Google Pixelbook: Day Two Awkwardness

Posted on November 11, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 92 Comments

Google Pixelbook: Day Two Awkwardness

In the harsh cold light of the morning, I’m turning back to Google’s Pixelbook and addressing some feedback and some day two awkwardness.

The feedback to my first hands-on article about the Google Pixelbook was predictably all over the map. But I was very happy with the quality of that feedback.

That is, it was interesting to watch readers provide answers to some of the questions that doubters (or even haters) asked. Accurate answers. Non-emotional answers. In many cases, I’d read a comment, formulate a response, and then find out someone else had already handled it. That’s good stuff. That’s the way this should work.

Looking at a few general themes, I can see that price is the major barrier for many, and that the combination of a high price and Chrome OS, which many see as inadequate, makes this device a non-starter. That’s understandable. No product is perfect for everyone. But I see Pixelbook as part of a continuum, much like Surface is on the Windows PC side of the fence. It’s aspirational for both customers and partners.

As you would expect from the more technically-inclined readers of a tech blog, there were a lot of very specific complaints; having access to certain features in Excel, and the like. I get that.

But we all need to step outside of our very specific ways of doing things and understand that “good enough” really is good enough for most people. A Chromebook, whether it’s expensive or not, may seem like a waste of money to you. But the complexity and ongoing costs of Windows seem like a waste of time and money to a very big audience as well. And the software a Chromebook runs, including Google’s productivity suite, is good enough for many. Including many educational institutions, by the way. An entire generation of users will know nothing else. This is one of those things that’s happening no matter whether we like it, or agree with it.

Anyway. Kudos to everyone who chimed in. This is the kind of discussion or debate that is worth having, whether it happens in person—which is always better—or virtually.

Since posting that first impressions article, I’ve continued to use the Pixelbook, as possible, throughout the day. I’m not switching to Chrome OS or anything like that, nor will I engage in the standard “blogger tries something else and you’re not going to believe what happens next” type of thing that is far too common these days. But I do have some observations. And as we move forward, many of those observations will, by necessity, involve how well I can adapt myself to some of the (often) weird differences between this device and the Windows PCs with which I am more comfortable and familiar.

Put simply, it’s awkward.

I try to preach about being open to change—hell, I did so as recently a few paragraphs ago—but the truth is, change is hard. It’s hard because familiar is always easier than unfamiliar. And it’s not clear that some new way of doing things is better. It may just be different. It may very much be worse.

Here’s an example.

With Chrome OS, you get very seamless access to Google Drive, Google’s cloud-based storage service, and you get limited access to local files on the device. That is Chrome OS includes a Files app which works like File Explorer in Windows at a high level. But the system basically assumes that you’re using Google Drive for everything.

This gets weird in a few ways. The Pixelbook comes with at least 128 GB of storage, which is monumental compared to the 16 or 32 GB that is more typical on most Chromebooks. But the system isn’t really tailored to use that storage efficiently: That Files app does provide access to Audio and Videos folders, for example, but not Documents or Music. Regardless, it doesn’t offer to make such locations the default for anything. And, of course, most apps—whether they’re web-based or Android apps—kind of do their own thing. There’s no real sense that you’d ever want to know where things are stored.

And I don’t want to use Google Drive. I want to use OneDrive. You can access OneDrive from the Files app by installing what I’ll call an extension (it’s officially supported). But you can’t sync anything. You can just browse your storage, and when you double-click any file, it opens, slowly, from the Internet.

That’s better than nothing. But apps can’t really use it. For example, I use a web-based photo editing app called Pixlr, and it’s surprisingly full-featured (to anyone still surprised to discover that web apps can be awesome, I guess). But when I try to access a OneDrive-based photo from this app, the File Open dialog (not its real name) doesn’t show thumbnails. And you can’t even open a photo/image file. So … It’s a non-starter. And one form of struggle for me, specifically, and perhaps for many coming from the Microsoft world.)

Another major weirdness will impact anyone using a Pixelbook or other modern Chromebook: There are often both Android and Chrome OS versions of apps, and knowing which to use is confusing and unclear. The problem here, really, is that the onus is on the user: You have to do the work of finding the app(s) in either or both of the available stores (and/or the web), trying both app types, and keeping up on changes to either app that may put a different version over the top in the future. That’s crazy.

And I don’t see a solution here. For Microsoft’s productivity apps, for example, I’ve been trying both, and keeping the one I prefer more (say, OneNote for Android instead of OneNote Online) and removing the other. For other apps, it varies: I sort of like having the smartphone version of a music app—Spotify, Google Play Music, whatever—floating around in a little window, because that’s sort of a secondary/background activity. It’s just something you have to deal with on a case-by-base basis.

Finally, I didn’t really get into this in the first article, but anytime I look at a product like this, I view it from two perspectives: How well it would meet the needs of a wider, more general audience. And how well it might meet my own needs.

So, does this thing meet my needs?

No, not really. I would personally prefer a bigger display, though I understand how that would make the device less usable in tablet mode. But then I find that tablet mode is thick and heavy, and less elegant than just using a separate device (iPad Pro, phablet) for reading or whatever.

Some might believe that I stick with Windows simply because of my Microsoft focus or whatever. That’s not the case: I actually prefer Windows generally, and Windows 10 specifically, over any other personal computing platform. And I try them all, regularly. If money was no object, I would currently choose a Mac over any Chromebook, but that could change as Android app integration becomes more seamless; certainly, the Pixelbook is an impressive laptop. But I would, and do, choose Windows over either regardless. It’s just a personal preference.

