works off the bat, but the touchpad probably won't...

For hardware, it's gorgeous. But the damned thing really doesn't want to run anything other than ChromeOS - besides being inconvenient to use (rebooting or turning it on, you must hit Ctrl-L within 30 seconds or it'll stall out and you'll have to power cycle it to restart it).

It's bad enough that there exists side-by-side chroot installs of Linux - which require entering developer mode and waiting 30 seconds until the bootloader times out and boots in developer mode.

Very nice locked down machines, yes. Running an alternate OS though, isn't very fun at all.

Of course, there's also the NSA factor - you're putting your data on Google's servers, after all...

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/09/why-the-nsa-loves-googles-chromebook/ [arstechnica.com]

Re:Interesting (2)

ultrasawblade (2105922) | about a year ago | (#44835475)

Linux doesn't need a BIOS to boot off of. Windows does. Windows has all the dumb BIOS, UEFI and ACPI dependencies. Linux can use ACPI but certainly runs without support for it enabled. Windows versions starting with Vista won't install at all on a non-ACPI system AFAIK.

I run Linux on a Guruplug with the U-boot bootloader. And I know coreboot can directly load a kernel + initrd and hand over control like a good bootloader is supposed to do.

Best of both worlds with Crouton (4, Interesting)

Idou (572394) | about a year ago | (#44833593)

I installed Crouton [github.com] on a Samsung Arm Chromebook, and it has since become my main computer. Basically, it is the best of both worlds, in my book. Hassle free web experience (including Netflix), and I can flip any time to a "real" computing environment (there must be limitations with chroot. . . just have not found any for my use yet. mplayer over sshfs would have been a deal breaker, but it works perfectly fine . . .).

I am very content, but the price was so cheap there is nothing stopping me from trying out a Chromebook with Haswell or whatever comes down the pipe. Good times.

Re:Best of both worlds with Crouton (2)

Dimwit (36756) | about a year ago | (#44835067)

The problem with Crouton is that anyone with a Google account has complete access to the chroot. All they have to do is login with their Google account, and then hope over to the chroot. The Crouton chroot is owned by the "Google Chrome User", of which there is only one, shared by all the Google Accounts on the box.

Even barring that, using Crouton still means sending data to Google, which I don't like.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44833973)

In case you are unaware. Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

Re:Interesting (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#44832851)

1) Store data online (or whatever. I don't know to what level this is true.)

2) Limited software which you can run on it.

3) Weak ass hardware (I assume) so that's another stop.

So what's good with it? Cheap-ass crap (?) laptop which have better battery life because it's cheap-ass crap and is cheaper because cheap-ass crap doesn't cost much.

Well. I guess there's some benefit in that.. But I gues it's not for me.

I'd rather pay more for more. Also fuck their surveillance.

Re:Interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834199)

There are applications that work in offline mode, such as Google Docs.

I spent the morning waiting in the dentist's office with a Chromebook typing away. Stupidly, the document didn't appear on the Google Drive when I closed it (it was created in offline mode), but it appeared when I reconnected to the internet later.

There are some games that also work in offline mode, and it'll play audio and video.

But yeah, it's pretty much supposed to be on-line.

Then again, my PC is pretty crippled when it's offline, too.

Back when netbooks had tiny SSD drives... (2)

Rob Y. (110975) | about a year ago | (#44834811)

The original netbooks had tiny SSD drives - which were a new thing at the time, and of course, were only big enough to handle a stripped down distro of Linux. So you couldn't use those netbooks as a small standalone laptop. That is, until Microsoft decided that you had to be able to load XP on them. The tiny SSD drives got replaced with 160 GB hard drives, and the things became a little less of what they were intended to be (ultra-portable, quick to boot and indestructible). But yeah, they also became cheap standalone laptops at that point. Until they started eating into laptop sales and MS and the OEMs started making them less and less attractive.

The funny part is that some Chromebooks (from Asus, I think) also had those 160GB drives, and could be easily reworked into Linux laptops. I think they were essentially existing netbook designs with Chrome OS replacing the crippled Windows 7 starter edition that they had been strong-armed into loading onto their netbooks. Best of both worlds: a non-crippled full desktop OS (with netbook UI variants) - or Chrome. No need to pay (or settle) for Win7 starter (is there a Win8 starter edition for netbooks today?).

