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Google Says Faster Chromebooks On The Way

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February 19, 2012 3:19:14 AM

I thought the chief issue with these machines was that they are just paperweights without internet access.
It wouldn't for example, let you go to a hotel wi-fi splash login screen because of related issues..
February 19, 2012 3:34:00 AM

people still use chrome books?

I don't see how they could have ever thought they would be successful. What google essentially did was take a netbook, install a less functional Os compared to windows, then charge twice as much for the netbook.
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February 19, 2012 3:45:09 AM

Yep. I still use my CR48. It's great. It's for the user that knows how to utilize "the cloud" properly. It'll catch on as time goes on.
February 19, 2012 4:44:36 AM

Google should learn a thing or two from Apple about mobile pc design. They should make it thinner, shinier, put chrome logo in the middle of the lid in chrome/silver, and call it Chrome Air. Good design sells.
February 19, 2012 5:19:01 AM

Wait, if Chromebooks aren't cheap, what exactly is their benefit over a regular ultralight laptop?
February 19, 2012 5:41:46 AM

Razor512people still use chrome books?I don't see how they could have ever thought they would be successful. What google essentially did was take a netbook, install a less functional Os compared to windows, then charge twice as much for the netbook.

You're thinking of Apple.

OK maybe both.
February 19, 2012 6:15:34 AM

Faster? Maybe the new Atom chips will be a bit faster, but not much. So maybe Google will use AMD trinity/Piledriver chips?
February 19, 2012 7:13:58 AM

Why build faster one when the originals did not sell and speed was not the issue? I guess with all that cash, Google needs another tax write-off.
Anonymous
February 19, 2012 8:07:09 AM

The pricing decision rather than speed has been the main complaint. Sure there are lots of nerds on blogs like this who have never actually used a Chromebook who complain about the speed - or rather the poor speed you would get on it if you ran Windows on it (and which you do with Windows netbooks). However if you look at the comments from people who have actually bought Chromebooks and used them (for example the Amazon customer reviews), speed isn't a complaint, and in fact they feel it is fast and snappy. The reason of course is that Chromebooks are fast and responsive - if you run ChromeOS on it since the only thing that runs on it is a web browser, but painfully slow (a la Windows netbook) if you run Windows. The only exception to this is Flash which is poorly maintained and doesn't seem to be properly accelerated, but then again the same would apply to a Windows netbook. The people who buy Chromebooks buy it mainly for Internet browsing, webmail, and occasional Doc apps and don't spend their time running Flash games, so speed isn't a problem for them.

This is all changing now, because of the emergence of Native Client applications and games. These are rapidly being ported to run on Chrome, and bring local applications to Chromebooks. Pretty well any desktop game or application written in any programming language can be ported to Native Client - CAD programs, photo editors, video and audio editors, media players without hardware acceleration - the sort of applications that could never run in a web browser before. This is a game changer for Chrome and Chromebooks, and Chromebooks are going to need more powerful processors as well as better graphics and media acceleration to handle this. This is the reason, rather than customer complaints, that Chromebooks is getting faster cpus, plus the fact that lower production numbers for Atoms may mean that the price advantage of Atoms may not be that attractive, although the longer battery life advantage remains.

The thing about the Chromebook is that it has never seriously been marketed to the consumer, although those who are in the know do see a big potential. Microsoft has started it's patent cartel licensing extortion scam to cover Chromebooks as well Android - a sure sign that Microsoft considers Chromebooks to be a serious threat to Windows. Dixons, UK's largest consumer electronic chain, made a statement that one in ten computers sold could be Chromebooks by end of 2012 if they are properly marketed. Whether Google will do this or not remains to be seen. Google is pushing Android for the consumer market, and so far Chromebooks have only being marketed aggressively sold to education, libraries, and businesses with server based IT systems eg. help desks, information terminals etc. The outlets, pricing and spec of Chromebooks are part of this. Consumers need to try before they buy, especially on something as revolutionary as Chromebooks, but Google only sells them on online retail outlets, and they have to pay a premium price for outright purchase. It is clear that Google sees these sales only as a means of making Chromebooks available to early adopters to try out before larger education or business rollouts, rather than mass market sales. The specs are also not intended for the consumer market. The build quality is high, and battery life gets priority over minimising cost or games performance, which is essential in schools or businesses where reliability, ruggedness, and long battery life are important, and games and video media consumption less so, but not ideal for a consumer device.

