#1 By: howtogeek, April 28th, 2013 06:42
Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/161662/living-with-a-chromebook-can-you-live-with-just-a-chrome-browser/
Chromebooks are becoming more popular, with Samsung’s $249 Chromebook garnering solid reviews and decent sales. But a Chromebook still seems a bit scary — how do you live with just a Chrome browser? Is that really enough for a laptop?
#2 By: Andrew, April 28th, 2013 07:37
I don't use much that isn't in a browser, I only need a windows computer for my website, the rest is all google stuff.
#3 By: Lowell Heddings, April 29th, 2013 00:29
#4 By: Naman Sood, April 28th, 2013 08:10
Of course I can live with a Chromebook, if it comes with a decent Internet connection, or Google implements Android support in Chrome OS (Hmmm... nice thought).
#5 By: theMike, April 28th, 2013 08:21
how much different would this be from using an android with all the google apps already preinstalled? the chromebook does look nice.
#6 By: Martin Ristovski, April 28th, 2013 10:21
This is definitely a great device for non-tech-savvy people.
#7 By: campbell2644, April 28th, 2013 10:44
I would still miss too much stuff.I wouldn't like being virtually trapped under Google's tracking system either. Do they let you install Firefox on it?
#9 By: Jim, April 28th, 2013 12:11
Personally I never would put all my eggs in one basket so to speak. To be relying on one company, Google, for all your needs is not something I would do. Google has a habit of axing products or just buying companies and closing them down. That is not an organization that I want to rely on. Variety is good in life.
#10 By: Víctor Quirós, April 28th, 2013 12:32
Is it possible to plug in an iPhone via WiFi/USB/BlueTooth to a Chromebook and use its 3G signal to get online? Thanks.
#11 By: Ryan C, April 28th, 2013 12:34
I think that would depend on the app you use on the device. Since most mobile apps for this purpose require a complimentary program installed on the PC/Laptop, this probably would not work, since most of those apps are Windows only.
#12 By: José A Esquivel, April 28th, 2013 14:40
Actually, with an iPhone and most Android and WP devices, you can just share your signal from within the phone's settings wirelessly, with no need to plug in your phone. I actually have used this future, sharing my Windows Phone's signal and my mom's iPhone signal with my device several times.
I actually would definitely spend the extra buck on the chromebook Pixel, but I don't like the battery life of the device, and I think the touchscreen is an unnecessary extra at the time, at least until touch optimized apps come around.
I love chrome OS, and it is the best secondary computer I have had. (I have a Samsung ARM Chromebook) I have it on geek mode (developer mode ) and use project crouton to switch between xubuntu and chrome OS. I use xubuntu only to compile offline, even though I know of great web applications that allow me to compile online, sometimes I just prefer a combination of vim and my terminal to develop.
#13 By: Dustin , April 28th, 2013 14:45
Probably the biggest reason I, personally, wouldn't like it is simply that a browser isn't and never can be considered a pc. And while its nice to be able to essentially side load a different version of Linux, it's just not practical to have to do something like that right out of the box. I have noticed a steady decline in what a pc "allows" the user to control. It's becoming simply an interface and nothing more. Why do we continue to make our computers dumber just to drive sales?
#14 By: Vitrbjorn, April 28th, 2013 15:06
What demented lunatic called this an OS? It is nothing more than a crappy browser beefed up a tiny bit to actually contain something similar to an TCP/IP stack. A real OS is stand alone, runs programs and more to the point: Works Without an Internet Connection.
#16 By: Joseph di Piazza, April 28th, 2013 16:49
Of the many reviews and commentaries on the pluses and minuses of Chromebooks, this one is the most comprehensive thus far; but I am no expert.
2. A quick note on an area not reference: a comparison of Chromebooks to MacBooks, ChromeOS to iOS, and so on -- not just talk about Chromebooks and PCs and parallel matters. Specifically, I bought a MacBook a few years ago because of its having an application called Parallels. 3. This software allows multiple OSs to be loaded: I have Windows OSs, Linux's, Chrome OS. (In Parallels, Windows and Apple's Apps can talk in the same partition. Cool-est!) The other obvious Advantage over the Cbook is that I can access so many OSs, along with the browsers thereon! I am not restricted to Chromebook's OS, but do have the Chrome OS, which I use very often. 4. However, occasionally, some feature in an Apple OS, especially handling graphics or printing, is superior.