Either way, the netbook has been vindicated. It's not a 'compromise' - it's what people want. Small, cheap, ultra-portable and indestructible is where todays market sweetspot lies. And for many people, that's an iPad mini or a Nexus 7. But even if you need a desktop machine a Chromebook fits the bill for many people, and geeks can even load Linux on them. Sure, there's still a market for pricier ultrabooks and the like, but pricier is relative. The $1000+ computer market is an ever shrinking one.

Re:Interesting (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#44832377)

I had a netbook and I mostly liked it, but it was also cheap. It was under $200, but it was a real computer, I didn't have to run a cut down OS on it to get it to run properly. Sure, some things didn't work well because it was running a 900mhz celeron, but it did an admirable job, even when I wasn't connected to the internet.

It's a shame that MS had to kill the devices. They were rather nice.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832993)

If they were so nice, they'd still be around.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44833301)

Being better has never guaranteed a product would be bought or even available. Windows is the worst of the major OSes out there, but it has the market share because MS pushes for it's use. Intel is largely dominant in the processor market because it was paying people not to integrate AMD chips.

In this case, MS was charging royalties on all the computers that were being sold, not just the portion that had Windows. Similar to the past when they would charge a licensing fee for all the computers you had, even if they had other OSes installed, just because you could install Windows on there. Not to mention preventing Dell and various computer integrators from selling computers that didn't have an OS at all, so that MS could collect a license fee for each of those units sold

Re:Interesting (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44832513)

11" display

After 87 clicks, it appears that both the Acer 11.6" and the HP 14" have a 1,366 x 768 resolution. Better than the netbooks at n x 600, which was functionally useless for many software packages, but it looks like Intel still has the vendors by the balls on offering what they insist are "Ultrabook" resolutions, which cost an extra grand.

A 12"-ish fooBook with all-day battery life is "shut up and take my money" territory for me, and has been for the past decade, but so far nobody is biting (and I don't care if I have to replace ChromeOS to get it). I tried three generations of netbooks, but in the end they wound up as extra DNS servers. I love how the phablets have more resolution than the notebooks these days...

Re:Interesting (2)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year ago | (#44833099)

Like a chromebook Pixel?

Re:Interesting (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44835105)

It looks like a great form-factor, but "up to 5 hours" is the same as my laptop, with a similar i5. Almost there, though; I'm personally willing to lug a double-thick battery in something like that.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835567)

A 12"-ish fooBook with all-day battery life is "shut up and take my money" territory for me, and has been for the past decade, but so far nobody is biting (and I don't care if I have to replace ChromeOS to get it).

So why haven't you shut up and given your money to Apple yet? The Haswell MacBook Air 11.6" is rated for 9 hours.

BTW, yes, it's 1366x768. Apple more or less stated that this year, moving the Air product line to Retina displays would have prevented them from raising battery life to 9/12 hours (11.6" and 13" respectively), and they chose battery life. It's not always about Intel putting the hammer down on vendors.

Re:Interesting (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#44832595)

It doesn't matter what we call them. Students who bring laptops to class and actually use them for their purported "educational purpose" perform significantly worse than students who take notes by hand. Even slashdot knows [slashdot.org] .

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832773)

Ummmm...isn't that sort of like saying modern cellphones cannot be used as a wrench for fixing buggy wheels? Computers are powerful tools. Maybe old, obsolete teaching methods should be changed?

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832817)

Students who use their laptops for educational purposes take worse notes than students who take notes by hand?

People who use their cars for recreational purposes make worse wine than people who make their own wine.

At least you know the Linux drivers will work ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#44832663)

No need to stick with the cut-down Linux, reinstall with a full Linux distro. I picked up an Acer C7 with this in mind. It seems to work quite nicely, its the first laptop I've installed Linux on with a complete set of functioning drivers. :-)

Admittedly the screen is mediocre and the touchpad crappy, but its a $200 box and such shortcoming should be expected. However for light to moderate Linux use it would seem a decent solution.

Re:At least you know the Linux drivers will work . (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44833027)

I used my 7 inch EeePC for years with a full Linux install and these things are a helluvalot better.

Re:At least you know the Linux drivers will work . (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#44834509)

How's the battery life on the c7? It's got an x86 processor in it, which is the main reason I haven't replaced my existing 13" ultraportable with something like that.

Re:Interesting (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#44832909)

Didn't we used to call these netbooks?

Locked down (in functionality) netbook with data (? some?) stored online.

YAY! THAT SOUND SO FREAKING AWESOME!