But I get it. I get why some people would want a Pixelbook. And I certainly get why many people are fans of Chromebook more generally. This is a viable alternative for Windows or the Mac, and it will only grow in popularity and usage. And I’ll keep testing it, of course, as I’ve been doing for years. It doesn’t pay to be close-minded about this or anything else. Google is getting a lot right with Pixelbook, and with Chrome OS and Chromebook. And even if you are doubter, you should be impressed by how quickly this system is maturing.

Anyway, thanks for the discussion.

 

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Comments (92)

92 responses to “Google Pixelbook: Day Two Awkwardness”

  1. Avatar

    Ron Diaz

    How is the multiple versions of apps any different than the Windows 10 mess of both Win32 and UWP?

  2. Avatar

    polymath

    $ 1,000 ,, Google Pixelbook May 2024 ,,, 2017, 8, 9, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24,, 6+ years

    When a device reaches Auto Update Expiration (AUE), it means that the product model is considered obsolete and automatic software updates from Google are no longer guaranteed.

    https:// support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/6220366?hl=en


    do pixel books get more years than "ordinary" Chromebooks?


  3. Avatar

    RobertJasiek

    The description of files management is very interesting and... shocking.

    Notebookcheck's hardware review says: pulse-width-modulation at 820Hz, slight coil whining, unstable WLAN, noisy keyboard, cannot be opened, slow SSD, glare display. All this does not justify price, 14h battery duration and (surprise) 3:2 display. Unstable WLAN in a device meant to be always online is an absolute no-go.

  4. Avatar

    jrickel96

    Good enough is not good enough. Not for business and not if you want to be employed by anyone serious with business.


    Chromebooks are still a joke for any serious productivity and will never be adopted by business en masse. That means the educational "wins" are meaningless. The same happened with Apple when I grew up. The warnings were dire about the Mac unseating the PC because all the kids were used to the Mac and used them in school. That got Apple to 5%. They were able to do well in another segment, but their desktop/laptop market is still niche.


    The same goes for G-Suite. It's niche and still has not made major inroads. I know of a couple larger companies that switched to Google services. Began using Suite and Hangouts, etc - and saw their productivity take major dives. They are now having to face the cost of remigrating everyone back to office and even replacing Chromebooks that they purchased thinking that they could save money on that end.


    No one serious uses Chromebook. They use Google - absolutely. No hospital uses them - or Android. Google is not HIPAA friendly. Lawyers do not use them because there are serious problems for their profession. Government does not use them. You won't see them used by Disney or large corporations. I work closely with major sports teams in the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. None of them use Chromebook. All use Windows machines for SERIOUS production and maintenance work. None of the media open up Chromebooks in the Press Boxes.


    It's nice that many schools use them due to expense and many people use them for cheap devices they can use quickly. That's a nice niche. Businesses also have to retrain students that use them because they can't due proper work. I've heard of that with interns from larger corporations and many of the schools are now finding out that using Chromebooks places their students at a disadvantage.


    Not a single university here in Florida uses or recommends Chromebooks - and we have five of the largest in the nation. UF, UCF, and USF are all over 50,000 each. FIU, FSU, and FAU are all over 40,000. Around 250,000 students and hardly any use Chromebooks to write papers or take online classes (which are often NOT supported by Chromebooks, btw, depending on what the University uses).


    Chromebooks are good enough for light usage. They are tablets with keyboards. We could not use them for what my work does. Have friends that work with Disney and Universal - and those companies find them to be incapable. Pricewaterhouse Cooper still uses PC but has tried Google services and run into TONS of problems.


    We use many Google services for my job too, though Google has nothing that can do what Skype does for us and we're very likely going to be moving from G-Suite to Office 365 because most of our employees prefer Office and all of the professional sports teams use Office and expect documents in those formats.


    Microsoft should take the Chromebook seriously, but the Chromebook is far from serious for real world usage. Same goes for Android. None of the upper level people at any of these teams uses anything but iPhone. Android is too insecure and problematic. Seriously, they joke about how bad Android is. Go into an NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB control room or managment meeting and Android usage runs at less than 15%.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to jrickel96:

      As always, depends on what one does. Tangential example, my main use for markdown is quickly writing drafts of technical documents with a lot of formulas. To date, a Linux markdown editor called ReText is the best I've found for TeX integration. It just doesn't work reliably under Windows, but it works using crouton under Chrome OS. It works a lot better than LyX for early drafts. Thus, for me, Linux and Chrome OS are more efficient and capable for one of the things I do. There are several others, but this one stands out.

      OTOH, I also need to use Excel, and nothing else comes close for most of what I use it for. That said, I've supplemented it with some work-almost-like functions mimicking Google Sheets functions not available in Excel. All the other statistics and database work I do I can do more easily under Linux and Chrome OS+crouton than Windows.

      I accept that my own use case is peculiar. However, I also realize that Google has a take it or leave it approach to businesses. They like the new customers they get, but it's not their core business. Android and Chrome OS may be better suited to consumers than workplace computer users. For many consumers, Chromebooks are indeed good enough.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to jrickel96:

      Um, no. Actually good enough is very much good enough.

      • Avatar

        joeaxberg

        In reply to paul-thurrott:


        I completely agree that they are good enough.


        If businesses can't use Chromebooks or Google Docs or whatever then they shouldn't. I think that still leaves a giant market for Google to tap into with Chromebook. There are a lot of people out there who could give a shit less about their computers these days. They just want to do email and write the Christmas letter. They do everything else on their phone.


