But then, its bundled with Verizon, limited to the US and the UK. What are the 3G frequencies? Is this thing locked with Verizon? Say I want to give one to my friend in Vietnam, so he/she can get access to a computer, will the 3G modem support the carrier's frequencies there? Unknown: it's listed as "WLAN : 802.11 a/b/g/n, WWAN : Verizon 3G". Great.
The device is nice, the price is nice. But marketing it as "a Chromebook for everyone" is just wrong. It's a laptop for people in the US, that's it. And really, I wonder what kind of "humanitarian" problem it's solving. I understand the low price is to create a following for the product, but I find the "Chromebook for everyone" brand phony.
Unless "everyone" == "Verizon customers living in the US".
A "laptop for everyone" is far easier. There are thousands and thousands for $100 or less on eBay that are far more powerful, easier to repair, have local storage and don't tie you to an ecosystem or a telco. Grab a Lenovo T61, chuck Mint on it and you've got something several orders of magnitude more useful. They even work in space:
Sorry but I don't get it. It's a rather expensive (for the limitations) toaster.
These have no fans. No moving parts to worry about. That is one of their biggest advantages. I can use an ARM netbook while my SO is sleeping next to me. Not so for an actual laptop.
For anything other than gaming, I don't even notice my Air has a fan (I agree it's -very- noisy when it's running, but the point is for the stuff you're going to do on a Chromebook the fan isn't going to be noticeable on any other laptop either), and that's the same for most modern laptops I've used.
I brought up the Air mostly because I didn't know what the noise was when he started the game. I thought that the Air didn't have any moving parts. In fact, I'm still debating getting one, but a machine that's silent at 250 that can do what I want it to is a much faster decision than one that is ~1000.
I know my use case isn't typical, but it is the one I rely on when deciding what to get for myself, and silent is good for my needs, and how much noise the computer makes when I've got all cores running on a compile is a factor, for your needs it may not be, or you may not do the same type of work.
The point I'm getting at is that no matter what I do on a machine with no moving parts, it's going to be silent. An older laptop on eBay may be more useful for some people, and I'll never fully move away from a workhorse machine until ARM performance is on par, but it's still nice to have when she's sleeping and I'm still mulling over a fix.
You said yourself that you're not in a position to fully change to something ARM-based because of performance issues, and that's precisely my point: what's the point of saying the Chromebook is superior in it's silence? I might as well say that a piece of paper has superior battery life to my laptop because I can use it for 24 hours without charging. They do different things.
(On a tangent, what are the options for actually developing software using ChromeOS, my understanding of it was there was little to no access to local filesystems for that sort of thing? Or are you talking about installing some other OS on it?
Edit: Read your post a bit further down about putting Gentoo on it. Still curious if there's much scope for developing in ChromeOS itself... did a bit of searching but not a lot of the hits sounded practical or were native.)
That said, I think you're significantly overstating the noise of a modern Mac in the first place. Some of the non-retina MBPs run pretty warn, but my last-gen Air was silent unless I tried to play games on it. Even when writing code. I could build a ~500 file Java project in IntelliJ and it wouldn't even get warm, let alone kick on the fans.
That is a ridiculous statement. My mac air is silent under normal use for everything but 3d gaming.
The higher-cost Chromebook 550 (Intel) does support 3G.
So your entire argument is based upon a misunderstanding, is it not?
However, my perspective is that Chromebooks are meant to be used with a connection to the internet, which makes the 3G model sort of mandatory (for 3G/LTE access is more accessible - in my experience - in developing countries than full internet connections). It's in that perspective that I hold this argument.
For the case I'm basing this opinion on, a basic internet connection (DSL) in Vietnam costs much more money than a basic 3G/LTE internet connection. Also, a DSL connection will only be usable from home. I know this DSL/3G relation is also the case in other developing countries.
One imagines some sort of tethering to be feasible, if not universally applicable, for those who want a computer form factor and already have 3G Internet on their phone.
