1. anon(10458357)'s Avatar
    I'm just wondering, with all the recent abandonment by Microsoft of Consumer related products and services, has anyone made the switch to a Chromebook?

    In researching it I think Pixelbooks are about the only Chromebook I could stomach. I am a developer and with the recent announcement at Google I/O that they are bringing native Linux emulation to Chrome OS, which gives the ability to run Android Studio on it without dual booting, I think I could survive the switch from a Yoga 900. And I hear Pixelbooks will be the first to be able to emulate Linux natively.

    From their advertising Google says the Pixelbook is a "high performance" (i5 or i7) machine. Google Assistant is built right in (so no more abandonware Cortana). Backlit keys. 360 hinge. Touch screen. Active Pen ready. Full true integration with a Google Pixel phone, and instant tethering. Lightweight 2.5 pounds. USB-C. 3:2 aspect ratio (like a Surface). $999 for Core i5/8GB/128GB

    https://store.google.com/us/product/google_pixelbook

    But has anyone on this site ever used one? And/or successfully made the switch to any Chromebook model? Or have you researched any other Chromebook model that shows promise?
    Last edited by OnTheSurface; 06-01-2018 at 01:46 AM.
    06-01-2018 01:28 AM
  2. tgp's Avatar
    But has anyone on this site ever used one? And/or successfully made the switch to any Chromebook model? Or have you researched any other Chromebook model that shows promise?
    We use Chromeboooks at home for consumption. They can also be used for productivity to some extent.

    Do you know what most consumers use a PC for? The Chrome browser. Little to nothing else. For a lot of people, using a PC is akin to using a steam roller to crack a nut.
    06-01-2018 07:56 AM
  3. midnightfrolic's Avatar
    but a steam roller makes it extremely easy for everyone to crack that nut and fast, compared to say...a rolling pin.

    I'll only use a Chromebook to browse the web, but I can already do that on my phone.
    06-02-2018 02:25 AM
  4. Drael646464's Avatar
    I'm going to dodge the whole "Microsoft is abandoning consumer products and services" (apart from saying a large portion of their products come from software, much of which is for consumers).

    However, I am not sure it's any more a good time to switch to chrome, than it is a good time to switch to windows mobile.

    Google ended support for it's chrome apps on the PC browser. Which means that limited app market (mostly educational apps), has an even smaller user based for developers to get interested in.

    Likewise it's new android app support - android has never had a good developer base for larger screens. It's secondary tablet market share, is the fastest shrinking. It's really only kept afloat by samsungs brand power. As such, the vast majority of android apps are designed not for a large screen, or multi-tasking, but for a little smart screen phone with touch input. Making them a pretty awkward experience on chrome.

    Lastly fushia. Google like all the major players is working on a hybrid OS, and fushia, googles likely replacement for both android and chrome, has been leaked, touted as an OS for both smartphones and PCs.

    Google is also intent on building PWA, a platform that replaces over 90 percent of the functionality of android apps - giving developers good motive as time goes on, to not develop for either chrome or android specifically.

    Of course this is likely because they know they will need to switch to fushia, and want a good ecosystem from the get go.

    So not only do they lack the kind of developer support one would want, but google has a new shiny that it's likely to spend all it's focus on. That puts the chromebook in a pretty similar space to windows mobile.

    A lot moreso than android which has dominant marketshare, that they will probably put their weight fully behind until fushia is released (and somewhat afterwards during the transition). Fushia also has android app support of course.

    That doesn't mean that you won't be able to use chrome, or that it'll get no apps, but that the android apps will run suboptimally (small windows, small touch optimised UI), and as a platform is likely to get a lot less love than OSX does from apple.
    Last edited by Drael646464; 06-02-2018 at 06:42 AM.
    ochhanz likes this.
    06-02-2018 06:25 AM
  5. Drael646464's Avatar
    We use Chromeboooks at home for consumption. They can also be used for productivity to some extent.