        I don't believe that growing up using Google docs puts one at a disadvantage. My kids' high school switched to Google Docs years ago. Now all off at college they have no problem using Word or Excel when required. We don't have a generation of kids coming out of college for whom Google Docs so tainted them that they can't figure out Word. If Word is that hard to figure out, then maybe we shouldn't be using it.


        The difference for kids and young adults these days is not what they're using but HOW they are using it. I came of nerd age during the early 80's. Computing to me is both something I "do" as well as something I "have." How am I going to get my computing done if I don't have my laptop?


        That's how I think. That's not how my kids think.


        The value to my college-age daughter, is not in the device, but in the service, and the service is not tied to a device. "Here let me show you my term paper" ...then logs into G-docs on my laptop, her laptop, the college lab computer - whatever is available.


        That is the challenge for IT departments and bringing in this new generation of employee. It's not that they can't use Office 2010 (like my company is STILL using) on the corporate bean counter special Hewletdellovo. It's that they find it exceptionally archaic and they eventually find an employer less so.

  5. Avatar

    SvenJ

    Seems to me the cost of the OS is relatively minor when you get down to the full cost of a PC, regardless of the OS. Even if Win 10 was costing OEMs $100 and Chrome OS nothing. That is not super significant. The cost of MacOS is a bit nebulous at it is accounting between divisions of the same company. As a user, I would look at what I needed to do, and how I wanted to do it, which would likely define the OS I needed. It may turn out that Chrome would be fine for me. Maybe I need Windows or MacOS for one particular thing.

    At that point I get to pick the hardware to run it on. With the exception of MacOS, I can go cheap or go wild. It really doesn't have a lot to do with the OS I already chose. If I can afford it, why not buy an extremely well designed and built device, that has the potential of lasting 3,4,5 years or longer, rather than a cheap model that may fall apart in a year or two. Shouldn't matter if the OS was free. All of them are 'free' to me anyway when I buy a device.

    I think the Pixelbook is overpriced, but not because it is running Chrome. It doesn't do what I need it to do, so Chrome on a $200 device is money wasted as well. To me.

  6. Avatar

    Bats

    About sometime ago, I was at my local Best Buy just browsing to see and play around with some cool tech. When I saw the Pixelbook, I played around with it. One of the things I noticed was how well Chrome functioned on it. It was so smooth, fast, and buttery, I believe that it would be very accurate to say that Chrome web browser on ChromeOS (Pixelbook) is far better than Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.


    A few things:


    Paul's Experience with running a Onedrive App from the Chromebook and it being slow,....the problem is the app. Like I stated many times on this website, all my personal data I keep with Google. All my work data, I keep with MSFT via Onedrive. Running Word Online from Internet Explorer (on Windows 7) is far slower to boot up than Google Docs on Google Drive. Far, far slower. It's just not Word, but also Excel, Powerpoint, etc..


    Chromebooks are like Desktop PCs at work. Rather than being connected to the local LAN, your being connected to the global LAN, the internet. Chromebooks are optimal when used with Google services: Gmail, Calendar, Web, Youtube. The best example I could give to illustrate the greatness Chromebook's simplicity is to describe how my 70 year old mother and 10 year old niece use it. My mother is a leader for her Church group and she organizes a lot of events. One of the things I trained her to do, is to send Calendar Invites to all the people in her "group" simply by creating an event and sharing it to the group through Google Calendar. In her Gmail Contacts, she created a "group" of the people that are in her group. All she had to do in Google Calendar was find her Group and simple share it to that one entry that contained 125 names. PEOPLE....for all those who use Outlook (like me) on a daily basis, does that function sound familiar? Of course it does, it should. My mother also creates documents using Google Docs, which is a word processor, that is about the features of Word, through extensions, but surpasses Word in simplicity. There is just so much "richness" contained in the Google ecosystem, it's not even funny. Microsoft is not even close.


    Someone earlier tried to say how great Windows with Citrix is. LOL....I was like "are you serious?" Windows 10 + Citrix equals SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW. LOL...why use a computer to use another computer just to run the software you need? Why do that, when you can do the same exact thing online. The web is where everything should be heading. Web Apps are the clearly the future, as well as the present. I hate to say this, because I know I am right regarding, but web apps can destroy Windows. The premise of Microsoft Windows is that in order for a document or anything to be created, one has to obtain the software, install it on the PC, and run it from there. Web Apps require no installation, just a browser, login, and password. If that's all it needs, then one can just use a Chromebook or a very simple Linux distro. Seriously....who wants to complicate their life with Windows and their licensing agreements and all the malware and ransom ware. This is why Chrome OS went from nothing to the #2 Operating System in the world.

    • Avatar

      Stooks

      In repurly to Bats:

      I do get the simple aspect of Google Doc's.


      I belong to a some different groups, church, kids sports, couple of clubs and basically all of them use Gmail/Free Google Docs to organize events and such. It does not really amount to much actual use of those products. Mostly email and then a few posted docs's for information or sheets for signup stuff. It is basically disposable. No actual cost was spent so it is a good option. None of this, that I know of, is done from a Chromebook. It all done via Windows/Mac computers and mobile devices (email).


      If it was to cost anything then I suspect that no one would actually use it unless it was the cheapest option and by a long shot.


      This statement...


      "This is why Chrome OS went from nothing to the #2 Operating System in the world."


      How do you figure that? I call BS. Chrome OS does not even register on Netmarketshare unless it is lumped in with Linux, and that is at 3% behind macOS and and 87% behind Windows.

    • Avatar

      conan007

      In reply to Bats:

      I am curious about what data you used for the claim in the last sentence. #2 OS in the world? StatsCounter shows Chrome OS has a global desktop marketshare of 0.97% in October (compared to 82.96% for Windows http://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/desktop/worldwide).