 That is, over and above the 20$/mo for the phone line itself. So if I were to get a line just for 3G usage(so as to put it in a tablet or chrombook, for example) it'd be more like 30$/mo.
So this $250 + ~$600-700 over 2 years for a total of almost $1000. I'd consider that instead of the "low sticker price" when comparing options.
It's the 330$ 3g model that's got the deceptive pricing.
Since I learned I was going to be a dad (in 7 months!), I've found these kinds of advertisements increasingly unsettling, in an uncanny-valley kind of way.
I love my tiny one. I've heard the quick little heartbeat. I'm largely responsible for if this little person grows up happy and healthy. The enormity of the ensuing feelings is impossible to express.
Uncanny valley situations arise when a simulation looks almost real, maybe 96% real, but the 4% difference is very unsettling because it just looks _off_. You feel a creeping sensation that something is wrong.
In this video, Google very poignantly portrays a bunch of vibrant people, children and fathers prominently featured. They are picking at the deepest heartstrings I've ever known. At the deepest anxieties and aspirations that it is possible to have in the human experience. It's 96% poignant.
But...they're doing this for what reason again? So they can sell me a $250 piece of electronics and absorb my family into their ecosystem? It's a 4% that makes the entire rest of it feel fake.
Turns out that cognitive dissonance relating to your children, even peripherally, is really uncomfortable. :/
On the purely economic level, Google is offering a hunk of electronics and software for $250. (There are secondary economic effects too; the Chromebook will encourage the use of Google services, etc).
On the emotional level, Google is offering an an experience and trying to show how it could be a part of your family life and make it better. And you are offering Google employees a chance to feel like they're making the world better (speaking as a Googler, I can say that I definitely care about that sort of thing).
As a completely honest question: do you feel this way about ads that sell diapers/baby-food/etc?
ps. Congratulations on fatherhood!
No, I don't really have this visceral reaction (or at least not nearly as much) to baby companies, but that is probably because none of their stuff that I've seen feels as starkly personal as this video. Maybe their stuff is 50% to 80% compelling, and thus doesn't make it into uncanny valley territory.
Also, because products more fundamentally require themes of babies / children / parenting, so discordance is limited anyway.
That's an interesting thought about the emotional exchange, I never thought of people in a company as recipients in an emotional exchange with their customers. Fascinating.
Having worked in the advertising world at many points in my career, I completely understand the visceral reaction you're talking about (I now work in news).
When my son was born a year and a half ago, my wife and I agreed to a "no screen time" clause for him until the age of two. When he's around, there's no television, laptop screens, Netflix, or iPhones. Occasionally, exceptions occur, and it's not a big deal. NPR and Pandora are acceptable media alternatives in our household.
So far the results have been great. He LOVES to read, and has shown a general disinterest in television when it is on. As a bonus, I've already prevented him from exposure to thousands of advertisements.
For more: http://commercialfreechildhood.org/issue/screen-time
Best of luck to you and your new family.
But I think the kid connection is a legit part of the point. In the developed world at least, $250 is getting into the range where something stops being an Expensive Piece of Electronics and starts being something that your kids can break without breaking the bank.
Many people would hesitate to give a more expensive laptop to a young kid. But something this cheap changes that equation. So the kid stuff in the ad isn't just heartstring-tugging, it's part of the point.
I'm just hoping that devices such as these can evolve to the point where ubiquitous, online touchscreen and laptop devices run HTML5-based apps that are effectively as good as any native app (for most types of apps) so that I don't have to teach these little ones a whole different programming stack for each device in the house.
I'm expecting a $199 Chromebook within a couple of years, and a $99 model within the next five years. This has the potential for upending the prevailing business model of traditional PC vendors.
It's almost like oil companies subsidizing the cost of cars to make more money. Reminds me of the start of the Michelin guide book, which was created to encourage people to drive to interesting places in France.
This a good thing, as it means they're powerful advocates for a more open internet.
The 'open internet' is often just a reverse walled garden. Things used to be locked down on your device, now they are locked down on remote servers where you couldn't even pry them out if you tried hard & ignored the law. (Unless you're the US government, in that case things have gotten much easier.)