Tom's Hardware is by definition nerd central, and it is not surprising that the posters seem completely clueless about the real selling point of Chromebooks. Chromebooks are ZERO MAINTENANCE DEVICES. They are for people who don't want to spend time on maintaining or learning how to configure Windows, troubleshoot hardware, updating the OS or applications, installing apps, etc. They just want to switch on the computer and use it. This is the complete opposite of what any self respecting nerd - myself included - buys a computer for. Nerds want to hack the hardware, the OS, tweak and overclock everything there is to be tweaked to squeeze out every last benchmark score point, install and run applications they are never actually going to use for real productive use, just to prove that the computer can run it etc. This is why they buy computers, and this is what their enjoyment of computers is all about. The thing is that most consumers consumers of computers nowadays aren't nerds and want a computer free of the maintenance hassles and user learning curve associated with Windows. Chromebooks have proved successful in school trials precisely because they are zero maintenance, and they have proved to be viable for large scale deployment in schools where Windows was not because they can operate without a desktop support IT team and without teachers wasting time on desktop support and maintenance instead of teaching. The same benefits apply to the vast majority of consumers who buy computers, and if Google's own nerds (and Google is basically an all nerd company) can get its heads out of the nerd mentality, Chromebooks will be a huge consumer success. What we need is a cheap ARM based Raspberry Pi (perhaps with a dual processor) SOC selling for $100 or so, or a $35 Raspberry Pi board built into or as a plug in option for every TV or high end monitor, so it can be used as a standalone Internet terminal or thin client for RDP, or Citrix.
February 19, 2012 8:52:54 AM

Great post, 534564!
February 19, 2012 9:16:37 AM

Can't imagine anyone just wants to use the web.
They would certainly need the typical office apps (which would be compatible with the mainstream).

Not to mention, if that is all they offered, I'd like some superduper battery life/awesome wifi/4g.

Else it'd just be a tacky notebook, which would be pretty useless if no internet was available (we don't all live in S.Korea)
February 19, 2012 11:45:57 AM

+1 534564

Usually long posted are from: morons, people on medicine making them type, kids, religious nuts,... 534564 has proven that a long post can be full of VALID opinions and facts.
February 19, 2012 12:04:50 PM

534564 summarized things well, although I'm not sure I agree about an ARM processor, let alone the Raspberry Pi approach. In the past year, benchmark performance on my Cr-48 have improved by about 15%, but the main improvements have been in stability and functionality. The people who equate Chromebook pricing with netbook pricing are missing a number of features, such as a larger screen, 2 gb of RAM, 3G radio (with 24 months of free data), long battery life, and cool running. Not to mention avoiding the hassles of Windows.

I set up a new HP laptop for a friend last summer, a task that took the better part of an entire day downloading and applying updates, as well as ripping out the crapware that shipped with it. Two weeks ago, a virus wiped out her files, which she (of course) hadn't backed up. The place she bought it from charged her $130 to recover her data. Two years ago, I installed Linux Mint on her netbook. Not only does she prefer Mint because it's so much faster (her words) on a netbook with an Atom processor and 1 gb of RAM than Windows on an AMD processor with 4gb of RAM, but she has been keeping it current for two years without ever asking for my help. Chrome OS requires even less maintenance.
February 19, 2012 12:05:36 PM

tupzYep. I still use my CR48. It's great. It's for the user that knows how to utilize "the cloud" properly. It'll catch on as time goes on.

Don't trust Google (in bed with Obama) or the Cloud, which is giving full control of your computer over to big brother/industry. Would like to have one of the new ones for a Ubuntu rig if the memory/storage is big enough.
February 19, 2012 12:09:25 PM

@534564
"They are for people who don't want to spend time on maintaining or learning how to configure Windows, troubleshoot hardware, updating the OS or applications, installing apps, etc. They just want to switch on the computer and use it."
Agree, but Apple does that already. People are getting more stupid instead of smarter too. They can't find their way around the block now without their smart phone telling them how.
February 19, 2012 1:32:07 PM

Dear posters, no one wants to read a posting about a 1000 words long.
February 19, 2012 2:47:36 PM

Quote:
d-isdumb: Agree, but Apple does that already. People are getting more stupid instead of smarter too. They can't find their way around the block now without their smart phone telling them how.


True, but Apple's is more about ripping off and caging the user, and their laptops are too expensive for what they are. You can pickup a Chromebook for under $500 US. Probably 95 percent of the Church of iCrap sheeple would be better off using Chromebooks. But iCrappies are also fond of the air of coolness that all the billions of dollars Apple spends on advertising falsely bestows on them... So they might have issues with moving on to a purely functional no-nonsense device designed with the technologically illiterate person in mind.
February 19, 2012 3:01:33 PM