      • Avatar

        Paul Thurrott

        In reply to conan007:

        Android is the number one OS in the world. By a huge percentage.

        • Avatar

          conan007

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          Android is #1 but my reply to Bats did not concern this. I was talking about "desktop marketshare" which is nothing to do with Android. What I questioned is the claim that ChromeOS is the #2 OS overall. Windows has much higher share than ChromeOS on desktop (i.e. non-mobile devices), by a huge percentage.


          Also while Android is #1, I doubt it is a huge lead. Look at the StatsCounter link, Android is 38.49% vs Windows' 37.43% in October. I know I know, you don't quite trust StatsCounter but there is no other more reputable usage data otherwise I am happy to be proved wrong if you could provide one.

          • Avatar

            fbman

            In reply to conan007:


            "What I questioned is the claim that ChromeOS is the #2 OS overall."


            The Chrome book is an american success story, the rest of the world have pretty much ignored the chrome book, maybe that why it does not really register on OS usage stats.


            I live in South Africa and we do get chrome books here, but due to high data costs, cloud computing is not really feasible for the average consumer.

            • Avatar

              conan007

              In reply to fbman:

              Mainly an American school success story. StatsCounter does allow you to look at individual country's data. In the USA (http://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/desktop/united-states-of-america), ChromeOS does a little better than worldwide statistics in desktop, with a usage share of 3.7%, compared to 20.88% for OSX and 73.38% for Windows.


              This is hardly surprising. I went to San Francisco for an academic conference organised by UCSF this June. I saw Windows (including Surface), Macbooks but never Chromebooks.

  7. Avatar

    conan007

    Chrome OS may be “good enough” but Windows 10 is also simple enough.

  8. Avatar

    polymath

    I would suggest that the pixel book is a "concept" machine, it allows google engineers and developers to ask "what if" type of questions, try out "concept ideas" and the only way to do that is to make a number of them AND if other people want to pay through the nose for one then sure.... you go right a head.....


    many years ago the post office in the united kingdom made the telephone exchanges & the telephones but could not keep up with the demand, so they charged a lot of money for each installation -- to discourage people from getting a telephone.


    i think pixel books are a mixture of the above, EXPENSIVE because they are not making very many and to discourage,, on the other hand a concept machine for engineers and developers to try "..what if.."


    the only snag.... it bumps up the prices of all the inexpensive Chromebook's

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to polymath:

      . . . it bumps up the prices of all the inexpensive Chromebook's

      Does it? There have been Pixel Chromebooks off and on for almost 5 years. Are there no Chromebooks under US$300 any longer? Not according to Amazon.

      The only snag: reality.

  9. Avatar

    polymath

    mark 2 Chromebooks, ,,ASUS C213,,,, ACER Chromebook spin 11


    wacom EMF stylus,, keyboard camera ( tablet mode ),, 4GB ram 32GB flash

    360 hinge (laptop & tablet mode),, USB C,, 802.11 ac,, Android & chrome OS.


    the acer travelmate B1, has much of the above & cheaper? + windows


    is this the result of a $1,000 Chromebook?

  10. Avatar

    melinau

    The crux of this "good enough"argument is that Google isn't a Software company, and only tangentially a Services company. Google is an Advertising & Data-mining Company whose "Trojan Horse" is the Software and Services they provide in order to extract and exploit these data in their Advertising and demographic analysis.


    So yes "Good enough, is good enough" because it only has to be good enough to get large numbers of users. Android was, for many years, pants. After lots of development its reasonably good, but far from great. But it wasis good enough to get billions of users and lots of Apps and that provides Google with its income.


    By all means by a Pixelbook if you get pleasure from it, but as a tool for work, as opposed to a useful leisure gadget it isn't (yet) good enough. Google doesn't really care. As long as we keep using Chrome (Browser) and all those Android phones Google will be quids in.

  11. Avatar

    skane2600

    I believe the intersection of users who have modest needs for a computer and users who are willing to spend a premium for a computer is quite small.

  12. Avatar

    polymath

     In reply to PacoCornholio:.. I like my Pixelbook for its speed, lightness and keyboard/trackpad combo. It's a pleasure to use.... until there is real work to be done.


    I use two chrome books, ASUS C201 4GB 16GB and ACER R13 1080p TOUCH, 360, 4GB 32GB + android ( stable channel)


    the bottleneck with Chromebooks is the home router as down capacity is greater than up capacity ,, 4G will change this.


    I don't understand why people say "until there is real work to be done.", you can pay Microsoft for office 365 and use the web version of office and do .....real work... ... if you don't like google docs.


    REMEMBER a Chromebook is just a TERMINAL,,,


    Its NOT a computer,, you have to get this computer idea out of your head. the computing is done by server farms around the world interconnected with fibre optics. As soon as the bottleneck is gone with 4G/5G equal upload and download is wide spread people will be able to upload videos for editing and Chromebooks will act just like the old personal computer of the windows and Macintosh era.


    this example is gobbledegook, if you want to run software with a Chromebook you can do so inexpensively in the cloud


    How to set up Tensorflow and DeepDream on a free Google Cloud instance,, https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEa8hIvkto0




    • Avatar

      PacoCornholio

      In reply to polymath: You're right about Chromebooks doing real work when they have a good connection. Google Docs can get real work done, too (and yes, I use SEARCH a lot). But I spend a lot of time without connections good enough to use online docs, so usable local storage is essential to me. Windows and Mac OS offer this. Chrome/Android currently do not.
      Chrome/Android has most of what it needs to win. App quality will solve itself, IF Google gets its head out and fixes key items like local storage. If Google doesn't, nothing will help them.
      As long as I'm being a PITA critic, it is inexcusable for Google to ship Pixelbook without biometric authentication.