The only advantage is that there is no middle-man between you and using any app (website) you want. But no company has ever tried to restrict web access on its devices, so where's the advantage?
And judging Google by its products: Google+ actually seems a lot more closed to me than Facebook (hardly any API?). Android itself is open source, but it is hardly about pushing the open web either. (At least it stopped pushing Flash)
Some major innovations from Android have inspired sister projects for the open web, like http://webintents.org/
Also, I think you're misinterpreting the term "open internet" ; it usually means "open" for the developer, not the user. However, it's still better for users, as competition between open standards and technologies means that they usually get the best solutions (exceptions being things like h.264) This is certainly better than the classic walled garden where one company gets to decide what developers may or may not use.
In short, it's better because it's:
- unfiltered (mature content, etc.)
- unrestricted in terms of technologies used
- partially open for users
Their mail and calendaring apps sure don't, for example.
At this point Google is big enough that generalizing about how they make money is a bit pointless, because they have a bunch of different revenue streams. The only commonality is advertising.
But that's not stopping them from signing deals to get Chrome drive-by installed on users' computers, say. Again, it's a big place. Some of it is still all about "do no evil", while other parts seem to be run by scumbags. Pretty good for a large corporation, all things considered, but not exactly all wonderful.
Nintendo actually prices their gaming consoles above production cost (and probably above all-in cost) AND charges huge license fees to developers (and also has a huge first party developer userbase, unlike the other companies).
Nintendo is the company who maximizes profits, Sony and Microsoft at best maximized top-line and in reality just tried to maximize market share.
The fine print: "100 GB of free storage is valid for 2 years, starting on the date you redeem the Drive offer."
And How much is a google user+account worth? An android or a chromebook device is worth atleast $$$+ for Google on the long-run. And users are Locked'in with google's services! And more and more Web users mean more $ flows for google. :)
It must be certain for every subsidized device that ships, Google must be sharing revenues.
So cortex A15 has finally landed.. no mention of RAM or size of on-board SSD, i'm guessing 1-2GB and 8/16GB respectively (e: 2/16). Disappointing battery life ('over 6 hours', same as the x86 one), i guess the battery wasn't spared from the cost-cutting. Exynos 5 also means USB 3.
And do we know if you can definitely get linux on these (==interesting), or might they be super locked-down?
Definitely a device worth recommending to the former netbook/ 'only use my computer for facebook' crowd.
e: the battery is 2 cell, AFAIK even cheap x86 laptops come with 6-cell batteries, so it is a case of cost-minimizing.. shame, i'd lap this up with a 12-18hr battery life.
I normally do blog posts when I first get a machine, the unboxing and so forth, but documenting normally goes somewhere on the gentoo documentation site. Or possibly our new wiki.
And for the record when fun topics come up like ARM based hardware, or Linux stuff in general (I'm not much if a web guy, I prefer lower level work) I tend to visit the comments more than a couple times.
For those not familiar with building chrome, it should be something like export BOARD=daisy before doing the setup/build steps.
I'm always so tempted by Chromebooks... All I want out of a laptop is no moving parts, < 12" screen, an 8+ hour battery, and 1080p video playback using my Linux distro of choice for under $300, but nobody delivers... Instead it's just endless parades of 'ultrabooks' that mysteriously cost $800+...
I could care less if the hard drive is 100 gigs or 16. But if you can't use your own Kernel I won't use it. Too much like buying a car with the hood welded shut.
But I guess for me a laptop is just the minor sibling of my desktop that's supposed to be good enough to watch movies while traveling and look up something on Wikipedia from the couch, and also be cheap enough that it doesn't have to last or not get stolen. In other words, not my main computer. But still have a keyboard.