534564The pricing decision rather than speed has been the main complaint. Sure there are lots of nerds on blogs like this who have never actually used a Chromebook who complain about the speed - or rather the poor speed you would get on it if you ran Windows on it (and which you do with Windows netbooks). However if you look at the comments from people who have actually bought Chromebooks and used them (for example the Amazon customer reviews), speed isn't a complaint, and in fact they feel it is fast and snappy. The reason of course is that Chromebooks are fast and responsive - if you run ChromeOS on it since the only thing that runs on it is a web browser, but painfully slow (a la Windows netbook) if you run Windows. The only exception to this is Flash which is poorly maintained and doesn't seem to be properly accelerated, but then again the same would apply to a Windows netbook. The people who buy Chromebooks buy it mainly for Internet browsing, webmail, and occasional Doc apps and don't spend their time running Flash games, so speed isn't a problem for them.This is all changing now, because of the emergence of Native Client applications and games. These are rapidly being ported to run on Chrome, and bring local applications to Chromebooks. Pretty well any desktop game or application written in any programming language can be ported to Native Client - CAD programs, photo editors, video and audio editors, media players without hardware acceleration - the sort of applications that could never run in a web browser before. This is a game changer for Chrome and Chromebooks, and Chromebooks are going to need more powerful processors as well as better graphics and media acceleration to handle this. This is the reason, rather than customer complaints, that Chromebooks is getting faster cpus, plus the fact that lower production numbers for Atoms may mean that the price advantage of Atoms may not be that attractive, although the longer battery life advantage remains. The thing about the Chromebook is that it has never seriously been marketed to the consumer, although those who are in the know do see a big potential. Microsoft has started it's patent cartel licensing extortion scam to cover Chromebooks as well Android - a sure sign that Microsoft considers Chromebooks to be a serious threat to Windows. Dixons, UK's largest consumer electronic chain, made a statement that one in ten computers sold could be Chromebooks by end of 2012 if they are properly marketed. Whether Google will do this or not remains to be seen. Google is pushing Android for the consumer market, and so far Chromebooks have only being marketed aggressively sold to education, libraries, and businesses with server based IT systems eg. help desks, information terminals etc. The outlets, pricing and spec of Chromebooks are part of this. Consumers need to try before they buy, especially on something as revolutionary as Chromebooks, but Google only sells them on online retail outlets, and they have to pay a premium price for outright purchase. It is clear that Google sees these sales only as a means of making Chromebooks available to early adopters to try out before larger education or business rollouts, rather than mass market sales. The specs are also not intended for the consumer market. The build quality is high, and battery life gets priority over minimising cost or games performance, which is essential in schools or businesses where reliability, ruggedness, and long battery life are important, and games and video media consumption less so, but not ideal for a consumer device. Tom's Hardware is by definition nerd central, and it is not surprising that the posters seem completely clueless about the real selling point of Chromebooks. Chromebooks are ZERO MAINTENANCE DEVICES. They are for people who don't want to spend time on maintaining or learning how to configure Windows, troubleshoot hardware, updating the OS or applications, installing apps, etc. They just want to switch on the computer and use it. This is the complete opposite of what any self respecting nerd - myself included - buys a computer for. Nerds want to hack the hardware, the OS, tweak and overclock everything there is to be tweaked to squeeze out every last benchmark score point, install and run applications they are never actually going to use for real productive use, just to prove that the computer can run it etc. This is why they buy computers, and this is what their enjoyment of computers is all about. The thing is that most consumers consumers of computers nowadays aren't nerds and want a computer free of the maintenance hassles and user learning curve associated with Windows. Chromebooks have proved successful in school trials precisely because they are zero maintenance, and they have proved to be viable for large scale deployment in schools where Windows was not because they can operate without a desktop support IT team and without teachers wasting time on desktop support and maintenance instead of teaching. The same benefits apply to the vast majority of consumers who buy computers, and if Google's own nerds (and Google is basically an all nerd company) can get its heads out of the nerd mentality, Chromebooks will be a huge consumer success. What we need is a cheap ARM based Raspberry Pi (perhaps with a dual processor) SOC selling for $100 or so, or a $35 Raspberry Pi board built into or as a plug in option for every TV or high end monitor, so it can be used as a standalone Internet terminal or thin client for RDP, or Citrix.

chrome doesn't have graphics acceleration, it is quite slow even on the fastest overclocked processors

it may get it soon
February 19, 2012 4:18:25 PM

I have a first generation Google TV from Logitech Revue. I searched the internet to see if anyone has tried to upgrade the hardware inside because it too can be sluggish, especially when scrolling. Perhaps Tom's Hardware can look into homemade hardware upgrades?
February 19, 2012 4:28:18 PM

"Google Docs documents grind open," he told Pichai. "Scrolling can be an excruciatingly laggy affair. My son, trying to play the Flash-based Crush the Castle 2 game, cried out in exasperation when trying to construct his medieval defenses. Keyboard repeat rates aren't adjustable to let me set them fast enough with only a brief delay before kicking in. When I have more than 15 or 20 tabs open, it seems that old tabs must be reloaded from the server when I switch back to them."

That could be why it runs slows. Why do people need more than 10 tabs open at once? When I work, I have seven tabs open, and it drives me nuts. When I'm just doing personal stuff, three tabs max. That's it. If you're doing that much work at once, get a real computer. Netbooks /Chromebooks are designed for people who generally only have one tab open at a time (i.e Facebook, email, the everyday stuff).
February 19, 2012 4:42:11 PM

runswindows95"Google Docs documents grind open," he told Pichai. "Scrolling can be an excruciatingly laggy affair. My son, trying to play the Flash-based Crush the Castle 2 game, cried out in exasperation when trying to construct his medieval defenses. Keyboard repeat rates aren't adjustable to let me set them fast enough with only a brief delay before kicking in. When I have more than 15 or 20 tabs open, it seems that old tabs must be reloaded from the server when I switch back to them."That could be why it runs slows. Why do people need more than 10 tabs open at once? When I work, I have seven tabs open, and it drives me nuts. When I'm just doing personal stuff, three tabs max. That's it. If you're doing that much work at once, get a real computer. Netbooks /Chromebooks are designed for people who generally only have one tab open at a time (i.e Facebook, email, the everyday stuff).


