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Chrome Google Portables Hardware IT

At $250, New Chromebook Means Competition For Tablets, Netbooks, Ultrabooks 283

Posted by timothy
from the very-cute dept.
Google's new ARM-powered Chromebook isn't a lot of things: it isn't a full-fledged laptop, it's not a tablet (doesn't even have a touch screen); and by design it's not very good as a stand-alone device. Eric Lai at ZDNet, though, thinks Chromebooks are (with the price drop that accompanies the newest version) a good fit for business customers, at least "for white-collar employees and other workers who rarely stray away from their corporate campus and its Wi-Fi network." Lai lists some interesting large-scale rollouts with Chromebooks, including 19,000 of them in a South Carolina school district. Schools probably especially like the control that ChromeOS means for the laptops they administer. For those who'd like to have a more conventional but still lightweight ARM laptop, I wonder how quickly the ARM variant of Ubuntu will land on the new version. (Looks like I'm not the only one to leap to that thought.)
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At $250, New Chromebook Means Competition For Tablets, Netbooks, Ultrabooks

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  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tommeke100 (755660) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:53PM (#41724671)
    so what?!
    How is this different from any generic netbook that comes out around the same price range (with a x86 processor may I add)?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:58PM (#41724695)
      You get the CLOUD, son. The CLOUD. All your data can be stored in the CLOUD. The processor is not relevant. Cycles per second doesn't matter when you data is instantly accessible in the CLOUD. At our fingertips. We can scan, parse, and not store any data. Promise.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tough Love (215404) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:13PM (#41724755)

      How is this different from any generic netbook that comes out around the same price range (with a x86 processor may I add)?

      Power-efficient ARM setup with modest sized SSD and crippled OS. Just needs a proper Linux install to make a cheap and useful geek trophy. Subsized by Google, what's not to like about that. I wonder if it requires prorietary modules or firmware.

      And I wonder how long Google will continue beating this dead horse.

      • The cost per unit of this sort of hardware isn't a lot and they only have to sell a few thousand to get their development costs back.
        • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:46PM (#41724917)

          The cost per unit of this sort of hardware isn't a lot and they only have to sell a few thousand to get their development costs back.

          We lose money on each unit but we make it up by selling in volume.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I'm pretty certain you meant to be funny there but it's not as strange as it sounds. By selling in volume, you get a LOT of devices out there which can be used for money generation in other ways. Haven't you ever wondered how Google makes money despite the fact that their flagship product (search) is free to use (as are quite a few of their other products)?

            • They make their money through advertising. It's not really a secret.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by postbigbang (761081)

              It's a race to the bottom.

              They make the revenue by giving up your location and what you do. After all: this is Google we're talking about. Between Adsense and Google apps you use, there are no secrets. At.All.

              People pay for your secrets, so buyers get a nebbishy netbook wannabe, and think they're getting a deal. Yeeeesh.

              Like smartphones, they can sell it at or under cost and make money on the back-end.

              • by tuppe666 (904118) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @11:23PM (#41725587)

                It's a race to the bottom.

                They make the revenue by giving up your location and what you do. After all: this is Google we're talking about. Between Adsense and Google apps you use, there are no secrets. At.All.

                People pay for your secrets, so buyers get a nebbishy netbook wannabe, and think they're getting a deal. Yeeeesh.

                Like smartphones, they can sell it at or under cost and make money on the back-end.

                Race to the bottom is just how capitalism works. Its why Apples [who make siri useless with advertising] market share in phones continues to drop. Google will never give away your secrets, because it is not a good business model. They sell advertising space.

          • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob&hotmail,com> on Sunday October 21, 2012 @10:25PM (#41725381) Journal

            10" ARM Android netbooks are retailing from $100-150 in China, so I'd say Google have a bit of room to earn money on their Chromebooks.

        • they only have to sell a few thousand to get their development costs back

          Did you just grossly underestimate how much the care and feeding of a department full of Googlers and associated hangers on actually costs?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Gothmolly (148874)

        And given the same Watt-sucking screen as any other netbook, you'll see at most a 10% improvement in battery life. FAIL.

        • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

          by Tough Love (215404) on Monday October 22, 2012 @12:03AM (#41725753)

          And given the same Watt-sucking screen as any other netbook, you'll see at most a 10% improvement in battery life.

          Where did you get that number, out of your ass? Try some actual data. [wikipedia.org]

          MSI Winpad 100, 10.1" display, 5 hours battery life. Samsung Galaxy Tab, 10.1" display, Android, quad core, 10 hours battery life. Looks like Intel chipsets suck a lot more than you thought.

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "And I wonder how long Google will continue beating this dead horse."

        It's a Zombie horse.

        Remember when the I-Opener was all the rage at Slashdot?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-Opener [wikipedia.org]

        Graveyard of obsolete devices but an informative read:
        http://www.linux-hacker.net/cgi-bin/UltraBoard/UltraBoard.pl [linux-hacker.net]

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:16PM (#41724771) Homepage

      It's all about Chrome OS.

      1. No need for anti-malware... it runs a super-locked down variant of Linux. OS partition is mounted read-only and hash checks are done on every boot so it would be much more difficult for malware to get a foothold.
      2. Setup is fast and easy, with few more steps than Google Chrome's setup itself on other OSs. Even if you somehow break everything recovery is as easy as you would expect (get SD card/USB drive, run a Google tool on it, then boot the Chromebook from it to flash the system.
      3. Updates are as seamless and as easy as the Chrome browser does them.
      4. Everything is stored in the cloud so backups and data loss isn't a concern.
      5. It's just a browser with a minimal OS shell around it, so things are speedy, so the hardware can be on the light side and save a few dollars without sacrificing as much performance as if you loaded Ubuntu or Windows on it (I can personally confirm for the Cr48 that Chrome OS is much speedier than Ubuntu 12.04).
      6. Profile and settings sync means your settings, bookmarks, tabs, etc are synced between desktop, mobile (Chrome for Android), and laptop. If your Chromebook dies for some reason and you get a new one you will be quickly synced.

      In short this is likely the ideal computer for someone who just uses their PC for the internet and a few things like word processing that they could be using the internet for. And it's great for someone who isn't technically inclined, no need for anti-malware and less opportunities for things to break and having to get a relative to fix it.

      More improvements are coming in newer versions of Chrome/Chrome OS, including a set of APIs that allow for creating "native"-like applications that manage their own windows etc (still all HTML/JavaScript based of course).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So when Microsoft locks down the bootloader, it's bad. But when Google does it, it's good.

      • by MBCook (132727)

        So it's slightly cheaper than an older iPad, but gets worse battery life. It has a fraction of the software of an iPad, and isn't as easy to whip out and use since you have to fold out the keyboard. It's less features than an netbook (which you could restrict down to be malware free) but at the same cost.

        I'm just not sure about the value on these things.

        • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

          by hawguy (1600213) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @09:27PM (#41725119)

          So it's slightly cheaper than an older iPad, but gets worse battery life. It has a fraction of the software of an iPad, and isn't as easy to whip out and use since you have to fold out the keyboard. It's less features than an netbook (which you could restrict down to be malware free) but at the same cost.

          I'm just not sure about the value on these things.

          iPad2 [apple.com]: $399 ($529 with 3G). 9.2" 1024x768 screen. No keyboard

          Samsung Chromebook [samsung.com]: $249 ($329 with 3G) 11.6" 1366x768 screen, keyboard, touchpad, USB 3.0/2.0 ports, SD Card slot

          I'm not sure I'd say that $150 - $200 is "slightly cheaper".

      • by Tough Love (215404) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:33PM (#41724851)

        No need for anti-malware... it runs a super-locked down variant of Linux.

        Car analogy time. Fill a sedan up to the windows with concrete and nobody will be able to steal it. You also won't be able to drive it to the store to buy groceries but nobody will be able to steal it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by obarthelemy (160321)

        "Everything is stored in the cloud so backups and data loss isn't a concern."