Or pay a little more for a A10 laptop and keep your data yours and be able to play games and run more software on it. Or possibly an Intel machine if you care more about Linux than the game performance.

That's if you want a laptop in the first place. A stationary machine will of course kick it and be easier to maintain if it breaks down and possibly break down less and for some things on the move a tablet may work.

Crouton to the rescue (3, Informative)

davide marney (231845) | about a year ago | (#44832949)

I've got an Acer Chromebook running Crouton [github.com] and XFCE4. Best little devbox I ever had, especially for $199 bucks. It used to be that you had to give up verified boot (and the automatic patching that implies), but no longer.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834621)

a big "MEH"!

The Cloud Book (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832317)

NSA's best friend.

Re:The Cloud Book (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44832385)

The Google, Facebook and Twitter trademarks are owned by NSA.

The Onion said so!

Wet Dream for NSA (n.T.) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832327)

(n.T.)

Windows competitor (-1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44832403)

, as yet another major competitor to the Windows operating system seems to clearly be coming into focus

Chome OS is competition to Windows in the same way a bicycle is competition to an automobile.

Re:Windows competitor (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44832473)

Chome OS is competition to Windows in the same way a bicycle is competition to an automobile.

And if what most people need is a bicycle, and a Chromebook covers their needs it's a competitor. If people buy these instead of something from Microsoft, it is definitely a competitor.

It may not be as general purpose as Windows, but it might show people they don't really need Windows. And that should at least worry Microsoft.

Re:Windows competitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832703)

Ah, reminds me of the Mac/PC commercial mockery I saw somewhere.

I'm a Mac.
And I'm a PC.
Both: And it really doesn't matter which you choose because you spend all your time playing Flash games through your web browser.

Re:Windows competitor (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#44832813)

Yeah, that people now expect whatever to work on their smart phones and tables was the left hook, that what works on their smart phones and tables can now also be had in a laptop format is the right hook. If you've already abstracted out your old PC application to work with Android and IOS, adding another platform should be easy. It's the kind of "cross-platform" that Windows/Mac/Linux never got real momentum behind. Not sure Chromebook is really it though, I'd wager more on an Android derivative.

Re:Windows competitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44833453)

I've lost count how many times during my time in IT that I've seen "good enough" beat out "good". I still can't figure out why people run Windows Server for general purpose app servers instead of Linux or the Unix farms we used to have. Windows was "good enough" and all the financials made sense (I guess.. I didn't see those), so out went Unix and in came Windows. We should have all dumped IE long ago, but it was "good enough" and freely available on the desktops, so it stayed and wormed its way in as the standard. Databases... app dev languages.. I could go on and on where "good enough" beat out "good".
Chromebook is interesting because it's definitely aimed at the "good enough" thought process and seems to be gaining some traction, where I thought it would be rejected outright.

Re:Windows competitor (1)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#44833783)

and bicycles are healthy, and good with the environment. If more people use bicycles the world can become a better place. Yes, the analogy is a good one

Re:Windows competitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832483)

Troll -1

Re:Windows competitor (0)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#44832517)

Yeah, but Henry Ford didn't ruin his company trying to build a car that was also a bicycle.

Re:Windows competitor (2)

rivercityrandom (626724) | about a year ago | (#44832797)

I don't know; I think Mr. Harley and Mr. Davidson did pretty well by that concept.

Re:Windows competitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832531)

Chome OS is competition to Windows in the same way a bicycle is competition to an automobile.

When everything you need is with in a few blocks, a bicycle is a valid competitor to an automobile.

I would rarely use such a device (and never as a primary machine). My wife has successfully replaced her need for a desktop PC with an iPad and wireless keyboard. A light-weight laptop running Chrome OS would probably be fine for her. In the lightweight notebook category, Chrome OS is probably valid competition to Windows for most users.

Re:Windows competitor (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#44832655)

Many people buy Chromebooks who would otherwise buy a Windows license. So they're direct competitors.

Re:Windows competitor (1)

njnnja (2833511) | about a year ago | (#44832901)

Chome OS is competition to Windows in the same way a bicycle is competition to an automobile.

What you say is true, but maybe it doesn't make the point that you want it to make. They are both valid means of transportation, so they are in competition. Perhaps you mean to say is that because an automobile is so much faster and can carry more passengers and stuff than a bicycle, that the automobile will win any competition between the two methods of transportation. But different people have different needs at different times. For example, while I use my automobile to go to the supermarket, I take my bike to the train station because there is no place to park.