Porn.

Seriously.
February 19, 2012 4:42:50 PM

As far from my post, it is only one tab open. Having two tabs open isn't very easily navigable on Google TV.
February 19, 2012 5:47:06 PM

Chromebooks are not for the average user. If you enjoy applications, games, web-browsing. Just the everyday stuff, then a chromebook is not for you. Chromebooks are for people who "live" on the internet. And must have it whenever they need it, this could be from facebook junkies, to serious business people who really need internet ASAP.

I think that chromebooks are very cool. Owning one (borrowing more like it) for a month really showed me that it had potential. The current ones on the market are decent, but not something I would go out and buy. Hopefully this new gen will bring something different.
February 19, 2012 6:35:21 PM

Razor512people still use chrome books?I don't see how they could have ever thought they would be successful. What google essentially did was take a netbook, install a less functional Os compared to windows, then charge twice as much for the netbook.

No doubt! The article even talks about dual boot... if you have a device with a legit Windows 8 preinstalled, why the heck would you want to dual boot to Chrome OS? Slower, less powerful, even more dependent on fast reliable internet wherever you go? No thanks.

If I had to use something other than Windows 8 on a next-gen mobile device, I would prefer some Linux flavor. That's a better alternative - and no, Android is not "Google Linux". It's Android. Just because they were lazy and decided to take some free code for themselves doesn't make it Linux. Also it's not truly open source, they drop code whenever they feel like it benefits them.
p3t3orAs far from my post, it is only one tab open. Having two tabs open isn't very easily navigable on Google TV.
Evidence that Google TV is useless for web browsing. As for upgrades, you're screwed. The hardware is all fixed, it would be like trying to replace a phone processor - good luck finding a faster drop-in replacement, and good luck actually desoldering/soldering during installation. Maybe someone will find a way to overclock it a bit without a significant increase in heat - but there's probably not a lot of interest in these things from the kinds of enthusiasts that would bother.
runswindows95Why do people need more than 10 tabs open at once? When I work, I have seven tabs open, and it drives me nuts. When I'm just doing personal stuff, three tabs max. That's it. If you're doing that much work at once, get a real computer. Netbooks /Chromebooks are designed for people who generally only have one tab open at a time (i.e Facebook, email, the everyday stuff).
You're seriously defending Chromebooks here? I have tons of tabs open all the time. A modern machine is worthless if it can't handle that. Any time I'm on Tom's, I open a new tab for every article and review that looks interesting, that way they are loaded and ready to go. Saves time, and means I can navigate away from the main page and all the articles I cared to open are waiting for me whenever I want. If I had to open each one, and go back, and then open the next one, it'd take forever. Heck for Wiki-type sites, this applies even more! A lot of times I'm reading an article and I want to be able to hop back and forth between sections, open tabs on linked subjects for further reading later, etc.

Before tabbed browsing, I was using quite a few seperate browser instances to do the same thing. Tabs are just better and easier.

Chromebook: It looks like a laptop, it feels like a laptop... but it's dog-slow, useless, and smoked by even entry-level laptops that cost about the same. I mean really, in a small form factor you can get a netbook with a C-60 and it would be better. If you want something bigger, a 15.6" with an E-450 is a huge step up and they start life under $400 still. Did I mention they have enough space for you to store stuff internally for access when you don't have good internet access?
February 19, 2012 6:59:10 PM

alextheblue said:
No doubt! The article even talks about dual boot... if you have a device with a legit Windows 8 preinstalled, why the heck would you want to dual boot to Chrome OS? Slower, less powerful, even more dependent on fast reliable internet wherever you go? No thanks.

If I had to use something other than Windows 8 on a next-gen mobile device, I would prefer some Linux flavor. That's a better alternative - and no, Android is not "Google Linux". It's Android. Just because they were lazy and decided to take some free code for themselves doesn't make it Linux. Also it's not truly open source, they drop code whenever they feel like it benefits them.Evidence that Google TV is useless for web browsing. As for upgrades, you're screwed. The hardware is all fixed, it would be like trying to replace a phone processor - good luck finding a faster drop-in replacement, and good luck actually desoldering/soldering during installation. Maybe someone will find a way to overclock it a bit without a significant increase in heat - but there's probably not a lot of interest in these things from the kinds of enthusiasts that would bother.You're seriously defending Chromebooks here? I have tons of tabs open all the time. A modern machine is worthless if it can't handle that. Any time I'm on Tom's, I open a new tab for every article and review that looks interesting, that way they are loaded and ready to go. Saves time, and means I can navigate away from the main page and all the articles I cared to open are waiting for me whenever I want. If I had to open each one, and go back, and then open the next one, it'd take forever. Heck for Wiki-type sites, this applies even more! A lot of times I'm reading an article and I want to be able to hop back and forth between sections, open tabs on linked subjects for further reading later, etc.

Before tabbed browsing, I was using quite a few seperate browser instances to do the same thing. Tabs are just better and easier.