        Say again ? How many examples of people losing access to some or all of their data definitively (the MS Sidekick fiasco for example) do we need for people to finally realize that the only safe place for your data is.... several backups that you physically have and have spread in different locations. If "the cloud" is so safe, why do each and every cloud license agreement state and restate end rerestate and rererere.. that the clou

      • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mlts (1038732) * on Sunday October 21, 2012 @09:25PM (#41725111)

        I know a couple uses for it. One of them, is essentially a remote terminal, assuming it has Citrix or other receiver support.

        For typing stuff and general business/IT stuff (remote logins), it is a lot easier to do that with a keyboard than on a tablet, especially when dealing with a number of screen or text sessions.

        Also, if the Chromebook gets stolen/seized, it is "just" a hardware loss except for saved browser preferences. An attacker might be able to tell what sites were visited with Chrome, but there would be little to no sensitive data physically on that device.

        No, it isn't a game machine, but if I needed something to take out with me on a vacation trip where I had to log from remote, it would be immensely useful.

      • by gmuslera (3436)

        It seems like it is going a step forward from what we really need right now. Still the linux arena is not the mess that is windows to worry right now for linux malware (at least, in 2-3 orders of magnitude that it should in windows). There are few differences between a netbook with ubuntu or another linux based (fedora, ubuntu/debian variants, mer, openwebos, firefox os, etc) os preinstalled using even google apps and chrome for most of your data, it could even be running under arm architecture and a prett

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:19PM (#41724781) Homepage Journal
      They are not netbooks, that is the difference. Increasingly we have a workforce that simply needs to connect to a database, do email. Firms are buying expensive computers, repairing them, reimaging them after virus attacks, basically paying for functionality that is not needed. A *nix machine can provide only needed functionality, but can be more expensive to implement.

      With this machine you are looking at $300 per workstation, google apps included. For certain uses, you are talking about a a complete cubicle farm for what one could put on a credit card. And if a computer breaks, just swap it out.

      I can see these used in call centers. I can see these use in certain school situations. I can see this for use in the home for small kids. I can't see a laptop matching this price point, at least not one that is going to last a few years.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      It's better than a Dell because it won't let you install anything and it protects you from getting a Microsoft infection of Windows.

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bemymonkey (1244086) on Monday October 22, 2012 @03:05AM (#41726323)

      It's easy to use - if you know how to use a browser, you can use this. No fiddling with drivers or apt-get or anything else to make the input devices work properly/better, make battery life acceptable or get performance up to par - just open it and start working...

      As an example as to the problems regular notebook users face, I've been noticing an alarming trend lately: The German language Thinkpad forum (thinkpad-forum.de), which is actually full of intelligent people - lots of engineers, IT guys, sound guys and so on - is starting to show that Windows 7 is too complicated and difficult to set up in a way that maximizes potential battery life. As I sit here and type this on a big 15.6" Thinkpad with the power-sucking FullHD screen, I'm seeing a power draw of, oh, 6.5W - I'm seeing 12+ hours of real-world use with the big 9-cell, usually leaving my power supply at home and coming home with 30% to spare even though the damned thing was on all day.

      Other users with the same internal hardware (Sandy Bridge i3/i5/i7 on the same chipset, no dedicated graphics) and often smaller, more efficient displays, are reporting *much* higher battery usage. They're only getting 3-4 hours out of a 55Wh 6-cell battery, so 15-20W of average power draw, while surfing the web without Flash or just using Office applications... how does this happen?

      Easy:

      Forget to install a driver? Power consumption skyrockets.
      Let Windows update update a device driver to a non-manufacturer-optimized version? Power consumption skyrockets.
      Use the device manufacturer's update utility, which then proceeds to crash in the middle of a driver update? Power consumption skyrockets (if you're lucky enough to be left with a booting system).
      Forget to close CPU-hogging program X or a program with moving graphical elements (i.e. an animation of some kind that constantly repeats itself)? Power consumption skyrockets.
      Don't realize a program has crashed and has pegged a core of the CPU at 100%? Power consumption skyrockets.
      Device driver crashed? P C S!