If you don't want to dive _that_ deep, the developer switch still disables signature checking on kernels, so you can replace that one as well, but with their specialized bootloader, it's somewhat more difficult to get a system onto there than on a regular system (expectations on SSD partitioning etc)
(edit: clarified bootloader/firmware situation on ARM after finding appropriate link)
So I'm really sort of conflicted by Chromebooks, I love the concept, but wonder why it doesn't come with 4G/LTE (seems like a 'new' device should), what sort of data plans and are they dynamic like the iPad? (month to month) And 100MB a month? Seriously? That is what 5 minutes of 3 mbit video? 10 minutes of cheezy 1.5mbit video a month? Web sites that start up a youtube embed video when you visit? poof go the mBytes. Heck the WSJ is like 20 - 30MB per issue these days. Seems like 2.5GB is a healthy net allocation for a tablet/laptop experience, that 25x more.
Looking forward to seeing one 'in the flesh' as it were.
Because that would eat your 100MB data plan in 42 seconds. Not too mention it would probably increase the price. Nobody actually needs 4G yet, we just like it in our fancy things. It has no place in budget (attainable) hardware.
"And 100MB a month? Seriously?"
Because that is what Verizon, a company that makes its money off selling wireless data, is willing to give away for free (or a subsidized price paid by google). I'm sure they will not hesitate to sell you more if you are in the minority who need to watch 3Mb videos on the bus...
Nobody who doesn't need 15 ms latency (low jitter [low latency stddev]) vs HSDPA 90 ms+ (huge jitter, latency up to 1000 ms+). LTE truly rocks and can deliver true low latency 100/10 Mbit/s wirelessly. I got 99.5 Mbps result with speedtest.net.
And when we've needed it, we've used the "unlimited for 24 hours," which has been fine. It's a tad pricey.
I mean, the 3G in the Chromebook is NOT going to be your new ISP. You will continue to use WiFi the vast majority of the time. But every now and then, you won't have WiFi. 3G to the rescue.
My wife used it last year, while we were driving cross-country, to watch Youtube videos for class, write a paper for one of her classes, and apply to summer educational opportunities (on a web page with hundreds of questions). Without the 3G, we would have had to NOT DRIVE on our trip, which we also needed to do. We would have had to buy a 3G fob from Best Buy or Verizon, or sign up for tethering the phone with Verizon - both of which are MORE expensive for the one or two times a year when you really need it.
Oh, come now. You can't even buy an unlocked phone with LTE for less than $400. That cellular stuff is not cheap!
(The Google Drive offer has a two-year limit, but this one didn't have any fine print.)
EDIT: You get the Verizon service for 2 years, and it's only on the $450 model.
Can't find anything yet either way if these will still have the developer switch. If the build is as good as the 550 and this particular Exynos has decent performance; it'd make an awfully good cheap Linux laptop (not to say CrOS is worthless, far from it).
I think that the biggest ingredient of Apple's success is the "it just works" aspect. iOS and CrOS are much closer to this ideal than desktops have been. It is also possible to get even closer.
Processor: Atom n450 (single-core 1.6ghz vs Arm 15 (dual core 1.7ghz)
Fan: Yes vs No
HDD: Spinning rust vs. SSD
Weight: 2.75lbs vs 2.lbs
Screen 10.1" 1024x600 vs 11.6" 1366x786
Innovation continues apace from what I can see.
I sort of lament how useless my Android tablet is in comparison. It's by far a better device for consumption but nothing beats a full desktop experience (even at a laughably low resolution).
The Atom is not the problem here.
I think that's very misleading. The average consumer is just going to take that claim at face value and believe they are getting a 1080p screen.
Not that I would want to install Windows on it, but it certainly feels nice to have a machine like that.
Unlike Microsoft, here Google pays for every device. :)
Microsoft Surface with Keyboard: $600.
Edit: just to be clear, without VirtualAlloc() and VirtualProtect(), you can't really run any JIT. No LuaJIT, no PyPy, no Java. No Scala, Clojure, or jRuby either.
I've got a chromebook in the office as a test machine and its a fancy brick without a network connection.
The number of offline apps available for chrome is pretty limited, but so is the total number of apps available for winRT. as far as i can tell, both of these devices are basically just a web browser plus potential.