Chromebook: It looks like a laptop, it feels like a laptop... but it's dog-slow, useless, and smoked by even entry-level laptops that cost about the same. I mean really, in a small form factor you can get a netbook with a C-60 and it would be better. If you want something bigger, a 15.6" with an E-450 is a huge step up and they start life under $400 still. Did I mention they have enough space for you to store stuff internally for access when you don't have good internet access?

I have 369 tabs opened right now : )
February 20, 2012 8:13:16 AM

Chrome is always faster
February 20, 2012 11:09:55 AM

So in summary, it's a value added device, which has it's price increased by quality marketing a la Apple.

When another option is a brazo's laptop and linux. If all you do is browse.

The eeePC back in the day used to come with linux, which was nice for the basic things, but generally anti-user for anything moderate (finding a file/folder), if that is the experience they are after, I don't see why it should cost so much.
February 20, 2012 3:59:13 PM

Nobody is buying these. And I bet few if any businesses care for them. I do IT for a small company and I totally forgot these even existed. Have no more interested now then I did originally.

February 20, 2012 6:51:59 PM

Sluggish performance, sounds a lot like what Google's other product, Android does.
February 20, 2012 6:59:06 PM

I've never been a fan of chrome books because of the way they use internet traffic and bandwidth for things a local CPU could very easily do!

Using google chrome latops,you're easily using 50-100% more internet bandwidth than using a regular computer.
I think it's ridiculous! Especially when you know that once you pass the 10GB limit, your service provider will start to throttle your connection!
February 20, 2012 7:44:48 PM

To be honest, there is nothing a Chromebook can do that a cheaper laptop/netbook can't do. If Windows is too sluggish then replace it with Linux, problem solved without losing much functionality. I have to say that a cheap AMD Llano laptop/netbook with one of many different distributions of Linux would beat a Chrome book more or less in every way. It will be faster, more functional, just as easy to use and maintain (depending on the distribution of Linux), internal storage, and more... I don't see a reason to get a chrome book. Even if I weren't very computer literate, chances are pretty good that I would know someone whom was or I can look up a how to video that shows me how to install and use Linux.

If I couldn't Google a guide, then either I'm pretty stupid and/or I probably don't know how to use the internet either. Isn't the internet the whole selling point of a Chrome book the slogan beings something like "nothing but the web"?

Don't get me worng, the Chrome book is an interesting device, but it doesn't seem to fill it's own pre-designed niche any better than current technology. In fact, it seems to be much worse. I can play several full games on most Linux distributions, including World of Warcraft and several other titles, among many other things I could not do with a Chrome book.
Anonymous
February 25, 2012 10:09:03 AM


@blazorthon
There is something very important Chromebooks can do that no Windows desktop/laptop can do - and that is the key reason that Chromebooks won the 1:1 education contracts - THEY ARE ZERO MAINTENANCE DEVICES.

Windows desktops and laptop are very expensive to maintain and support as anybody who is involved in desktop maintenance and support will know only too well.

It is fine when you buy your own personal desktop/laptop or are a hobbyist or are willing to spend the time and effort to maintain it for free or get a friend to do it for you, but if you run a school or business, you have to pay IT support staff to do it. Hardware is cheap, but labour is very expensive, and Chromebooks can save you about 2/3rds of your total cost of ownership compared to a Windows desktop solution, and it can lead to massive improvements in productivity due to desktop management and backup tasks being eliminated.

This is what the Chromebook education trials proved and the reason why 1:1 deployments of Windows laptops in schools never took place - they have simply proved not to be viable due to:
1) Windows desktop IT support required being too expensive for the scale of 1:1 deployment
2) Not enough IT staff being available locally to provide Windows desktop for that scale of 1:1 deployment
3) Too much time being spent by teachers of desktop support and management of Windows desktops, leading to low productivity because it leaves teachers with less time to actually teach.

Linux desktops are a little cheaper to maintain because of better stability, but still a lot more than Chromebooks. Even the K12 LTSP + thin client is still more expensive than Chromebooks because a local server needs to be maintained, and provisioning is not as seamless as with Chromebooks. The availability of enough IT staff locally is still a problem.

The possibility of using a K12/Linux app server + Moodle/Blackboard course content server + Windows app server via Citrix with Chromebooks is an interesting option for schools or universities where local applications or content is required as opposed to cloud applications.
February 25, 2012 10:12:18 PM

@543564

There are much cheaper alternatives that don't need any more maintenance than a Chrome book. You can choose from several Linux distributions that are better and also don't need any more maintenance than Chrome books.

Instead of paying huge premiums for junk hardware, how about getting a regular laptop and using something like Xpud instead of Windows? It's a live Linux CD so it doesn't need any installation and comes with al of the functionality of Chrome OS along with a little more. Just download the ISO, burn it, pop it into the CD/DVD player, and boot into it. Naturally, it is also easily installed to another storage medium like any other Linux if a live CD isn't wanted.

A chrome book is basically just a laptop that more or less only uses an internet connection to do it's work. Xpud can do that too. It comes from a non-rewritable, so any problems would only be the result of physical damage to the storage medium. If the CD, DVD, HDD, etc., is damaged, then it needs to be replaced and all is good to go, unless the rest of the laptop is damaged. If that is the case then it just needs repair or replacement, the Chrome book would be no different.