    Do you know what most consumers use a PC for? The Chrome browser. Little to nothing else. For a lot of people, using a PC is akin to using a steam roller to crack a nut.
    That's not really true. I know people say this a lot, but it's not really true. Apps like word, outlook and skype are commonplace for home users. People also use things like music players, photo editors, video players (VLC for example) etc. A lot of people play games on PC as well, even if they are just casual games.

    Yes, you can do some of those things via a browser (like skype), or some via an app, but they will be feature poor, and an inferior experience.

    My advice? I hate apple, but probably an ipad pro is your best option atm. Either that or one of the new windows on arm devices. Or a 360 windows device.

    Unless price is a real object in which case case you might see value in a chrome book - but beware it's going to be an end of life product sometime soon. If you are not concerned about active support, new features, then PWA will certainly keep the platform alive for basic use at the basic app end, much like it will for windows mobile.



    I tend to think myself that the 360 style laptops suit this kind of casual use better than a plain laptop - you can use it as a tablet, but it also has a ridged form factor for ease of use whilst typing etc. I mean a typecover isn't bad, plenty of people lap use that style of device, but that's just my personal opinion, partly for the stability, and partly because the weight is better distributed.

    So even though it has more software power than one would need, that's probably what I personally would go for, for ultra casual use.

    So yeah to sum - for a good large screen ecosystem and active support:

    Ipad Pro for mostly touch use, Windows on ARM for more of a mixed input

    For cheap, but not likely to get much support, and less software for bigger screens (chrome apps also aren't touch optimised either):

    Chromebook

    Or as alternative because tablet mode and laptop are both handy for casual use:

    A 360 hybrid windows laptop

    Another thing to consider is peripheral support. Like if you want IoT intergration, smartphone intergration, printers etc. If you want those, that kinda rules out chromebook. Would depend on what you wanted.

    At the moment in the land of casual notebook/hybrids there is not really a be all and end all. They all have pros and cons. I think when windows on arm is cheaper, and mature, and PWA grows, it could forfill that role.
    Last edited by Drael646464; 06-02-2018 at 06:58 AM.
    06-02-2018 06:31 AM
  6. anon(10458357)'s Avatar
    Update... If anyone is thinking of making the switch to a Pixelbook, right now might be a good time. An i5 7th gen, 128GB Pixelbook usually $999 just went on sale for $749.

    https://store.google.com/us/config/google_pixelbook
    06-02-2018 10:35 AM
  7. anon(10458357)'s Avatar
    Just saw that Pixelbook actually has a dedicated OK Google button.
    06-02-2018 10:46 AM
  8. Drael646464's Avatar
    Update... If anyone is thinking of making the switch to a Pixelbook, right now might be a good time. An i5 7th gen, 128GB Pixelbook usually $999 just went on sale for $749.

    https://store.google.com/us/config/google_pixelbook
    What would an OS that is basically chrome plus an android engine use an i5 for? I don't mean to cast aspersions, but I am genuinely curious what this level of performance would be utilized for?

    Is there anything that chromeOS can do that is demanding?
    06-02-2018 12:19 PM
  9. tgp's Avatar
    That's not really true.
    Yeah what do I know? I only work in the industry.
    06-02-2018 06:53 PM
  10. Drael646464's Avatar
    Yeah what do I know? I only work in the industry.
    You said all the average user uses is Chrome. From what I've seen of application useage stats for home users, that's not true. Skype has a huge user base. MS word is used by home users in high numbers. Calculator and other inbuilt apps seem to get used a lot. A lot of normal users have non-streaming media they listen to or watch, whether it be downloads or home videos. VLC seems to be pretty huge. iTunes is not unpopular - there's a lot of people with ipods and iphones who don't use a mac. I've seen a lot of older home users using outlook too.

    Even looking at my 60 something year old mum, she uses more than a browser.

    Even as a browser desktop market share, Chrome is around 60 percent, so while you might say "the average user" uses chrome, realistically the average joe is nearly as likely to use some a mixture of browsers as well (firefox, edge and Ie are reasonably popular). Indeed 70 percent of ad clicks on desktop come from Microsoft searches on PC, which wouldn't happen if everyone in desktop was using chrome.