      And that's just the power usage aspect... there are all sorts of other finicky little traps when it comes to running a full-blown Windows or Linux machine. You and I are probably used to it, so we really don't notice all the little optimizations we use to make our machines run properly: NoScript, Adblock, Click-to-Flash, no background tasks that hog CPU or I/O, restarting browsers and other processes that are using more and more memory over the last week of uptime... we notice when our machines are running more slowly than usual, and can use tools like the task manager and resource monitor to determine what's causing the slowness...

      And let's be honest: Which normal person wants to fuck with all that?

      Even cut down Linuxes like Android exhibit some of the same symptoms - Even excluding third-party non-system-apps there are too many software components that can crash or misbehave, keeping the device awake during standby or draining the battery faster than usual during regular use. It's all too complicated for a regular user, and in the case of Android and Linux in general, I myself have trouble pinpointing many issues... often, the only thing I can do is just reboot the device.

      That's why Chrome OS's approach is so awesome - bare-metal OS, browser, done. Nothing to fuck up, minimal processes to crash, hardly anything that can misbehave and suck down power... Of course, not being able to work offline means it's also completely useless for actual day-to-day use unless you get a version with a mobile data connection and never take it out of the country, but the concept is freakin awesome.

    • by mikejuk (1801200)
      Another view and more info: A New Chromebook - Is This The Tipping Point? http://www.i-programmer.info/news/126-os/4963-a-new-chromebook-is-this-the-tipping-point.html [i-programmer.info]
  • by Dzimas (547818) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:55PM (#41724675)
    Unlike previous iterations of ChromeOS, this version allows at least a semblance of being able to work offline - there's an offline email client and you can use Google Docs without an internet connection. That said, I'm not sure it matters much because I suspect that very few typical users actually work offline much. Access to the web, email and social media pretty well requires a connection.

    The really cool think here is that we're seeing the impact of Moore's Law in new direction. ARM-based hardware in its various guises (cheap notebooks, tablets and smartphones) has ushered in a wave of inexpensive machines that has been made possible by the availability of incredibly cheap chipsets that are just good enough for the task at hand at prices that are absolutely astounding (I remember carrying a work-issued laptop in 1996 that cost almost $3,000).

    • by Dzimas (547818)
      And, unlike this retarded tablet that autocorrects my slimy screen taps into a weird ESL interpretation of what I meant to write, the damn thing actually has a keyboard.
      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:08PM (#41724729)

        ... and unlike netbooks, It's unlikely Microsoft will weasel in with a version of their OS for this hardware ... although with WinRT, I guess it is possible. At least it will force the price down. I kind of like the idea of this in general as a maintenance-free laptopn, but I really don't understand why people don't just install Ubuntu or something. They'd get almost all of the safety, but with a full offline OS.

        • by aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) on Monday October 22, 2012 @02:12AM (#41726183)

          "but I really don't understand why people don't just install Ubuntu or something."

          According to the usual random Google sources, the new Chromebook appears to be running a Samsung-branded System-on-a-Chip called "Exynos 5 Dual Processor" (http://www.chromestory.com/2012/10/googles-new-249-chromebook-complete-specs/).

          A quick check at Wikipedia showed that Exynos is composed of a 1.7 GHz Dual-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU and ARM Mali-T604 GPU (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exynos#List_of_Exynos_SoC). If I remember correctly, opensource support for the Mail GPU is a work-in-progress. So unless Ubuntu has the same OEM-level access to the binary drivers, running Unity on the Chromebook will be a painfully slow, framebuffer-only experience.

          However if your idea of a window manager consists of terminal sessions running Links, Mutt, and Bash, this would make a mighty fine Emacsbook.

    • I suspect that very few typical users actually work offline much.