Data beyond the copy of Xpud doesn't need to be stored locally so replacing the storage medium or the whole computer wouldn't matter. It should be able to do anything and everything that Chrome OS can do.

That seems to be just as zero maintenance as a Chrome book, with increased functionality, increased performance, and at a reduced price. You could also use other Linux distributions too. Anyway, point is that unless Google drops prices, there are simply other alternatives that are just better.
Anonymous
February 26, 2012 6:43:34 PM

I like the simplicity of the Chromebook, but my god, who at Google approved its initial release should be fired right on the spot! Slower than a netbook, less capable than a netbook and more expensive than a netbook. Smart move! Especially when tablets offer so much more at a reasonable price now. Once the Ultrabooks get down into $500 territory, you can kiss the Chromebook goodbye; another failed Google Beta Venture that costs its customers money this time. Stop giving us the leftover stuff that nobody else wanted, e.g., Intel Atom! Give us a real processor, not some piece of shit useless one from Intel!
February 28, 2012 3:22:37 AM

FrankNSteinI like the simplicity of the Chromebook, but my god, who at Google approved its initial release should be fired right on the spot! Slower than a netbook, less capable than a netbook and more expensive than a netbook. Smart move! Especially when tablets offer so much more at a reasonable price now. Once the Ultrabooks get down into $500 territory, you can kiss the Chromebook goodbye; another failed Google Beta Venture that costs its customers money this time. Stop giving us the leftover stuff that nobody else wanted, e.g., Intel Atom! Give us a real processor, not some piece of shit useless one from Intel!


Atom wasn't so bad when it first came out years ago. The problem is that Intel largely ignored it's market and let it stagnate instead of updating it every year or so like they did on the desktop and notebook markets. AMD has it's netbook Brazos processors that beat Atom significantly, so any new computer with an Atom is a waste, but Atom wasn't always this bad compared to it's competition.
March 10, 2012 12:00:25 AM

@blazorthon

You haven't actually used a Chromebook have you? Chromebooks are Zero Maintenance - no maintenance Zip, Zilch, Nada! Windows is high maintenance. Mac and Linux can be lower maintenance, but still too much for many. Android/iOS is the lowest non-Chromebook maintenance OS, but still requires more configuration, has more security issues that you need to be aware of, and lacks the statelessness of Chromebooks which allows them to be stateless self managing appliances that can be swapped in and out without device configuration. The zero maintenance aspect of Chromebooks has been trialled and proven in the US school selections, that is why Chromebooks won against Windows desktops/netbooks, Apple Macs, iPads (except in kindergartens where the kids are too young to use keyboards), and Linux LTSP systems. In the latter case, you have a low maintenance thin client plus server solution, but it still needs a well qualified IT person to set up the server and maintain/upgrade it. Chromebooks have the same maintenance requirements as the LTSP thin clients (ie. zero maintenance) but don't need the school to provision, configure and maintain a server.

I don't know if you have ever tried a live CD, but the performance is pathetic, and the device is inconvenient to use because it an non cloud OS is set up to store things locally, which means on RAM-disk which you lose when you switch off. You could of course set up a read only live CD image of a Linux OS on an SSD which stores data on the cloud, and you could set it up so that it has a minimal number of applications in an OS image which is maintained by a provider, and arrange for the local OS image to be automatically checked and sync'ed against the image. But then you basically have what a Chromebook.

Ultrabooks don't match Chromebooks 8.5+ hour real battery life without going to around $1000 in price.
Google isn't pricing the Chromebook competitively for the consumer market because they are targetting only early adopters with outright sales (rather than installments). However they are not as overpriced as you are suggesting. The build quality/durability and real use battery life are way above what you will get in the low end Windows laptops or netbooks you are comparing prices with, and the 3G models come with built in 3G with 100MB a month data plan for two years included in the price (with a competitive monthly or daily extra data purchase option). Battery life does cost money unfortunately. That is why people spend $1000 to buy Windows high end Ultrabooks or Macbooks that come close to matching Chromebooks for battery life instead of the $500 Laptops with the same processing power as the Ultrabooks, but with 3.5-4.5 hours real battery life.
March 11, 2012 4:29:10 AM