  13. Avatar

    polymath

    In reply to PacoCornholio:... google made its reputation on ...SEARCH
    google drive, Gmail, chrome settings, google keep .... they all have a SEARCH bar
    as you say there is lots of storage & little organisation , i think your meant to SEARCH for what your looking for.
    Gmail has a very powerful search facility. https:// support.google.com/mail/answer/7190?hl=en
    G.Drive https:// support.google.com/drive/answer/2375114?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en
    G.keep https:// support.google.com/keep/answer/2888263?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en
    G.images can search images if you drag an image into the search bar

    so try ..searching.. instead of looking,, maybe?


  14. Avatar

    PacoCornholio

    You nailed it with the storage awkwardness. Drive doesn't let users sync files in bulk with offline storage (you can download in bulk, but it's not clear that this preserves directory structure or syncs). Chrome's Files utility will let you mount third party online storage, but it doesn't let you designate files (let alone directories) for offline use (let alone sync). It's as if Google added hundreds of gigs of storage without any plan at all for making that storage useful.


    To me it looks like Google is knocking out the alles-online holdouts one by one. The Pixelbook hardware team was allowed to add storage, but Chrome's apps team still refuses to help.


    There are other pockets of cussed, arrogant resistance in Google - corporate clients beat the Gmail team into letting users switch off conversation view, but this feature is still missing in Gmail's Android app, and the offline (web) version of Android has been atrocious forever. Inbox's Android app is pitiful on a large screen.


    I like my Pixelbook for its speed, lightness and keyboard/trackpad combo. It's a pleasure to use.... until there is real work to be done. As I look through how sloppy Google has been in finishing this product, though, I become reluctant to ever get into a Waymo car.

  15. Avatar

    longhorn

    Just the fact that you have to use Google Chrome browser and Google services like Google Drive makes it a non-starter for many people. People want choice; web browser, office, cloud storage and so on. Chrome OS is a very claustrophobic solution. This is even more true for business.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to longhorn:

      You do have choice: Windows PCs, Macs, Chromebooks/boxes, whitebox machines running Linux or *BSD. It's just that the Chrome OS option only comes with Chrome as the browser. As long as you use online storage for files, Chrome OS machines work fine with OneDrive and Office web apps, Zoho Office, rollApp, and probably other online alternatives.

      You do need to use a Gmail ID to log in, but once logged in, you can completely ignore everything else Google.

      • Avatar

        longhorn

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        I get it. Chrome OS is not a general purpose OS meant to go against Windows. It's a spartan environment where you are supposed to use Google services.


        I'm disappointed by Google. The company could have created something similar to Windows or Mac. Plenty of Linux applications already exist. No need to create something so bare-bones that it's more of a me-too-device than something good enough for ordinary people. It's a disaster in the marketplace; maybe 2 % global desktop market share, if that. Despite being backed by Google, all major OEMs and nice hardware. It's almost Windows Phone numbers. It's time for Google to do something and they did by integrating Android. From a personal perspective; every time I use mobile apps on the desktop/laptop it feels like someone is pulling my leg.


        Clearly Chrome OS isn't for me, but the market has spoken and rejected Chrome OS. It's as simple as that. Time for Google to wake up. Chrome OS has one important advantage. It's much less expensive to develop than Windows Phone. So Google can keep developing Chrome OS with or without users. Internally Google uses real OSes because they need to get work done. Before someone says I don't understand the purpose of Chrome OS, just remember that the market is just as confused as I am.

        • Avatar

          hrlngrv

          In reply to longhorn:

          You have to use gmail/Google accounts to log onto Chrome OS machines, but once logged on, you could pick whatever online service you want. Google's may be simpler to use, but it's possible to use OneDrive + Office web apps, Zoho Office using Google Drive or Dropbox for online storage, rollApp with various online sorage providers. As is always the case, people aware of their alternatives have more choices than people militantly defending the frontiers of their own ignorance.

          As for Chromebooks/Chromeboxes, if they're not for you, it's not as if Google is pointing a gun at your head and forcing you to buy one. As for the market for them, if Google and its OEMs are losing money on them, that's their problem. OTOH, if they're still making, shipping and presumably selling Chromebooks/Chromeboxes, they may be doing well enough.

          I take only my Chromebook on vacations, and I work for a company which uses Citrix to provide remote desktops with almost everything I use for work. There's a Citrix Receiver app for Chrome OS, so I can check in and take care of many things despite the company using Windows software exclusively. I see Chromebooks/Chromeboxes as the ideal terminals for workplace use, and since my own leisure use is 90% browser-based fine for me after work.

  16. Avatar

    polymath

    I think Microsoft could give the tree a good shake, ,,,, make $1,000 Chromebooks irrelevant


    there snapdragon "system on a chip" SOC, ARM computers with x86 emulator, will have 4G LTE, always connected. may run many hours on a single charge, have a stylus maybe 360 eInk displays. maybe "..telephone.." or "skype/TEAM type of operation & OneNote + office 365,, oh and not forgetting progressive web apps on the Microsoft store. attached to the cloud with 4G, no more wifi, no more up/down bottle necks. a real Chromebook concept machine ?


    ( with on board video processing maybe even mixed reality headsets,, there's a thought, kill all the current birds with one stone,, maybe.... )


    with cortana it could....

