Tag: Chrome OS

Read More

My Personal Tech Kit 2018

I am a big believer in change, as being beneficial, and I will occassionally switch computing platforms to shake up habits and my digital lifestyle. Watching Google’s advances with Assistant, and anticipating release of a new Pixel Chromebook, I expected to swap out my Apple gear before end of the year. But that isn’t the case. I start 2018 pretty much as I did 2017—looking at that bitten-fruit logo on my major personal devices.

There is the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that I purchased during the last week of November 2016. The other three gadgets released last year and replace like gear: Apple Watch Series 3 LTE (Stainless Steel); iPad Pro 10.5 LTE; iPhone X. Additionally, there is an Apple TV 4K in the living room. 

Read More

Psst — Here’s What Google Wants from Android Apps on Chromebook

Your kids. Chromebook leads laptop and desktop sales through U.S. commercial channels to schools, according to NPD. Education is overwhelmingly the primary market for the computers. The institutions can’t buy enough of the thangs, for their utility and low-cost compared to notebooks running either OS X or Windows. That cost is as much about extended webapps and services from Google (or its developer partners), available for free or comparatively next-to-nothing, set against software for the other platforms.

Wrinkle in the Google firmament: iPhone and Chromebook are like water and dirt. The sediment settles unless shaken up. Sure youngsters can do all their Googly things—Docs, Gmail, Maps, Photos, YouTube, etc.—on iOS but the experience is smoother and more homogenous when mixed Android and Chrome OS. What the kiddies lack, and their educators, is a swath of useful apps like the Apple kids get. 

Read More

I Couldn’t Break the Surface Tension

Today, Microsoft started selling Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, and I strongly considered buying either. During the past 10 days, I visited the company’s Fashion Valley store four different times specifically to play with the devices. The hardware dazzles, but I couldn’t get beyond Windows 10 when compared to benefits I receive using Chromebook Pixel LS. SB’s price, which starts at $1,499, is another impediment.

There is something to be said for straightforward, simple, and efficient computing, which Google gets right. Contextual sync is among Chrome OS’s biggest benefits. Little things, like popping my camera’s SD card into Pixel’s slot and the laptop backing up photos to Google Drive, which is accessible from the file manager as if local storage. Granted, there are application gaps, but the overall user experience fills them in.

Read More

Origin Story

Sometimes the Internet community surprises me. My last post, “Apple, How Did It Come to This?” is why. Everyone creating content everywhere wants to know the magic formula for generating reader response. The pageview-obsessed seek the golden ticket that consistently means clicks. Me? I write obsessively. It’s like breathing—a necessary and unavoidable act.

The “Come to This” post garnered quite a bit more attention than I expected, in part because of its origin. Some of the activity is Twitter, but more of it occurred on Google+ overnight. The post is an adapted Plus response to a comment to a shared BetaNews story that I wrote based on something else I posted first on Google+. Confusing, isn’t it? I’ll explain in linear fashion. 

Read More

Pixel Me Life

I am in one of my moods today, waiting for the big Apple media event to start in about 30 minutes. For no reason, other than perhaps boredom thinking about what’s to come, I wrote a quickie poem—an ode to Chromebook Pixel. It’s all just for fun and doesn’t pretend to be anything more.

When you work alone in a home office and there is no one to tease with spitballs and paper airplanes, making fun is a singular effort. The poem is meant to be read with rapid meter. Confession: I don’t play a fife, but it rhymes with life. Maybe I will add more verses later. 

Read More

Acer Chromebook 15 Review

I am not a fan of overly-large laptops, but if I were to buy one, Acer’s 15.6-inch monster would be among my top choices. The Chromebook packs in lots of value, which first and foremost is 1080p resolution to match the large screen, a benefit that is atypical for the price and size class. Screen brightness is no match for the Toshiba Chromebook 2, but the matte finish compensates for dimness by dramatically reducing glare. Meanwhile, the IPS display gives great viewing angles.

The point: Acer doesn’t just offer bigger, but better, among the overall Chromebook category, where  dim TN screens are standard fare. That also can be said of competing Windows laptops, where with same size screen in the price range, or even more costly, resolution typically tops out at 1366 x 768. Chromebook 15 is 1920 x 1080. By more than size, the display is a big benefit. 