spm_76@blazorthonYou haven't actually used a Chromebook have you? Chromebooks are Zero Maintenance - no maintenance Zip, Zilch, Nada! Windows is high maintenance. Mac and Linux can be lower maintenance, but still too much for many. Android/iOS is the lowest non-Chromebook maintenance OS, but still requires more configuration, has more security issues that you need to be aware of, and lacks the statelessness of Chromebooks which allows them to be stateless self managing appliances that can be swapped in and out without device configuration. The zero maintenance aspect of Chromebooks has been trialled and proven in the US school selections, that is why Chromebooks won against Windows desktops/netbooks, Apple Macs, iPads (except in kindergartens where the kids are too young to use keyboards), and Linux LTSP systems. In the latter case, you have a low maintenance thin client plus server solution, but it still needs a well qualified IT person to set up the server and maintain/upgrade it. Chromebooks have the same maintenance requirements as the LTSP thin clients (ie. zero maintenance) but don't need the school to provision, configure and maintain a server.I don't know if you have ever tried a live CD, but the performance is pathetic, and the device is inconvenient to use because it an non cloud OS is set up to store things locally, which means on RAM-disk which you lose when you switch off. You could of course set up a read only live CD image of a Linux OS on an SSD which stores data on the cloud, and you could set it up so that it has a minimal number of applications in an OS image which is maintained by a provider, and arrange for the local OS image to be automatically checked and sync'ed against the image. But then you basically have what a Chromebook. Ultrabooks don't match Chromebooks 8.5+ hour real battery life without going to around $1000 in price.Google isn't pricing the Chromebook competitively for the consumer market because they are targetting only early adopters with outright sales (rather than installments). However they are not as overpriced as you are suggesting. The build quality/durability and real use battery life are way above what you will get in the low end Windows laptops or netbooks you are comparing prices with, and the 3G models come with built in 3G with 100MB a month data plan for two years included in the price (with a competitive monthly or daily extra data purchase option). Battery life does cost money unfortunately. That is why people spend $1000 to buy Windows high end Ultrabooks or Macbooks that come close to matching Chromebooks for battery life instead of the $500 Laptops with the same processing power as the Ultrabooks, but with 3.5-4.5 hours real battery life.


I have tried live CDs that load the entire OS into the RAM (Tinycore comes to mind) and they are the fastest OSs I've ever used so you already lose there. Linux can be zero maintenance if used properly. For example, a live CD that is also zero-maintenance (Tinycore is not, but it is awesome for other reasons, including it's performance and tiny size) that is called xPUD comes to mind. It comes pre-loaded with Wifi and Ethernet support and has a web browser that lets you do anything a Chrome book can do. It is zero-mantaince because it can't be broken. If a problem comes along, you replace it's CD. If that doesn't work, then the computer is damaged and needs replacement. No IT staff necessary to take a CD out of a computer and put in a new one. It's also free so you can get a regular notebook (or other desktop, netbook, etc) and pop in the CD and then restart and let it load into xPUD. It also supports Linux programs and local storage and more so despite it not needing maintenance similar to Chromebooks, it still has more features and a much lower price with more performance, although the performance is arguably not too big of a deal for a school environment.

The live xPUD OS (along with many other live Linux OSs) supports local storage just as well as any standard OS does so storage is not a problem as you seem to think it is. All throughout my schooling that had computers, the notebooks didn't even have good batteries so current schools can deal with it too. Besides, just getting lower power Intel Celerons but keeping the greater batteries wouldn't cost too much, but would still give huge battery times as you like (not that I have a problem with huge battery times, it would be very convenient for students to not need to charge the laptops during school hours at all). You also don't need to sacrifice too much performance too because the Sandy Bridge Celerons are actually pretty fast, at least FAR faster than ANY Atom or even AMD's competing APUs and still use very little power. Use the integrated graphics (it's more than fast enough for this usage) to save even more power compared to many notebooks today.

Anything a Chromebook can do, I can do better with other machines that cost less and have more features without sacrificing the advantages of the Chrome books. I can even do it for a group that needs zero-maintenance devices and such, as stated above this paragraph. Sorry, and no disrespect, but Chromebooks are only for someone who doesn't care to look into this to get a better device at a cheaper price point.

I have personally used xPUD for several months and the only time I had to do anything was when it finally crashed after weeks of being on 24/7 with it's memory near full capacity (not difficult, the laptop only has 2GB of RAM) from too many tabs being used at once for it to handle. Even then, it took it weeks before it crashed and all I had to do was reset the computer. It doesn't take an IT staff to reset a computer either.
March 11, 2012 4:34:56 AM

I have an Android and I can honestly say that it is fairly far from zero-maintenance, but I don't have an iOS device so I don't know about it and I'll take your word on that. However, Chrome OS is not the only zero maintenance OS out there and it isn't the best. It also isn't the cheapest.
March 11, 2012 8:55:54 AM

@blazorthon

No Android/iOs isn't zero maintenance, but it is lower maintenance than fat clients like Windows, MacOS, Linux.

To match Chromebooks' zero maintenance feature, you need a stateless device - ie. a device that stores nothing that changes on the device itself (other than temporarily cached data), and syncs itself to an image on a server. The only OSes that do that now are thin client OSes like Linux LTSP clients, or similar thin systems like Linux systems which sync changes to a thin client disc image from a server - I know RedHat was developing a system like this that used Puppet and disc syncing on boot. This is exactly what Chromebooks do and gives you something equivalent to a Chromebook. The advantage of Chromebooks is that with Chromebooks, Google manages the server side stuff (which is anything but zero maintenance) themselves and gives you a zero maintenance client. Google can of course put more local apps beyond Chrome browser on the Chromebook - eg. LibreOffice, but the more you put on, the more issues there will be with updates breaking things. Hence you shouldn't put any third party apps on the OS image, and you should only put in updates that you can syncronise with OS updates. Therefore Google's approach of only putting in a minimal OS plus browser and some network connectivity apps, and relying on Native Client browser plug-ins to provide local apps is I think the right one for such a device.