And I would never let my 11 year old daughter drive a car to school (even if it were legal), but a bike is perfectly fine.

ObamaCare support collapsing with women, working c (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832413)

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/09/12/cnn-poll-obamacare-support-collapsing-with-women-working-class/

"In January 51% said they favored all or most of the provisions in the new law. Now that figure is down to 39%.

Support has dropped in virtually all demographic categories, but it has fallen the farthest among two core Democratic groups – women and Americans who make less than $50,000.

“Those are also the two groups that are most likely to pay attention to health insurance issues, and possibly the ones most likely to be affected by any changes,” adds Holland. “That may be particularly true for lower-income Americans who are most likely to have part-time jobs, be on Medicaid, or not currently have health insurance and thus be the first to have to navigate the new system.”"

Socialism is for the people, not the socialists.

Will it be easy to stick Mint on any of them? (1)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | about a year ago | (#44832533)

That is the question from my perspective. Might even be a go with a cut down Ubuntu Studio for real time audio recording. If the will run Mint LET ME AT EM!

What might be even more interesting is if Microsoft starts to deliberately issue a cheep starter version of Win8 to try to weasel users back to the one true Windows God. The worm has turned and it is running the Linux kernel this time around...LOL

Tuppe666 inbound (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832555)

The internet's #1 Chromebook fanboy, Apple hater and bigot

http://www.reddit.com/user/Tuppe666 [reddit.com]

Tuppe666 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832689)

GoOOGLE! Google. google. oh Google! ChromeBook! Android! OPEN! OPEN! Made in USA.

Apple. apple lol Apple lol Sheeple. Outdated. Apple. Walled Garden. APPLE! made in China.

Robert Rankin

geography lesson (2)

steveha (103154) | about a year ago | (#44832625)

which should cause folks in Redmond to smart a bit

For those of you who are new here, "Redmond" is a reference to the Microsoft (headquarters in Redmond, Washington). "Microsoft" is a company that used to be terribly important to most users of computers, but is becoming less so over time.

I wonder how long people will care enough about Microsoft to know what "Redmond" means. It's been years since I read an article that used "Armonk" to refer to IBM.

I suspect that this usage is just to avoid saying the same company name over and over. When the day comes that Microsoft isn't mentioned in the news that much, nobody will bother to call them anything but "Microsoft".

Nice job Balmer (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44832631)

Shareholders should be throwing chairs at you.

What I like about Chromebooks... (1)

jkrise (535370) | about a year ago | (#44832665)

is that it's relatively lot easier to install proper Linux on the things. It's impossible with Surface devices however.

However, I feel a company the size and stature of Google should've pushed ARM based devices into the market - now Microsoft, Apple and now Google are all pushing Intel gear.

Re:What I like about Chromebooks... (3, Interesting)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44832775)

Why in god's name would you push ARM over Intel? You only use ARM when the power envelope calls for it. Intel spanks the ever loving shit out of ARM in everything but power consumption and Intel is working hard at that too.

Re:What I like about Chromebooks... (3, Insightful)

Luciano Moretti (2887109) | about a year ago | (#44833061)

Because it's "Good Enough" performance for most people, and it gives you the ability to go over a full day in battery life with a fanless device.

My wife & mother in law both have Asus Transformer tablets and love them. They are fast, thin, and have great battery life. They love being able to use their android apps across devices.
My wife hates her work laptop as it's a boat anchor and she only gets about 3 hours of unplugged use out of it. ARMs performance is getting better, while Intel's power use is getting lower. It will be interesting to see where the graphs finally cross.

Re:What I like about Chromebooks... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#44833463)

1 GHZ on the desktop was good enough, but it wasnt until the Core line that we reached a good desktop plateau of power/cost. ARM has yet to hit the 'so much power leftover after running the UI' stage yet.

Re:What I like about Chromebooks... (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | about a year ago | (#44833327)

However, I feel a company the size and stature of Google should've pushed ARM based devices into the market - now Microsoft, Apple and now Google are all pushing Intel gear.

It isn't really Google that is determining what processor is going into the Chromebooks. That's up to the manufacturers. Samsung's Series 3 Chromebook is running the Samsung Exynos 5 Dual SoC, which uses the ARMv7 instruction set. It's been the best selling Laptop on Amazon [amazon.com] for the entirety of 2013.

As such, there are a lot of ARM-based Chromebooks out there. My wife has one; she loves it.