    Knowledge Navigator (1987) Apple Computer" https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb4AzF6wEoc


    of course the general public didn't go for the window RT machines, a leap too far. so we will have to see if this new concept technology from windows is welcomed or ....


    however Microsoft could give Chromebooks a run for there money,, make them look an out of date also ran. Though like windows pc's maybe by shear weight of numbers in schools and some offices will keep the Chromebook on the road,


    we also have to be aware that "chrome" is not just Chromebooks its kiosk's too and maybe progressive web apps on android & ios, windows & mac



    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to polymath:

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but wifi is generally cheaper than cellular (as a genetic term), no? Lots of people dying to pay more to escape wifi, are they?

      • Avatar

        polymath

        In reply to hrlngrv: once apron a time people had telephone lines, ADSL modems and wifi routers ,,, then Steve jobs invented iPhone & iPad with cell connection and people were able to have MOBILE internet based phones and tablets. The Microsoft x86 ARM device will join the MOBILE group of devices... that's what i see.


        • Avatar

          hrlngrv

          In reply to polymath:

          Maybe someday all cords will be cut, but as long as most cellular carriers charge more the more data one passes through their networks as opposed to ISPs using other means to provide internet access at fixed prices regardless of amounts of data transferred, ethernet and wifi will be cheaper. Also, at the moment, what's the % of all new WinTel PCs and desktop-capable tablets with cellular networking? 10%? And how about older machines in use? Unlikely even 5%. Overall, no more than 5%. I figure the world won't reach 50% of Windows machines using cellular networking before I retire.

  17. Avatar

    polymath

    intermediate step


    ANDROID ON CHROME >>>> Progressive web apps & web assembler


    Google has a problem, they have a lot of resources invested in "android" software development, as do the developers,, Android 1.0 is 2009 so 8 years. Chrome os Initial release June 15, 2011; 6 years ,, the latter supports a web browser which will be "comparable" with Firefox, Edge & safari with progressive web apps & web assembler .


    a version of android is being developed for the internet of things. Chrome is also used in display kiosks.


    progressive web apps, web assembler & chrome browser should be able to provide all the features that we have grown used to with Android apps using Android chrome browser AND that app should also be universal and run on ios Safari browser, windows Edge Browser & Firefox browser. If this is the case why have Android unless you use it just to support the chrome browser.


    Leadership Panel (Chrome Dev Summit 2017)

    skip 15m >>> https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU8fy8PHAl0


  18. Avatar

    polymath

    ONEDRIVE - chromebook, ive not tried this....


    in the chrome book FILES app, it says [+] add new services


    this is one that comes up "File System for OneDrive" https:// chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/file-system-for-onedrive/jbfdfcehgafdbfpniaimfbfomafoadgo?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher


    ".....

    Updated: 2 June 2015

    This application provides File System for your OneDrive storage.

    This software provides you an ability to mount your OneDrive storage to your Chrome OS.


    Notes:

    * Works on only ChromeOS.

    * Copying operation not supported.

    * The max file size which can edit is 100MB.

    * When the access token is expired, will be unmounted automatically.

    * Cannot use OneDrive for Business account.

    ......"


    maybe this shows images just like the online DRIVE shows files???????


    also,,, https:// appuals.com/add-dropbox-onedrive-files-app-chrome-os/


  19. Avatar

    polymath

    ".....But when I try to access a OneDrive-based photo from this app, the File Open dialog (not its real name) doesn’t show thumbnails. And you can’t even open a photo/image file. So … It’s a non-starter. And one form of struggle for me, specifically, and perhaps for many coming from the Microsoft world.) ....."


    this is being tackled in chrome for android in the light of progressive web apps,, for camera/social site integration maybe it will come to Chromebook chrome too.


    LOOK "Progressive Web Apps: Integrating with Browsers and Operating Systems (Chrome Dev Summit 2017)"


    skip >> 17m,, https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sLa0qhuqcA&t=3s


  20. Avatar

    polymath

    I agree chrome ( web applications ) and android versions ,, side by side ,, unless you right click the icon you don't know what flavor it is, and some "web apps" in the chrome store are really container versions of android apps that run in chrome os without android. all very confusing. i wish they would label the icons.


    You have to use incognito in chrome browser to get the web version or the android app will start ,, a dam nuance.


    this is ..work in progress.. some bright spark thought,, how about android on chrome, then google discovered just how awful the 1,000,000 android apps on phone's really were, anyone using a tablet will have some experience of this, the Chromebook is much much worse!!


    Google's play store will need a new entry CHROMEBOOK READY apps,,


  21. Avatar

    polymath

    ".... Here’s an example.

    With Chrome OS, you get very seamless access to Google Drive, Google’s cloud-based storage service, and you get limited access to local files on the device.  ...."


    this is not true,, in my opinion..


    google drive > cog wheel > check OFFLINE & do the same with calendar ,, email is a chrome store APP,, Blue M.


    google will upload into your Chromebook the last months worth of documents, so they can be accessed locally on your Chromebook, maybe even read & edited when your off line.... They appear in the FILES app as "offline" then sync them when your next on the internet.



  22. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    . . . But then I find that tablet mode is thick and heavy, and less elegant than just using a separate device (iPad Pro, phablet) for reading or whatever. . . .

    I asked in the comments in the other article how the Pixelbook used as a tablet compares to the Lenovo Yoga and other OEM 2-in-1s. I wonder whether any of them isn't awkward used as a tablet. IOW, how appealing are 2-in-1s generally?

  23. Avatar

    MikeGalos

    So, in short, it costs between $1,000 and $2,000, doesn't do as much as a Windows or Macintosh laptop and doesn't do a particularly good job of what little it actually is designed to do. Kind of a hard sell when you can get a more useful and more flexible full computer for $300.

