Whatever happened to the Chromebook?

Discussion in 'Netbooks, Tablets, Slates and eReaders' started by LandSurveyor, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    For whatever reason, my Lubuntu Linux laptop does not like to be connected to my Android smartphone. This time, it locked out the USB ports and totally borked. It will NOT reboot. My brother has it now trying to get it going again and in the interim, I tried to get my elderly XP laptop out but it's so bogged down, it takes forever to boot.

    I don't really want to buy another Windows machine and have history keep repeating itself.

    Not a big Apple fan, either.

    For home use and nothing heavy duty, is a Chromebook a viable alternative? I want a fast boot, internet use, to load pictures and music, plus light use of word processing, the ability to open pdf, powerpoint, and other such files.

    I assume a Chromebook would play nice with Android hardware.

    Or is there another, better alternative?

    Oh, and I'm cheap. :)
  2. jglen490

    jglen490 Mobile Enthusiast

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    What version of Lubuntu are you running?

    Also, what are the specs on your Lubuntu laptop?
  3. Mi An

    Mi An Endogame

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    I might actually recommend looking at the transformer line and just sticking with android itself. Either a gen old or their lower end of the new options might be a fairly frugal alternative.

    One could pair a nook color with a usb keyboard in a folio as well, but in my experience, it's kind of hard to find a quality folio that you can use like you would a laptop. A lot of them, rather than having a hinge, merely have a kickstand on the back to hold up the tab, or other inferior mechanisms (not necessarily great for actual lap use). Finding a snug enclosure could be challenging as well. But you could find a sub $20 keyboard and get a refurb NC for $120ish (probably less once they do their first ebay sale after the 8gb NT was released). I imagine it would cost more to get a keyboard/mouse in one package or to go bluetooth.
  4. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    I have a refurb Nook Color, CrazyOn case, and an HP touchpad BT keyboard. It's a pretty good combination, even though the keyboard has some touchpad-specific keys.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
  5. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    At this point, I couldn't tell you. My brother loaded it for me and is much more knowledgeable about Linux than I am. I believe it was installed less than a year ago if that helps.

    The Compaq was pretty elderly. Had only 512 ram and a fairly small HD but it really didn't have much on it. I really liked Lubuntu. It booted fast and gave little trouble. I don't have it at home at the moment so I don't know the specs on that either.

    I probably need a bigger computer and a less-light Linux. I wanted to open some power point docs recently and so downloaded Libre Office but even thought the WP came through, the PP viewer did not. It was grayed out for some reason.

    Jig & Mi An, I wouldn't mind going Android altogether but need something with sizeable memory and a HD to store/rip music plus act as a repository for my photos and some other assorted documents. At this point, I might as well be totally absorbed in the Google collective so I wouldn't mind storing my docs (copies at least) if it would just keep them safe and accessible. Hence my interest in the Chromebook.
  6. questionfear

    questionfear Google'd.

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    I am writing this on my Chromebook right now. I like it (a lot) but there's definitely some bugs-most notably the wifi will randomly drop and switch to 3G, and only a reboot brings it back.

    Beyond that it's pretty solid, but it's basically about as powerful as a tablet OS, but in netbook form. There's some local storage and access, but mostly it's the web or nothing. My chromebook has about 16gb of storage, and it does recognize some external storage but it's very hit and miss. SD cards work though.
  7. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    Sounds like it's not fully developed yet. Rats! I would think Google, at least, would not have as much tendency to want to push users along an "upgrade path" since their focus is to keep people using their services rather than selling hardware and software.
    For the short term, at least, my brother has loaded another "beater" laptop with Linux and at least I can afford to delay my decision. I'm just nervous about attaching my smartphone again.
    I notice that some Chromebooks are wifi-only. Maybe that would avoid the problem you are having.
    In any event, I'll be glad to have anything with a keyboard again. Typing on this Touchpad is driving me nuts!
  8. SGosnell

    SGosnell Palm Pilot

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    IME, Ubuntu isn't quite ready for prime time. They shove a new version out the door every 6 months, ready or not. If you want a stable machine, that just works, install Debian Stable, aka Squeeze. It's not the bleeding edge by any means, but it works every time. I'm a little more adventurous, and run Unstable, aka Sid. There is the occasional borkage, but I haven't had a really serious issue in a long time, and when an issue does arise, it's fixed in days. I got really tired of having everything break every April and October, so I abandoned Ubuntu a couple of years ago, and never looked back.

    Ubuntu does seem to be planning to try to get into the Android market, supposedly with a way to run either Ubuntu or Android on the same machine, at will. How that works out remains to be seen, but I'm not optimistic. Debian does support ARM devices, and I've thought about installing it on my Prime, but it's just more trouble than it's worth right now. I never liked LXDE as a desktop environment, but that's a personal preference. I run Xfce or Gnome interchangeably. YMMV.
  9. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    My brother loaded this Dell with Mint. Don't know much about it yet but it's definitely not a lean as Ubuntu. Boots noticeably slower.

    Guess I could add a USB drive to a Chromebook.

    Heck, I just know I don't want to to back to Windows.
  10. questionfear

    questionfear Google'd.

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    Don't misunderstand me, LS...I think ChromeOS is about as baked as it's going to get. The extent to which Google intends to support local storage is to upload/download files to websites. There is no music player or media player, though obviously Pandora and Netflix are available for streaming.