Yaz

Um, no... (2)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#44835873)

Linux on the Surface Pro is dead easy (disable secure boot - a simple and well-documented procedure - and then install as normal). What are you smoking (reading)? All Win8 devices with Secure Boot are required (by Microsoft, of all people) to allow the user to disable Secure Boot and/or add their own signing keys.

but (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832667)

will they run my windows apps?

Legacy Windows Applications (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#44832781)

will they run my windows apps?

They will run *cross platform* applications. You can install Linux and run Wine (I don't have wine installed you don't need it). The bottom line is though nobody is buying these devices to run legacy Windows Applications. The iOS and Android don't support windows applications and their market share is greater than Windows. Even the mighty Office was unable to protect Surface from a massive failure. There are devices that run legacy windows Applications...they are experiencing their 6th quarterly drop in sales.

Re:but (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | about a year ago | (#44835479)

will they run my windows apps?

There are Windows apps?!? Does anyone actually use them?

Haswell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44832695)

Is that a typo? Shouldn't it be NSAWell.

Increased School Use (3, Interesting)

deadend44 (1728576) | about a year ago | (#44832867)

I've already started seeing the increase in Chromebook usage in schools. I work for an educational supplements company as lead on a digital textbook platform. This time last year we had a lot of questions about iPads but nothing about chromebooks. Now, this week alone, I've talked to two teachers who said they were getting full sets of chromebooks for their students and wanted to make sure our software would work with them. Faster processors and cheaper prices is just going to keep increasing their hold on the market. Schools are going to take the cheaper route given two similar options, so I'm not surprised to see them going with these instead of iPads.

Re:Increased School Use (1)

slick_rick (193080) | about a year ago | (#44833873)

My oldest has a class where the teacher provides Chromebooks. The school district already provides Google email for the kids, so it is a good fit. She claims it works just fine for what she does, and wants one at home to replace here old Dell laptop. I'm just hoping the new Haswell models to come out in time for X-Mas.

Alignment (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about a year ago | (#44832899)

What I don't understand about this shocking new "alignment between Intel and Google" is that all of the Chrombooks up until the second-generation Samsung have used Intel chips. The first few used Atoms, and I think Acer is using something called a Celeron (though what goes by that brand these days, I'm not sure). Samsung's newest one uses its own Exynos chip, but it's unique in that. All of the rest of them use Intel chips. So what has changed, exactly?

It's Almost Time for Microsoft to .... (1)

srobert (4099) | about a year ago | (#44833021)

... roll out that Linux version of Microsoft Office. I suspect its development has been secretly undertaken for quite some time now among those who have access to the source codes, whether Microsoft's executives know it or not.

My complaint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44833151)

My complaint with my Chromebook is lack of music playing ability when you don't have internet. Sure there is the MusicPlay thing, and Aschar Player, but they are both missing basic stuff like playing a play list on shuffle, or even playing a play list all the way through after I pick a song.

Re:My complaint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44833787)

Buy an RMSPod. It comes with a DRM-free version of RMS singing the FREE software song.

Most people don't need a general purpose computer. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44833259)

The PC industry has been selling to the customers far more than what they need for a long time. It is true for most gadgets. How many million VCRs blinked 00:00 as the time for their entire service lives? How many people say even now, "I don't use even 1 % of the features of my camcorder"?

No, not everybody hacks C/java, they don't need a video editor, or sound editor or image editor. 90% of the people consume content, and the only content they create are simple letters and emails. Even the other 10% who create content using photo editors, video editors, audio editors, IDEs, apps, web pages etc, they don't need all this in all their computer. The market for full fledged content creation computers is 100 times smaller than the market for content consuming computers. Chromebooks are great playback devices for all kinds of media, audio, video, books, photos etc even when they are off line. When they are online, they can do everything that can be done through a browser.

The net effect of it is, our gravy train is coming to a halt. All these content consumers were subsidizing the general purpose computers we slashdotters typically love. Let us be prepared to pay high prices for a general purpose computer in the coming years.

Where are the ChromeBoxes? (5, Interesting)

Ancil (622971) | about a year ago | (#44833431)

The Chromebooks look nice for certain situations, and I've been tempted to pick one up.

But why haven't there been any good ChromeBoxes?? I have unused monitors and keyboards sitting around, and there's plenty of cases which need a larger screen and a real keyboard.

If you can sell a full notebook with LCD, keyboard, and battery for $199, where is the $49 Chromebox?