    Sure the average user has a browser heavy pattern, and is less likely to make use of torrenting applications, games, or power software - they might for example use the browser instead of the facebook app, the messenging app, or the Netflix app- but "only chrome"? I just don't think that's fair.
    Last edited by Drael646464; 06-03-2018 at 01:25 AM.
    ochhanz likes this.
    06-03-2018 01:14 AM
  11. anon(10458357)'s Avatar
    What would an OS that is basically chrome plus an android engine use an i5 for? I don't mean to cast aspersions, but I am genuinely curious what this level of performance would be utilized for?

    Is there anything that chromeOS can do that is demanding?
    At Google's I/O developer conference this year they announced the ability to run Linux emulation natively on a Chromebook without having to install something like Crouton and dual boot. Linux emulation would give folks the ability to install professional grade content creation software. But more notably it would give developers the ability to install Android Studio and test and compile their apps right on the Chromebook. This article from sister site Android Central may help: https://www.androidcentral.com/whats...google-io-2018
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-03-2018 01:33 AM
  12. anon(10458357)'s Avatar
    PS. Another great article on this subject is this one from Computerworld: https://www.computerworld.com/articl...romebooks.html

    Having Linux and Android Studio is pretty much so the only reason why I personally, as a developer, would even consider a Chromebook. But artists types might run programs like GIMP, Audacity, Ardour, Darktable, Openshot, etc.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    06-03-2018 01:58 AM
  13. Drael646464's Avatar
    At Google's I/O developer conference this year they announced the ability to run Linux emulation natively on a Chromebook without having to install something like Crouton and dual boot. Linux emulation would give folks the ability to install professional grade content creation software. But more notably it would give developers the ability to install Android Studio and test and compile their apps right on the Chromebook. This article from sister site Android Central may help: https://www.androidcentral.com/whats...google-io-2018
    That's clever. Linux has some games and creative software. Kind of completes things for the chrome book. I wonder how the emulation layer will perform, if it uses caching. They are certainly right that Linux apps are a bigger deal than android apps. Linux gets a lot more love than it's market size, because developers are fond of it. They also are designed for larger screens, and mouse control (and unlike mobile apps, feature rich)

    There is still the issue of how the emulation layer performs. Music production software for example is pretty processor intensive. Running that via emulation is probably not going to be super pretty even on an i5.

    But if it's a little laggy that still enables lighter apps like office apps, image editing, media software, that are of a quality (ie feature rich, designed for larger UIs) you don't find in chrome or android apps. And that could make the platform much more viable, as a genuine casual laptop alternative.

    One would likely prefer for example skype for Linux, over skype for android, or the web version. Or GIMP for any serious photo editing over something on android, or web based.

    Yeah, that's interesting to hear, it's changed my perspective, that's huge. Not actually a "techy" thing IMO, like that second website implies, or only for advanced users - but something that fills in the most noteable gaps in the software ecosystem.
    Last edited by Drael646464; 06-03-2018 at 03:06 AM.
    06-03-2018 02:45 AM
  14. Drael646464's Avatar
    I hope for casual chrome users benefit they put Linux apps in the chrome store somewhere.
    06-03-2018 03:10 AM
  15. fatclue_98's Avatar
    I have a Chromebook for each member of my household but they're not meant to replace anything. They're geared as a complementary piece. For many tasks, they're more efficient due to their size/weight advantages and their battery life. Printing alone is a chore if your printer is not Google Cloud capable. I'll just leave it there.
    tgp, Laura Knotek, ven07 and 1 others like this.
    06-03-2018 02:47 PM
  16. ptkelly's Avatar
    I am 77 years old, retired, of course, and have used a PC since 1983. When I first started using a PC it was critical that it connect to the computer where I worked, before the internet, and that it use the same software as the computers at work. But, I don't work any longer and what I wanted was to have better integration with my phone. To be fair, Microsoft has been moving towards that integrationr, too.