As some forum commentator already mentioned, I would abhor being restricted to just the Chrome browser and Chrome Apps, though some are quite useful. In line with this point, 5. Google, if it were more strongly a champion of open source would allow the downloading of other browsers (Firefox: hurrah! Windows! Dolphin? Et cetera.) via Chrome onto a Chrome book.
And to drift to a related point: the 6. Acer Chromebook may be superior to the Samsung, since it has such a large hard drive (300 gbs), for could it not allow for partitioning into other OSs, even including the bad one: Windows 8?
Here I ask: Google has a right to protect its business interests and should grow and grow in healthy ways, but 9. it should show the world that it is not becoming the next "Microsoft Monster" -- working against open source, blocking competition, or even giving the appearance thereof, etc.10, But surely, in providing the Android OSs almost annually, Google has shown itself to be much more friendly to the open source idea than Mircrosoft or even Apple.
Moreover, on the question of the packaged software versions allowing for offline use: please elaborate. 11. Are these other than or more than compressed run-time partial versions of the full-fledged software that runs on the Website? 12. How does the whole idea of the Cloud not become one in which the pre-cloud world just becomes one that is "stood on its head"? The servers or main software were at the company's or on the home-owner's hard drives, and the backups were saved on other pieces of hardware. In the Cloud world, the main storage is on Google's or other companies's servers, and the business or home computers have the backups. [Can the Chrome Apps or Extensions be copied or downloaded in any sense?]
Cbooks have some obvious benefits that may make them the dominant genre of computers in 5-10 yrs. 13. The Cbook saves the user from virus problems (All?), and many maintenance problems (All? There go many systems jobs.) And they do lessen user frustrations with these damn PCs and even Macs -- where files disappear, and "I could have scribbled that note on paper before the damn thing booted -- even if in 5 seconds." And 14. the Super-Geeks out there (not any on this site?) should be happy that non-computer people are ruling in the computer world, just as in the US the citizens and voters, not the politicians and least of all the generals, should rule and start wars, etc. On the other hand, the 15. Luddites among the citizens should recognize that the geeks of the world have made possible most of the job growth in so many industries since the 1950s, via icon-based interfaces on computers and cell phones, etc. 16. Surely, most of the advantages that the author cites as available only in developer mode should be made available in non-developer mode -- that is, the fruits of these ads should be present to end-users. Fini. Sorry for sometimes editorializing.
Parallels, Apple, Mac:
Packaged, Offline, Airport, Internet Out,
Google --> New "Microsoft Monster"
Super-Geeks want no icons
Luddites want no mechanics, systems engineers
#17 By: Robyns Veil, April 28th, 2013 20:08
As is (meaning "as sold") I'd probably find it limiting. However, unlike with the SurfaceRT, you're not stuck with what you get. When you consider that for $250, you get a nifty little laptop upon which you can easily install Mint alongside ChromeOS, jeez, why NOT get one??
How good is this!
Gotta love what creative minds have come up with... quite a world apart from the "proprietary software" mindset. I could never go back to having some corporation telling me what to run on my computer!!!!
#18 By: Tad, April 28th, 2013 22:57
If it wasn't for me being a student I would absolutely go with Chrome OS.
Even as a student, >95% of my time is spent in Chrome; however, it's because that other 5% is necessary for classes (mostly Microsoft Office), I unfortunately have to stick with Windows (online office suites, such as Google's, still don't come anywhere close to what Office offers). Steam is another thing keeping me from switching, but I wouldn't really expect to be playing games on a Chromebook anyway (although, I could honestly see myself using Chrome OS on a desktop computer as well, so maybe Steam is something that should be considered).
I just went through everything in my Start menu and all of my programs either have good online alternatives or I can simply do without them. So basically, the only thing that's keeping me from switching is Microsoft Office - a tip for Google if they want to go after the student market.
Also, it's unfortunate that they decided to make Chrome OS look more like a traditional OS with the taskbar and desktop background - the strongest appeal to me when I first saw the OS was that it was literally just Chrome with no junk around/behind it. With the taskbar/desktop I probably won't consider the OS anymore (unless you can toggle those things off).