If you use ChromiumOS, the open source version of Chromebook's OS, you can get the same auto update and zero maintenance features only if you manage and update your own OS image on a server, and modify the local boot system to check the local image checksum on boot and sync it to the master image on the server if it changes. If you don't do this, then ChromiumOS may be very low maintenance, but isn't really zero maintenance.

March 11, 2012 5:37:10 PM

I already said that I agree with you about Android not being zero-maintenance so you replying again telling me that it isn't after I already said it isn't is stupid.

Any OS can be set up to be synced with a server as you described if you know what you are doing. The only advantage of these Chrome books is that Google does this, but at a cost of performance, flexibility in use, and increased cost for these inferior machines. There is no other advantage for them. There are many ways that the use of the Chrome book can be better done with other systems and for less money.

Chrome books aren't even the only way that this can be done.
March 17, 2012 2:18:19 AM

Any client OS can't be synced with a server as you claim. If you tried to do this with a fat client OS where the user can install third party applications, third party drivers, unapproved hardware or even applications or libraries which have a development and release cycle which is not in sync with everything else in the OS, things will break from time to time and would need to be fixed manually. In order for the automatic updates to be seamless, it is necessary to pare down the OS so that what you have is a tightly controlled hardware spec in which every OS image on every device variant supported is identical - in other words a thin client OS.

The other thing you are missing is that the whole purpose of Chromebooks. The server side stuff and the OS image stored on the server does still require maintenance, configuration, and updates, as do the applications. What Chromebooks do is to provide a zero maintenance device for the end user and customer's systems administrator, by moving this effort over to Google and the web application providers. End users and their system administrators who is looking for a zero maintenance experience, won't want to set up, maintain, and update their own server side stuff, their own applications, and their own OS image development and updates - this would be pointless as they might as well use a high maintenance fat client system if they were prepared to accept a high maintenance overhead.

If you want to set up your own server side service rival to Google they good luck to you, since you can download and use Chromium OS, the open source version of Chrome OS as it is open sourced. However economy of scale applies, and you need to be big or have special needs for this to be worthwhile - for example the FBI or Fermi-Labs or a few very large corporations may need to do this for confidentiality or data privacy reasons. What I can't see is individual or other institutional or corporate users who are looking for zero maintenance doing this. Why get a zero maintenance device and then opt for high maintenance server and systems and software update and testing?
April 29, 2012 10:53:07 PM

spm_76Any client OS can't be synced with a server as you claim. If you tried to do this with a fat client OS where the user can install third party applications, third party drivers, unapproved hardware or even applications or libraries which have a development and release cycle which is not in sync with everything else in the OS, things will break from time to time and would need to be fixed manually. In order for the automatic updates to be seamless, it is necessary to pare down the OS so that what you have is a tightly controlled hardware spec in which every OS image on every device variant supported is identical - in other words a thin client OS. The other thing you are missing is that the whole purpose of Chromebooks. The server side stuff and the OS image stored on the server does still require maintenance, configuration, and updates, as do the applications. What Chromebooks do is to provide a zero maintenance device for the end user and customer's systems administrator, by moving this effort over to Google and the web application providers. End users and their system administrators who is looking for a zero maintenance experience, won't want to set up, maintain, and update their own server side stuff, their own applications, and their own OS image development and updates - this would be pointless as they might as well use a high maintenance fat client system if they were prepared to accept a high maintenance overhead. If you want to set up your own server side service rival to Google they good luck to you, since you can download and use Chromium OS, the open source version of Chrome OS as it is open sourced. However economy of scale applies, and you need to be big or have special needs for this to be worthwhile - for example the FBI or Fermi-Labs or a few very large corporations may need to do this for confidentiality or data privacy reasons. What I can't see is individual or other institutional or corporate users who are looking for zero maintenance doing this. Why get a zero maintenance device and then opt for high maintenance server and systems and software update and testing?


There we go... The only advantage of Chrome books is that the server side is managed by Google. Several distributions of Linux are distributed by their own server, so you don't even need to setup your own. For example, Tinycore's site has an FTP server. The only advantage that Google has is that by spending your money on the overpriced, crap hardware Chrome books, you don't need to spend the few minutes it would take to have Tinycore download itself. All it would need to do is download the ISO image from Tinycore's FTP server automatically. How long would it take to set something up to do that? Not long at all. All Google has going for it is that it's customers don't need to spend a few minutes that would otherwise save them money and get them better products. In fact, the customers don't even need to do the work in this case, all they would need to do is ask the devs to do it for them. All that needs to be done is have an app that downloads the most recent version of Tinycore when a new version is released (it could check daily) and replaces the current Tinycore ISO on the hard drive with the new one.

There you have it. You don't need to setup your own server, just setup an app to automatically update tinycore from the FTP server that is already running and is hosted by Tinycore's developers. It's easy and would only need to be done once. Got new machines? Just copy the app onto the hard drives of the new machines (takes less than five seconds) and copy over Tinycore and it's good to go. You could even just have the students that are related to computer science classes and such do it as a project.

There are far more solutions that are even better. Point is, Google's Chrome books are not the only zero or near zero maintenance devices out there.
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