      A passenger on a bus or in a carpool who doesn't subscribe to mobile broadband is working offline. Someone driving a car is not. I wonder to what extent the lack of offline use speaks to the inadequacy of public transit and carpool arrangement in some U.S. cities.

      Access to the web, email and social media pretty well requires a connection.

      Access to web and e-mail at least requires a connection but not a persistent connection. POP3 or IMAP e-mail can be downloaded while online, read and replied to while offline, and sent through your SMTP MSA while online. The Pocket add-on for Firef

  • by thatkid_2002 (1529917) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:55PM (#41724677)
    A real Linux distro is where it is at.
    The big advantage over other ARM based netbook hacks is that this one has a driver accelerated X (since ChromeOS is just a Linux distro) and not just some Android graphics driver.
    Too bad it looks like they won't be selling them in Australia.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      Too bad it looks like they won't be selling them in Australia.

      China is not far away and their are a pile of places where the business model is a Chinese expat getting stuff from China, as well as the option of getting stuff direct from Hong Kong from people fluent in English.

      • by Microlith (54737)

        Except stuff from China tends to be riddled with GPL violations and stuck with some ancient, decrepit version of Android.

  • 1st thing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WillyWanker (1502057) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:00PM (#41724699)

    1st thing I thought when reading about these was "will I be able to put another OS on it". I have very little interest in ChromeOS, but Android, linux, or even Windows RT, and now you've got my attention.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      Of course you can. Chrome OS devices have all got a developer mode switch that turns off some of the security, allowing you to install your own software on the device. Up to and including Windows and other Linux distros.

    • by admdrew (782761)
      Check out the other links from this story's summary, specifically this one. [blogspot.com] Looks like people in the know are already trying to check out how to get a 'regular' linux distro running on it. I've already preordered one, assuming that I *will* be able to install Ubuntu on it soon, which will make this a perfect cheap laptop for development (I do a lot of scripting, so basically just need a decent text editor and python/perl), email, and ssh.
  • by bostonidealist (2009964) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:05PM (#41724717) Journal
    Evidently, the new Chromebooks don't have a physical dev mode switch (the old ones used to break a lot), but can be put into dev mode via a firmware switch [google.com]. The price and combination of expansion ports (USB 3.0, HDMI, etc.), make this a pretty appealing target for hacking, although the ARM architecture means that lots of software will have to be recompiled, as the original post mentions.
    • too bad that there is no driver for the gpu in linux.. still going to grab one, eventually. i always wanted a arm system.

  • "it isn't a full-fledged laptop, it's not a tablet (doesn't even have a touch screen); and by design it's not very good as a stand-alone device."

    So....it's a crappy piece of tech? I don't get who they expect to market this to. Business customers? Really? Pipe dream if you ask me.

    • Re:Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:30PM (#41724835)

      I thought the same thing. "I have no use for this, in my life." Then someone pointed out where this fits: in the hands of every person that has ever asked me for tech support. This is perfect for the non geeks in my life. I'd love to never be asked to figure x a laptop again and this may just fit that mold.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Osgeld (1900440)

        be real, the second a non geek gets their hands on one you will be called up and buried in dumbshit questions like, "why doesnt my GPS map updater work on it", "how do I install EXCEL", "my yahoo account doesnt work"

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDs7F4x3Dyo

    Stop, drop, shut it down google non stop
    Oh, no
    That's how Ruff Ryders scroll...

  • Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:12PM (#41724751)
    call me when it's $100. At $250 I can wait for Black Friday and get a 15.6" i3 with Win 7 Home. Heck, I can buy one of those right no for another $100. Maybe if the packaging was sleeker I could get behind it (e.g. all titanium and whatnot).
    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DrEldarion (114072) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:31PM (#41724841)

      Yes, and that laptop will be heavier, more bulky, less secure, have much worse battery life, start up much slower, resume from sleep much slower, etc. etc.

      Chromeboks are brilliant machines for people who value price, convenience, and security over versatility.