And in case you are wondering, all my paychecks at the moment rely on Windows, and I have 0 involvement with anything related to the ARM version, nor do I hear about it. Anecdotal at one company, but I don't think it's unusual. Mobile support on the other hand, seems to be a big deal.
While it might have a high number of entries, I just don't think we know how well supported it will be 2 months from now.
That depends entirely on the good graces of Microsoft.
On a less snarky note, the WinRT based tablets (the ones coming out in a week or so) can only run metro apps. Unless Chrome puts a version of the browser in Microsoft's marketplace, it won't be available for use.
Putting the time difference aside, how many of those does your gateway have? The processor is probably a little faster, too.
Though the 16GB storage, thought even with the Nexus 7 they are dropping the 16Gb and replacing with a 32GB as the new top end model. But this is the base model. Even adding a 4-cell battery and an a base of 40gb would of been a nice move and offered a longer lasting platform.
That all said I recently got me a netbook cheap on clearance, 2gb ram built in 3g modem...Even if I stuck a 80gb ssd in there it would still work out cheaper. Though this does look appealing as a grandparent/parent pressy given the time of year. Just show them how to email google and your covered; Very tempting.
Edit - After a bit more consideration, I might be interested if the HDMI output is decent and the network TV websites won't block the browser. I would use the Chromebook as a replacement HTPC for my Google TV which is basically a brick now.
What other "web apps" work better these days than Google's? What is your basis for saying Google's apps don't have advanced HTML5 capabilities? Have you heard of Offline Google Drive for example? How do you think they pull that off? HTML5...
Behind Chrome, Google uses plugins, like webgl for Maps and the Talk plugin for chat.
Why does HTML " 5 " matter more than the actual functionality?
What do CSS transforms have to do with making an app feel like an app? They all work full screen, or you can open them windowed, with no chrome controls. They don't need local file access (though many use it) because they're beginning to store files in Drive. Some of the apps may already use appcache to speed up startup.
No, they're not. Aside from Maps using WebGL, I don't believe any of those are using anything that can reasonably called "cutting edge", and most of them are relatively unchanged in the last 5 years. Since Google wants developers to built for Chrome, and wants users, companies, and educators to spend money on Chrome, they should show that they themselves are dedicated to Chrome as well. The first party app support is equivalent to releasing Android without a Gmail app, but a shortcut to the browser version.
It links to this PC WOrld page for the UK model which just confuses me further: http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/chromebook-1460-commercial.htm...
I was interested in buying, but I'm totally confused. Wikipedia also just lists the 550 model as the one released now, and has nothing matching the spec in the Google post.
Anyone worked it out? Sorry if I've missed something...
£229 or £249 in-store. Bananas.
But it's 300 GBP, or 484 USD (excluding shipping), almost twice the price advertised!
If Google would partner with Verizon or AT&T to offer these things for free (much better marketing than say a $50 price) with LTE and a 2 year contract, I think they would see even more sales, especially from businesses and professionals. Obviously they should be getting the data plans they get with an USB modem, not the amount they get with a cellphone plan.
Last time I checked, the exchange rate wasn't £1=$1!
Edit: The pictured models at the bottom of the page start at £250 but the copy at the top says "Starting at £199.97".
A 250 euro Chromebook (VAT included) would be a nice buy. This means an ARM-based Chromebox should be around 150?
It's unclear from the announcement if Flash works or not since Youtube could be streaming H264.
Edit: Specs, including prices on https://sites.google.com/a/pressatgoogle.com/samsungchromebo...
I am gently curious how Google avoids the trouble that MS ran into when they tied IE into the OS and pre-installed it on the desktop. How is it okay for Google to ship product that uses all their services? Especially when Google trawls for ad relevant data to make money?
(Note: I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm just wondering what the difference is.)
I'd like to see a regulator try and say that it's not fair for Google to bundle their very little known Office suite (relative to MS Office), while Microsoft can bundle their very known Office suite with Windows.