    I browse the web, write using Google Docs, use GMail as my email client, use Google Calendar to keep my schedule straight, use Google Keep for lists, use Contacts for information about peope and businesses. I use Google Maps, Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford Spanish Dictionary, Snapseed for editing photos, and Google Messages for the Web is working fine for me now.

    All that I really use my PC for now is watching movies. I have a lot of DVDs and no television. Televisions are cheap enough now I'm thinking about getting one with a DVD player and giving my desktop to my nephews.

    I've seen posts by a few people who bought Chromebooks with absolutely no research and aren't happy. I wonder if they realize who's responsible for their misery?
    fatclue_98 likes this.
    12-02-2018 04:56 PM
  17. ven07's Avatar
    I've seen posts by a few people who bought Chromebooks with absolutely no research and aren't happy. I wonder if they realize who's responsible for their misery?
    I doubt it. Denial is a powerful tool! Average consumers will just look at the price and go 'oh this is a pretty good deal' without considering all the other factors. Chromebooks are useful, but you need to be very aware of their limitations before buying one
    12-03-2018 10:53 AM
  18. ptkelly's Avatar
    Yeah what do I know? I only work in the industry.
    If you think that's a winning argument you haven't dealt with many IT people.
    01-26-2019 08:24 AM
  19. ptkelly's Avatar
    I doubt it. Denial is a powerful tool! Average consumers will just look at the price and go 'oh this is a pretty good deal' without considering all the other factors. Chromebooks are useful, but you need to be very aware of their limitations before buying one
    I certainly agree. When I bought my first Chrome OS device the keyboard was, for me, unworkable. I got rid of that device and got a second. It was quite workable. Yes, I surf the web and Chrome is acceptable. I don't use Google search but I could use search engines. I do word processing and Google Docs worked for me. GMail is fine although I can't embed photos in my emails using GMail. I've found a way to do it using Google Docs. Google has a number of apps that I use and they interface seamlessly with my phone. Google Photos, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Messages for Web, and Google Keep get a lot of use. For third-party apps I have two dictionaries I use daily, and a photo editor. My Windows desktop sits on the desk. The other thing that is a kick for me is the rapid changes and advances with Chrome OS.

    All I still use my Windows computer for is watching movies on DVDs. My Chrome OS won't do that...yet. I haven't yet figured out how to run my wireless printer with the Chromebook without having the printer hooked to the desktop.
    01-26-2019 08:36 AM
  20. fatclue_98's Avatar
    Printing from a Chromebook is done via Google Cloud printing exclusively. You're apparently tech-savvy so it shouldn't pose a problem for you. If your device has a USB-C port you can get a dongle with USB-A female ports and connect an external DVD player. They're at Best Buy for about $30 so it's not a ball buster.

    As for embedding video, if your Chromebook is a newer model you can use most Android apps from the Play Store and get Microsoft Outlook for Android. Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available too.
    I certainly agree. When I bought my first Chrome OS device the keyboard was, for me, unworkable. I got rid of that device and got a second. It was quite workable. Yes, I surf the web and Chrome is acceptable. I don't use Google search but I could use search engines. I do word processing and Google Docs worked for me. GMail is fine although I can't embed photos in my emails using GMail. I've found a way to do it using Google Docs. Google has a number of apps that I use and they interface seamlessly with my phone. Google Photos, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Messages for Web, and Google Keep get a lot of use. For third-party apps I have two dictionaries I use daily, and a photo editor. My Windows desktop sits on the desk. The other thing that is a kick for me is the rapid changes and advances with Chrome OS.

    All I still use my Windows computer for is watching movies on DVDs. My Chrome OS won't do that...yet. I haven't yet figured out how to run my wireless printer with the Chromebook without having the printer hooked to the desktop.
    01-26-2019 03:05 PM
  21. tgp's Avatar
    Printing from a Chromebook is done via Google Cloud printing exclusively.
    Printing is one of the pain points of a Chromebook. I would have thought that by now it would have been made a little more Windows-like. Using Google Cloud Print can be a problem sometimes. But it works. I even use it on Windows machines sometimes; for example, if I am at work and my wife wants me to print something at home for her.
    01-26-2019 05:45 PM

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