Samsung's efforts have been a complete joke. Over $300? Really? Dell sells "real" computers for less. With Windows, even.

Supposedly the new Chromebox from ASUS is based on Intel's "Next Unit of Computing". That thing starts at about $200 with no RAM.

If Roku can sell an ARM box capable of decompressing Full HD streams for $49, why can't Google get one to run ChromeOS?

Re:Where are the ChromeBoxes? (1)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#44833991)

Yes, I want ChromeBoxes too, not for home use but enterprise. Secure machines that can't be hacked by simple malware because everything is cryptographically signed. You have problems, you restore it, no local state. All your business applications running on web servers or via remote desktop VMs for the legacy ones

Re:Where are the ChromeBoxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834253)

Yea cause enterprises really wanna outsource * to Google. Have fun getting that one past any serious security, financial or accounting audit.

Re:Where are the ChromeBoxes? (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#44835393)

Yea cause enterprises really wanna outsource * to Google. Have fun getting that one past any serious security, financial or accounting audit.

Google sells (IIRC) ~$1B per year worth of services to enterprises who want to outsource to Google, and growing fast.

Re:Where are the ChromeBoxes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835603)

Selling $1B worth of user data to the NSA doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

What could I do with that hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44833499)

This begs the question, you can get a Haswell powered laptop for $200 with a full keyboard, so why not wipe out their OS and put Windows on it? Think about it, a device that's (potentially) as fast as a Surface Pro, but costs a load less. So what is MS charging for? The touch screen isn't Oh-Em-Gee necessary. Heck, why pay $400 for an Ultrabook even?

Regardless, it's x86, Haswell, and cheap. If you can put your own OS on it, then it beats all the Ipads/Galaxies out there because it has a keyboard and costs less.

Sufficed to say, it's about time generalized computing was cheap and easy for Joe Blow.

ChromeBooks are pretty cool, but... (0)

realmolo (574068) | about a year ago | (#44833561)

Paying more than $200 for one is nuts. They need to figure out how to make them cheaper.

These days, you can get a Windows 8 notebook for $350, sometimes less. With MUCH better specs than most ChromeBooks, and, obviously, much more software.

But Chromebooks are nice. ChromeOS is nice. Just too expensive.

Re:ChromeBooks are pretty cool, but... (1)

slick_rick (193080) | about a year ago | (#44833985)

Yeah, but who is gonna support it? One of the nice part about these devices is that they are pretty much immune to malware, and from a software standpoint are nearly unbreakable. You give one to your mom and never do tech support again. Windows is find if you have the time, urge, and know-how to maintain it (or the cash to pay someone you trust to do it for you), but is completely inappropriate for the vast clueless masses. Surely you aren't arguing that Windows 8 is the future of computing on the low end?

Re:ChromeBooks are pretty cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44834061)

Funny, the price on Craigslist is pretty good.

I picked up a Samsung for $150 and an Acer for $120. The guy who had the Acer upgraded it to 4 gig memory and put a 64 gig SSD in it. Since it's plugged in most of the time, the relatively low battery life isn't a problem.

My wife and kids love them. Yay for people who decided they wanted Macbooks instead.

Re:ChromeBooks are pretty cool, but... (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year ago | (#44835941)

The Acer C7 is $199, the Samsung ARM is $250. These are both less than $350. Your logic:

1. Windows 8 notebook is $350.

2. Chromebook is $200.

3. Chromebook is too expensive

This is the same Windowscentric thinking that never recognized that there is a large market of people who don't have any use for the many capabilities of Windows. Their computer is a device for surfing the web and communication. I wonder how many people could get by with just a smartphone. In fact, I wonder how many people now do.

Developers Question (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | about a year ago | (#44833703)

Is there an IDE that a ChromeBook can work with that would allow me to develope in PHP/Python? With Debug and Breakpoints? That would be useful.

Re:Developers Question (1)

mrmaster (535266) | about a year ago | (#44834837)

Yes, there is an app that was just released a few days ago but I didn't save the link.

Re:Developers Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835197)

Try Nitrous.IO:
https://www.nitrous.io/

x86? (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about a year ago | (#44835327)

So if it's an x86 platform what's to stop people from putting Windows on these things?

Forget network printers. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44835773)

I'd give a chromebook a serious look if they could use my network printer. I recognize that printer drivers are the big issue, and that its possible to use a PC (via an internet loopback *ugh*). But I got the network printer so I *didn't* need to have a PC host it.

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