Instead we are left with various garbage pail cloud IDEs.
I would totally get one of these, but I'll probably install Ubuntu on it (at least as a dual boot).
Having said that they would make nice dev machines, it'll just take a bit of effort.
Both iOS and Android have SSH.
If they could get a good android laptop to market @ under $500, I would definitely buy one for my Dad, maybe for myself as a second machine.
I thought chromeOS was a great idea when it was first announced. You could get most things done on the web. On a browser only machine, you wouldn't need to worry about managing your machine. Installing apps. Worrying about OS versions. Keeping your file system straight. Malware. Things most users were completely lost on. A browser-only machine would give you 80% of the power with 20% of the problems at 50% of the price.
Along came Android & iOS.
They're platforms where finding, installing and uninstalling apps is safe, fun & easy. OS updating & general admin is manageable. Malware isn't as much of a problem. Some things like the level of access a user has to the file system (and therefore needs to know about) are till unsolved. But, overall the complexity that a browser-only machine bypassed became a much smaller problem. Ipads can be figured out by 4 year olds and computer illiterate adults quickly and enjoyably.
On the other hand, the web is having trouble solving the last 20% of the problem. Just before android OS was announced, the momentum for things moving on to the web seemed unstoppable. The last 20% has been slower. Browsers have been getting more capable at a great pace but when I look at the web apps that most people use, they are not really that different. Sure, you can use Google docs and edit photos online and read books and watch youtube, but its still a compromise in some cases. Users have the option of using webapps on an ipad, but in many cases they prefer native.
Basically, a webbrowser-only OS is a compromise. It's not an deal breaker compromise, but it is a compromise. And if iOS/Android start coming in notebook form, I don't see any upside to making it.
I'm with you on the price thing though.
With the amount of cash GOOG has, and the droppping costs of hardware, they can take an AOL approach if they so choose. Instead of free CD's, they could distribute free computers.
Load them up with Goog default search and all sorts of reconnaisance functionality to enable them to deliver more enticement to advetisers.
It's like signing up for AOL. It's hard for people to drop it after they've gotten used to it. Could people get used to free computers? I think so.
I just cannot get into the idea of a thin client given that storage keeps getting bigger / cheaper and bandwidth doesn't seem to be getting cheaper (a case could be made is more expensive). I like the cloud for backups / sync, but I still dream of an pocket device with a couple of terabytes.
Google seems to be working on that. :)
* Touch screen
* Detachable keyboard so you can use it as either a tablet or a computer
* 8+ hours battery life. Keyboard can have an extra battery.
* Chrome browser with all the abilities of the chrome OS
Price: $400 and under.
I am looking for the most portable device that I can use for programming. The key concerns are: Weight + size, and keyboard layout. Since I code through an SSH shell, the laptop's mem + CPU specs are not very important for me.
I believe that the Mac Book Air 11" has a good enough keyboard. (I haven't tried it for long, but the keys are the same size as the 13", just closer together.)
The Chrome book is only slightly thicker (0.8" vs. MBA 0.7"), only slightly heavier (2.5 lbs vs. 2.4 lbs), and wider (13.2" vs. 11.8"). Weight and thickness important here. It's also much cheaper.
What do you think are the downsides of using the chrome book (or a macbook air 11") for primary coding through an SSH shell?
[edit: Is there some store I can play with a chromebook in real life?]
I'm particular to XMonad, and like being able to run a few GUI applications, but I used a Chromebook for a while and the dev experience was nice enough that I almost switched. One great thing is that the SSH client is smart enough that you don't have to use screen to handle network interruptions . The trackpad isn't as good as a MacBook, but other than that the device feels great.
So I doubt it will work with the Chromebooks coming out. I could be wrong. I have no experience with the other SSH tools available for Chrome.
I'm a big fan of Chrome Remote Desktop:
I use it from my Cr-48 to drive my home desktop computer. My corporate IT guys have blocked it, though (even the outgoing connections) which bums me out. Games are not playable, but otherwise, it's darn good.