    • Avatar

      Adzprazolam

      Have you used a 300 machine? They're mostly rubbish. If someone wants premium materials, beautiful design and great functionality especially where chromeOS serves their needs this device would not be a hard sell at all.
      People don't spend money just for 'features', buying motivations are far more complex than just 'which does more'.
      ,reply to MikeGalos:


      • Avatar

        Stooks

        In reply to Adzprazolam:

        Lol, 98% of Chromebooks run on junk hardware that is $300 or less. Have you ever used a Chromebook that most of the public schools hand out to kids? I would rather use pencil and paper.


        A $300 Windows laptop can run Chrome just as well as Chromebook. Plus you can probably run a few thousand Win32 apps as well. Probably not screaming fast and probably not half a dozen at one time....but you can.

        • Avatar

          Craig Luecke

          In reply to Stooks:

          FYI, you can run thousands of Win32 apps on a Chromebook, especially the Pixelbook given the 128GB storage size, using the app Crossover. I installed the desktop version of Steam and run several Windows games on the Pixelbook. This did not require Developer Mode or installing Linux Crouton. I also installed the desktop version of Microsoft Word ... apparently I can install the full Microsoft Office on the Pixelbook. No, I'm not using the Pixelbook as a gaming laptop. It was just to see if it could on an i5 chromebook. It does.

          • Avatar

            Stooks

            In reply to RocklandUSA:

            I have used both Crossover and Wine on both Linux and macOS. While both can run most Windows apps on Linux/Mac the experience is far from optimal. Apps are laggy or not all features work or some apps do not even run. You spend a lot of time trying to tweak apps to run under those emulation modes. Also newer versions of apps don't become compatible for a while, so you end up having to run older versions that have been tweaked to work over the years.


            On my Mac I have vmware fusion which I used to use for Visio for my network diagrams but I have since completely moved to OmniGraffle and I can't remember the last time I fired up the Windows VM. Virtual solutions IMHO opinion work much better than emulation like Crossover. Can you hack a chrome book to run VMware workstation for Linux? Not that Chromebook tend to have a lot of hardware resources.

          • Avatar

            Paul Thurrott

            In reply to RocklandUSA:

            That's too complicated for most people and beyond what any typical Chromebook customer would ever consider. I like that it's there. But ...

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      What you just wrote is true of Surface Laptop with Windows 10 S too. Even more so.

      • Avatar

        Stooks

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Not really Paul.


        That copy of Windows 10 S can be upgraded (for free right now) for a small cost, $49? and then you get the whole world of Win32.


        Can ChromeOS but upgraded to enable it to run Adobe CC, Quickbooks, AutoCad, Avid, Win32 MS Office...etc?


        That Surface Laptop with the free upgrade to Pro, until the end of the year just became 100x more useful.

  24. Avatar

    Mark from CO

    Paul:


    Thanks, good set of articles. I think most will agree with you about how quickly the system is maturing. Regardless of the pluses and minus now, Google has shown its persistent in quickly improving the system over time. As a consumer (and Microsoft user), one hopes Microsoft demonstrates the same persistence in improving W10S, as competition helps us all. As the next couple of years progress, a series on how fast, and how well, these systems are improving would be interesting. Let's hope Microsoft is up to the task.


    Mark from CO

  25. Avatar

    James Wilson

    I think we've got to get away from the thought process that 'well, I wouldn't use it as I'm a tech enthusiast - but it's good enough the average user'. The more I've looked into tech, the more I've realised that most 'average users' don't want 'average products'. They want the best (or at least close to the best) even if they are not going to use most of the features.


    Look at the success of the iPhone and flagship Androids. The majority of these users can't be tech experts - there would be a lot of them if there were. If people have money to spend, they want to spend it on something good - better than they need. Human nature I guess. In essence - they want the best they can afford. Their budget defines what they are going to buy - not their absolute requirement.


    So - the 'good enough for the average user' really means - not good enough at all.

    • Avatar

      mikiem

      In reply to James_Wilson:

      "Look at the success of the iPhone and flagship Androids. The majority of these users can't be tech experts... If people have money to spend, they want to spend it on something good..."


      That's the result of good marketing. And often in the case of phones in the US, not paying for the phone outright. And when you're talking up-market items, image &/or status also applies, and that's where lots of marketing focuses most attention. As for being tech expert, I've seen it documented that most don't have a clue about the majority of features their phone has, because they never use that stuff.

    • Avatar

      MikeGalos

      In reply to James_Wilson:

      That's been exactly what marked the death of all the earlier attempts to do a less flexible but "good enough for other people" systems which come up every few years.


      I've yet to see one that was good enough that the people who designed it or the executives at the company selling it actually were willing to use their own product. They're always for those "other people" and designing a product with contempt for the target user rarely leads to anything good.

      • Avatar

        Paul Thurrott

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Windows was good enough in the early days. That's all it was when it won.

        • Avatar

          Daniel D

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          So true. The Amiga was running circles around early versions of Windows, at least until Win 95 and the Mac was too.

          • Avatar

            Jeff Jones

            In reply to Daniel_D:


            I think part of the reason Windows took the lead was that the IBM compatibles had made some headway into businesses and Windows was able to run on top of those existing machines, and make them better. Essentially it was backwards compatible with DOS while even making DOS better.


            Being backwards compatible often wins the race if it builds on the existing leader. In fact I often wonder if Microsoft could have succeeded with Windows Phone if they had maintained backwards compatibility with Windows Mobile 6, instead of scrapping it completely and wasting 2 years on a rewrite.