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        I dont follow how a machine that phones home to do anything is "more secure"

        you can also get 250$ netbooks that run on atom, get similar battery life, dont have to be connected to use the fucking calulator and run every common home app ever made, whats the point of a chromebook?

    • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pnot (96038) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:33PM (#41724861)

      At $250 I can wait for Black Friday and get a 15.6" i3 with Win 7 Home.

      As far as I'm concerned, an extra 4" of screen (with attendant bulk, weight, and battery life reduction) would be a liability rather than an asset. Same goes for Windows. I realize that my needs are not everyone's, but I suspect there are a lot of people out there who don't want to lug a 15.6" machine around.

  • 19,000 of them in a South Carolina school district.

    I foresee a lot of downtime in the classroom each time there is a glitch in the the school's wifi or network.

    • by Tr3vin (1220548)

      I foresee a lot of downtime in the classroom each time there is a glitch in the the school's wifi or network.

      Which, from what I have seen, would happen if they were using standard laptops from Dell. You'd be surprised how much a non-cloud device still relies on a working network.

    • 19,000 of them in a South Carolina school district.

      I foresee a lot of downtime in the classroom each time there is a glitch in the the school's wifi or network.

      That wouldn't surprise me; but any school system(or other enterprise setup) shoving 19,000 clients around is likely going to be toast if the network glitches in any case:

      You can't trust a laptop hard drive even as far as you can throw it, so it is typical for the user's home or documents directory to be a mount from a fileserver. That certainly doesn't function any better for losing connectivity. Authentication is usually centralized, so if you can't talk to the domain controller(or OpenDirectory server, if

      • the kiddies aren't going to be doing much research, email, collaboration, whatever without a network connection in any case.

        Since when does mail require a continuous connection to the Internet? I thought the use case for a store-and-forward system like Internet mail was to download mail, go offline, read, reply, go online, and send everything in the outbox.

  • by sk999 (846068) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:54PM (#41724943)

    Given that a Chromebook works best when on a network, at least it should get the network stuff right. Right?

    VPN - does it support, say, Cisco AnyConnect? No.
    Kerberos? Not that I can tell.
    Printing? Sure, if my organization is willing to install "Google Cloud Print Connector".

    Baslcally, this thing might work fine if your entire business runs in the Google universe. Otherwise, get a netbook.

  • Lotta people who haven't even seen it yet are sure rendering authoritative opinions. Me thinks the proper thing to do is to wait and see and decide for myself, or at least to talk to someone with real experience. I like Googles stuff in general and hope I would like their Chromebook and the Chrome O/S as well.

    • by Nimey (114278)

      As a Web terminal, my Cr-48 is fucking brilliant. Unbreakable operating system, nearly instant wake from sleep, good keyboard, touchpad, and screen. I'd take it over a tablet any day for web use, and it's been a daily driver of mine since December '10.

      It's really only good as a web terminal, though. Doesn't run much on itself. Can do games that you can d/l from the Chrome store, but the old hardware's a bit slow - Atom N455 and 2GB of RAM. There's production hardware from Samsung that's got a Sandy Bri

  • by mojo-raisin (223411) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:57PM (#41724961)

    Can it mount an external USB drive?
    Can it play flac audio?
    Can it route audio to a USB DAC?

    • Re:three questions (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 21, 2012 @09:06PM (#41725017)

      > Can it mount an external USB drive?
      Yes

      > Can it play flac audio?
      Yes
      https://sites.google.com/a/chromium.org/dev/audio-video
      " When build Google Chrome OS, the following codecs/containers are also included:
      FLAC audio codec"

      > Can it route audio to a USB DAC?
      http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/21/chrome-os-update-includes-custom-wallpapers/
      "audio can now play through either HDMI or USB."

  • by goruka (1721094) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:58PM (#41724965)
    Remember 2008, when the future was supposedly going to be Web Apps? Back then, we were to believe that native development was going to die and the future was applications programmed in HTML5, running on JIT-based JavaScript interpreters inside the web browser.