Read More

Dell Chromebook 13 means Business

The strangest, and largely overlooked news, coming out of the tech sector this past week was Dell’s Microsoft betrayal. This isn’t the first time that the PC maker strayed. Linux joined the product stable long ago, and last year an educational Chromebook debuted. But this newer and larger model, which will be available September 17, raises question: WTF?

Dell’s core PC market is business—small, large, and everything between. Windows, and that smattering of Linux, is core, and longstanding loyalty to Microsoft’s application stack. But the Chromebook 13 announcement, as positioned by the OEM and Google, is all about the competing cloud app stack. Interestingly, selling prices rival Windows laptops, which is another head scratcher: $399 to $899, depending on configuration. 

Read More

Toshiba Chromebook 2 Review

My family plays musical computers today, as mom receives my wife’s Toshiba Chromebook 2—to replace the end-of-life original Microsoft Surface RT. Last week, my beloved took possession of my Google Pixel after I received the newer model, which released on March 11, 2015.

While writing the above paragraph, my mother phoned to let me know the laptop arrived. “Oh do I like this Toshiba! This can’t be a 13-inch screen. It seems so much bigger”. The reaction is more than just because of the move from the RTs 11.6-inch panel. Among the Chrome OS category, the Toshiba’s screen is exceptionally bright, and crisp, setting it apart from every model other than Google’s own. 

Read More

Chromebook Pixel LS First Impressions

Around Noon yesterday, FedEx delivered the 2015 Chromebox Pixel, which I set up late afternoon. Nearly 24 hours later, time is right for some immediate reactions before my eventual full review. My perspective presented here is two-fold: General first impressions for anyone combined with what are the benefits for existing Pixel owners. For many of the latter group, I say this: Consider your budget and needs wisely. What you’ve got may be more than good enough.

For everyone else, I will contradict the majority of reviewers, and even Google. Pixel is not a computer for developers or limited number of laptop users. Anyone shopping for a quality notebook that will last years should consider the new Chromebook, most certainly if looking at any MacBook model or Windows PC, such as Surface Pro 3. Everyone living the Google lifestyle who can afford a laptop in this price range should consider nothing else. Now let’s get to the drill down, point by point. 

Read More

Chromebook Pixel or New MacBook?

Two new laptops launched this week, both pioneering USB-C and packing 12-inch displays. The likenesses stop there, and the distinctions can’t be overstated. One computer you can buy now, the other comes next month. Should you consider either? My primer will help you decide.

Apple unveiled the new MacBook, which measures 1.31 centimeters at its thickest and weighs less than a kilogram, on March 9. Sales start April 10, 2015. Yesterday, Google launched the second-generation Chromebook Pixel, which is immediately available for purchase (mine arrives tomorrow from the new Google Store). Both laptops adopt USB Type-C for power and, using adapters, hooking up to other devices. USB-C puts both computers at the bleeding edge for charging and connectivity, But their approach to ports couldn’t be more different. 

Read More

Yes, Chromebook Matters

Yesterday, commentary “Do Chromebooks matter anymore?” popped up in my Google+ feed. Preston Gralla rightly wonders, when looking at how the laptops have fallen off Amazon’s top-seller lists, IDC shipment forecasts, and what happened with netbooks. While being a Chromebook fan, I must admit to sharing similar misgivings,

So today, I emailed Stephen Baker, NPD’s vice president of industry analysis: “Are Chromebooks just the next netbook wave? Low-cost, lean configurations, and education adoption all look similar to me. Do you see any parallels to suggest Chromebook is little more than the next netbook and it’s headed for the same destination: Short-term appeal that vanishes? Or is there longevity here, based on sales numbers? His answer is reason for this post. 

Read More

Rethinking Chromebook Pixel

Yesterday marked my second full day using Chromebook Pixel, following a nearly 7-month hiatus and pointless journey to Windows 8.1 and OS X Yosemite. Last summer, I sold my 64GB LTE Pixel to a student from Brazil; I had purchased the laptop new off Craigslist, substantially discounted. I feel foolish for letting it go. I type on the 32GB WiFi model—used, and I’m grateful to have it.

Google unveiled the Pixel two years ago next month. The hardware is unchanged, while competitors—and even most Chromebook manufacturing partners—have moved on to newer hardware. The only real difference is Chrome OS, now at version 40, up from 25 when I reviewed the computer in late February 2013. My questions today, rethinking the computer: Is there still a place for the Pixel, and, if so, should Google release updated models?