    Literally, ChromeOS is the Chrome Browser in computer form. If you're working almost entirely in an online environment, it's a very useful tool, since it's very fast at loading pages and such. However, it is not a replacement for a PC, nor is it intended to be a replacement for a PC...it's designed to be a lightweight, cloud-based, instant-on netbook for people with strong ties to Google.

    If you're looking for something to replace a full computing experience, you're better off with Mac OS X, Linux, or Windows. ChromeOS even at it's most polished is never going to be equivalent to those operating systems. I work around it because a) my chromebook was free, b) I love the hardware, c) most of my work is online anyway. But if you aren't working heavily in the browser it's a terrible fit for you.
    hal and scjjtt like this.
  11. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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  12. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    Will have to agree. Bad idea. Thanks for explaining that to me.
  13. questionfear

    questionfear Google'd.

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    No worries. Sorry it wasn't a useful lead!

    One thought, netbooks are quickly and swiftly dying out, maybe some judicious bargain hunting could lead to a potential option with Ubuntu preinstalled? I know Dell used to sell netbooks with Ubuntu.
  14. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    No, I appreciate your input. You told me exactly what I needed to know.

    Jig, you have a point. On the previous PC, I ran Linux but was using the Chromium browser. It worked pretty well but this one has Firefox on it already so I'll probably just keep using that.

    I buy all my music on CDs still so I am not only not using online services for that, I also need to be able to store the ripped tunes so I can put them on different devices when I choose.

    I also take quite a few photos for personal and sometimes work use and need to be able to keep those as well.

    Combine those with my correspondence and I need to have considerable on-board storage. Wouldn't mind the cloud for backup but I still want my stuff local.
  15. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    I'm still running my Netbook: Acer AOA150-1570 with Windows XP and Office 2007. Back in the day, I paid $200 for it and feel I really got my money's worth. I still take it on trips so I can manage media with it (photos, videos, etc.). I considered loading another OS on it (and have experimented with dual booting), but in my circumstances, nothing beats WinXP. The only problem I have with it -- Netflix stutters. Boo hoo. :)

    Oh, why did I bring that up? Sorry, I wasn't trying to salt any wounds. :rolleyes: I think I just got carried away. My point (if I had one) was that I think you're on the right path using older laptops (or netbooks). One of the main issues you mentioned in your OP was connecting it to your phone. I failed to ask you what you meant -- are you trying to tether (for internet access), sync data, or copy data? If you're tethering, maybe WiFi tethering would work better than USB tethering.
  16. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    I meant for transferring data. I haven't had much need for tethering yet.

    It seems to work pretty well to repurpose older Windows laptops with some version of Linux. It's lighter and works faster plus it doesn't seem to "load up" over time. I just hope I don't have this problem again. I would simply transfer my files via my SD card but it's a pain to remove the protective case AND the phone's back just to dump a few photos.
  17. SGosnell

    SGosnell Palm Pilot

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    Linux Mint is tweaked Ubuntu, changed from purple to green. It's made to feel more like Windows, and has codecs added so it will play most media formats out of the box. I'm not thrilled with that much green, but lots of people do use it, and it's the fastest-growing Linux distro, AFAIK.
  18. LandSurveyor

    LandSurveyor LandSurveyor

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    I'm bringing back an old one but it came to mind because I saw the ads for the Chromebox and some laptops running Chrome "OS" here on BH. I read some other discussions about it and I have to ask what is compelling here for the user?

    Following up on this discussion, I have here an older Dell laptop on which XP is now barely crawling but it's loaded with Mint and runs quite briskly. In fact, If I can get the hang of ripping music and transferring it to my Galaxy in a useable format, there's not much else that I need.

    Why buy a new laptop or Box that costs about what other lower-priced laptops cost when Mint and other Linux distros are free and are complete, independent operating systems? It's good for Google but doesn't seem like much of a deal for the end user.
  19. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    If you want a cheap notebook and don't want Windows, I'd install some variety of Linux on a bargain-basement Windows PC, or maybe just get an Asus TF300 with a keyboard dock, instead of getting a Chromebook. Everything I've read about the Chrome OS suggests that the lack of local storage and programs is quite limiting, and it just isn't 1/10th as focused or polished or useful as Google's recent Android versions. I'd call it a half-hearted side project from a company that could do better if it tried (like Apple TV for Apple).

    Chromebooks aren't even that cheap. The ones at Best Buy range from $380 to $550. That's no cheaper than similar-quality machines with a full Windows OS. All that bloatware that cheap Windows PCs are known for? It subsidizes the machine, and to my knowledge, Chromebooks can't take advantage of similar subsidization. So that counterbalances the cheaper OS it has. Thing is, it's a lot easier to take bloat off a Windows machine (or replace Windows with Linux entirely) than it is to add functionality to a Chromebook.

    Linux Mint has a XP-esque start menu; Ubuntu doesn't have anything like that to my knowledge. As a consequence, some Windows users over at NotebookReview who are screaming bloody murder about the replacement of the Windows start menu with a full-screen, tablet-esque start screen are threatening to move to Mint. I suspect it'll become the dominant Linux distro when Windows 8 is released, dominated by people who hate the mobile-device-ization of desktop OSes (Apple and Microsoft are both doing this in one way or another).
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2012
  20. Varjak

    Varjak Newbie

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    Exactly, that's why I don't think Chromebooks make sense. If they were 1/2 or even a bit more than a bare-bones netbook it would be one thing; but they're not. And they have almost no on-board storage.
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