    Since then, App Stores materialized and proven to be highly successful. Developers have again and again refused to develop their apps in HTML5 and clearly preferred to go native.
    Apple, added an App Store to OSX, Android and Blackberry did the same and Microsoft is also going the same way with Windows 8.

    So, ChromeOS is based on a premise that didn't really catch on. I can't blame Google for insisting on this since the web is their main source of revenue, but at this point they should just adapt the highly successful Android OS to handle the Desktop metaphor and forget about Web Apps. It didn't work.
    Same should apply to Firefox and their Firefox OS..
    • Web apps have failed? They have on mobile devices, where the app's responsiveness is everything. But the desktop app stores (OSX and Windows 8) have yet to prove themselves. Especially in the corporate world where it seems that web apps have won. Some years ago it looked like native apps delivered through Citrix to a thin client were going to be the wave of the future, but these days pretty much any corporate resource other than Office and Exchange is delivered through the browser. Personally I agree and
  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @09:03PM (#41724993)

    its arm so it wont run the applications I want
    its slow and light on ram
    it requires me to be attached to the internet to access my storage
    its got a shit camera (640x480? really? my 5 year old free phone has a 1.2mp camera douche)
    its not even all that good on battery life

    why is this compelling?

  • I will take a dozen if they come with a desktop optimized (mouse and physical keyboard) UI option for Android, an Android desktop section in the app market, and open source drivers.
  • So other than zero corporate use and how it's not much cheaper than a netbook which, as a sector of the market died more than a year ago and it's nowhere near high powered enough for most actual use that's not browsing, I don't see a single thing wrong with it.

  • by rossdee (243626)

    I don't want to keep my data in "The Cloud"

    I keep my data on (micro)SD cards
    Does it have a (micro)SD slot?

  • Netbook (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BeaverCleaver (673164) on Monday October 22, 2012 @01:00AM (#41725963)

    For $200 if bought a 10.1 inch netbook that seems like good value.

    • Dual-core Atom CPU
    • Long battery life (at least 6 hours)
    • Full-HD playback with HDMI-out
    • 320 GB hard drive for local storage (ubiquitous unmetered wifi for cloud use would be lovely but is still pretty rare in .au)
    • USB and SD card slots

    It works great for watching movies on the bus/train when on vacation (or in a hotel, thanks to HDMI and VGA out), occasional work when commuting, and of course sitting next to the couch to fact-check the rubbish that passes for TV news. It's an Asus eeepc "Flare" that I bought right off the shelf at Best Buy. When I get the chance it'll need some more RAM, so I might have to spend another $20.

    I can see the value of these things for large companies or schools that can remote administer and secure large numbers of machines, but for home users these would seem to be a fringe item.

    • ASUS discontinued their entire netbook line on September 4, 2012.

      Low cost netbooks with large hard drives interfered with the "lock users into the cloud then raise the price and make ads more intrusive" strategy of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

  • by sethstorm (512897) on Monday October 22, 2012 @04:38AM (#41726609) Homepage

    Wake me up when the platform doesn't favor a bunch of binary blobs that moot the ability to change the firmware.

    At least with the Intel platform you don't have that issue.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Monday October 22, 2012 @06:19AM (#41726861)

    This is fairly obviously a re-hash of the old "dumb terminal" idea that does the rounds every ten or fifteen years.

    In the past the big issue has been "we'd need to re-structure an awful lot of backend IT in order to actually use these dumb terminals, and they're not that much cheaper". This probably remains an issue for large businesses, but for smaller organisations that are buying in most of their IT (and quite often buying it in in the form of web-based systems that they pay a monthly fee for), I wonder if this makes more sense.

    In the past you'd probably sell them a machine running Small Business Server, add all their PCs to the domain and charge for ongoing support, but as SBS is basically being retired this leaves the door open for Google. After all, if the server's on its last legs and the replacement will necessitate moving some or all of the infrastructure to an online service anyway, why does it have to be Microsoft's?

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