#20 By: Adam Greenblum, April 29th, 2013 09:35
Chris mentioned Citrix as a solution for Chromebook users that need access to Windows. However, in order to use Citrix Receiver you will also need either XenApp or XenDesktop to publish the Windows apps or virtual desktops. A simpler and less costly alternative is Ericom AccessNow, a pure HTML5 RDP client that enables Chromebook/ChromeOS users to connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server (RDS Session Host), physical desktops or VDI virtual desktops – and run their Windows applications and desktops in a browser. AccessNow is a fraction of the price of Citrix Receiver and installs in a few minutes.
So even if you purchase a Chromebook for casual home use, you can also use it to connect to your work applications if necessary.
Click here for more information:
Please note that I work for Ericom
#21 By: crossfire9, April 29th, 2013 09:50
I really like the Ericom AccessNow application. I find that it tends to be better than Chrome's remote desktop (plus the fact that you don't have to install a client on the machine you are connecting to, this is true RDP). My only complaint is that it seems to sometimes "freeze" if I go to another tab and then back to it. I suspect though, that it may be more a hardware limitation (Samsung Chromebook ARM) and less of an issue with your application.
As far as the original discussion goes, I use my Chromebook a lot. Since receiving it, I spend probably 90% less time on the iPad. Looking at this as replacing your primary computer isn't feasible for more people, but these make great secondary devices. While the iPad is a great consumption device for media, web-surfing on it isn't ideal and that is naturally where the Chromebook shines. Also anything that needs a keyboard, a tablet is a bad choice for. I definitely think mine was worth the $249 I paid for it and find myself carrying it with me more and more when I would have normally taken a different secondary device (iPad or full blown laptop)
#22 By: netcan, April 29th, 2013 10:59
This is definitely a great device for non-tech-savvy people.
I cam across an article by Joel Spolsky around the time Chrome OS was being announced: Bloatware and the 80/20 Myth. It's from 2001 and was old then but it's still relevant.
In a nutshell, he says that simple software that only has the 20% of features that most people use is chasing a mirage. Everyone uses a slightly different 20% so omitting 80% of features guarantees that any potential customer will need some feature you don't have. Missing features you need are worse than the bloat from extra features you don't need.
Replace bloat with complexity and you could reprint that article about google chrome.
On one hand I agree that PCs (especially windows ones) suck for most people. They're too complicated and need managing that they can't/won't do. OTOH every positive review or discussion of Chrome OS has two components that (IMO) suggest Chome OS is not (in its current form) going to make a real dent in the PC world.
Hacks - How I use it
virtual/remote desktops, dual booting to linux, cloud gymnastics to get your home movie between two apps or cloudjistu to get a csv from one webapp and into another. People who like playing with gadgets like getting a stopwatch to run tetris. No one really knows why. Stuff like that is kind of fun, but If you are remote accessing your xubuntu machine from chrome, you are not the mass market and you are not using it as intended. You are using workarounds. At this point ChromeOS is not the simpler option.
All I need is x, then I'll buy one. - Meanwhile, it would be great for Aunt Jane.
This is the second flag. You're very aware of Aun Jane's troubles with windows. You assume she'll be better off with chrome. But even Aunt Jane does some stuff that chrome doesn't. Maybe she skips her niece's boyfriend (for tech support). Maybe she connects to the internet with a usb modem that needs a special driver. Maybe she has a pod (and needs ytunes).
Making a new OS is a huge undertaking. Much respect to Google for giving it a (two) try/ies. Good luck to them. I don't think this web-only road will lead to windows killer though. Not even for basic-home users.
#23 By: Jason, April 29th, 2013 14:41
I'm an IT Administrator and use chrome books in our environment. Unfortunately as an IT person a chrome book just isn't going to cut it for my admin responsibilities.
As for our regular users, the chrome book works really well for the people that have been assigned them. They do fall a little short because of proprietary company software. To get around that we used a CITRIX server and can now load any windows application onto a chrome book. Its a great solution for that situation but it does cost a bit of $$.
I love the chrome book, they are great (especially with a built in terminal) but there needs to be more options for Developers, system admins, FTP, Mounting folders, IE Compatibility (some sites dont allow chrome).
Now that they've updated the interface to a more user friendly one I think its great for simple users.
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