            • Avatar

              hrlngrv

              In reply to DataMeister:

              MSFT wanted to transform Windows PCs into relying on MSFT's app store. MSFT wanted a 30% cut of most ISVs' revenues. That required a convergence of phone, tablet and PC OSes which would allow MSFT to leverage it's position on PCs and with PC ISVs to gain a goodly chunk of phone and tablet markets, in turn to gain more developers' attention and more app store offerings.

              MSFT wasn't interested in an independent phone OS which was backwards compatible with Windows Mobile 6.x that wouldn't have forwarded MSFT's goals for Windows PCs.

              Shame it's all ashes and dust now.

          • Avatar

            Paul Thurrott

            In reply to Daniel_D:

            Exactly. I used to mock Windows while multitasking on floppies.

          • Avatar

            hrlngrv

            In reply to Daniel_D:

            Maybe faulty memory, but I don't recall Windows 95 being a huge performance leap from Win32s under Windows 3.1[1]. I think the main reasons Windows 95 was the last and only time most PC users upgraded Windows was the new desktop UI (Program Manager sucked!) and escape from 8-dot-3 filenames. I remember the contortions I had to put my software through to give users file descriptions tied to essentially random 8-char filenames.

  26. Avatar

    Sprtfan

    I question how useful Android apps are on a Chromebook? I remember the same argument with Windows Phone and Windows 10 app store. There was a small number of Windows Phones and it didn't really make since to bring moble apps to the Windows Store when they were not very useful on a laptops and desktop computers. I have a Pixel and there really aren't any apps on there that I wish I also had on my laptop or desktop computer. The ones that I could potentially see using like some type of photo editing app, have plenty of as good if not better options on my laptop. I'm guessing some games would be nice? Someone have some examples of apps on Android that would fill a need that is not available on a Windows laptop?

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to Sprtfan:

      I don't think that's really the point. That is, no one is picking a Chromebook *because* there is some list of apps that are there that aren't on Windows. The point is that people are picking Chromebook because they are some combination of cheaper, simpler, more secure, faster, etc. and that the availability of apps isn't an issue. This was never the case on Windows phone, which was always more dream than reality.

      • Avatar

        Sprtfan

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Ok, I was getting the impression in general that Apps coming to Chrome OS was as you said in your previous article "the addition of the Android apps platform is what puts it over the top" and "The combination of the web browser and web apps platform that everyone really wants (Chrome) with the most popular mobile apps platform (Android) is going to be tough to beat."

        My question was more of does any one really want or need Android apps on a laptop? But I get what you are saying is that the apps by themselves are not a big deal but added with everything that Chrome OS already is makes it a even more appealing option.

        The potential PC integration is what brought me to a Windows Phone in the first place. It is starting to look like Google maybe the one to do it.

  27. Avatar

    Martin Lynch

    I bought a Pixelbook a couple of weeks ago. I'm coming from a Linux household (Mint, specifically) and have long been suspicious of the utility of Chromebooks. But I came to realize almost everything I do these days is online (except ultra low latency multi track audio recording, where Linux really can't be beaten). So I took the plunge.


    Mostly, I love the Pixelbook - really like being at a conference and flipping it into tablet mode and taking notes using Squid via the excellent pen. It's well built, light, the keyboard is surprisingly good, and it's very responsive. Boot up is near instant. I don't use Microsoft stuff, so that isn't a concern.


    I do have issues: the confusing Android vs Chrome apps, inability to split screen in tablet mode, the pen battery gave out in the middle of a conference and I spent a break trying to find an AAAA battery at five nearby stores without success. 4 hours later it started working again and has worked since (and when it works, it is extremely good and natural feeling). The file system was really confusing initially until I switched the default place to save things from "Downloads" and built a hierarchy. Not all Android apps work, and some work poorly.


    But I'm surprised how much I enjoy using it. Having long been dubious about a touchscreen on a laptop, and of convertible laptops, I'm a convert. It perfectly fills a hole between my very powerful desktop Linux machine and my Android phone that I didn't realize existed until I got the Pixelbook.

    • Avatar

      abstract obfuscating

      In reply to Martin: Martin, tech tip. RE: the pen battery gave out in the middle of a conference and I spent a break trying to find an AAAA battery at five nearby stores without success.
      Fry's electronics, Batteries + (Batteries Batteries or whatever their name is this week) are the only place to find "AAAA" batteries. Well unless you count every store you went to, and any store that sells 9V batteries. Next time you need a AAAA battery don't fret, just peel the metal case off a 9v and carefully separate the six (6) AAAA batteries you just bought for the price of 2. No acid spill, no gooey stuff, just a slight danger of short circuit if you aren't paying attention.
      Disclaimer, What? I never said that. Nobody in their right mind would disassemble a battery. (unless of course you NEED a AAAA.)
      Kevin


    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to Martin:

      If you could live with a bit less security, you could switch into developer mode, install crouton, then use crouton to install Linux chroots. Linux Mint isn't available, but Ubuntu is. Works pretty well unless you want to print from the chroot.

  28. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    Aspirational is fine, but does triple the price from a standard OEM 14" Chromebook to a 12+" Pixelbook give as much differentiation as between a Toyota Camry and a BMW M4? Disclaimer: I've driven exactly 3 VWs since college back in the early 1980s, so I may not possess the aspiration-awareness gene.

    The point should be VALUE. For some, paying more to get more makes a lot of sense. I can see wanting to pay more for the Pixelbook's monitor (3:2, 2400x1600). OTOH, I can't see a pressing need for 128GB SSD (lowest capacity option) on a Chromebook, but I'm not one to load any machine with lots of movies or a music library. 8GB RAM also seems a bit much as I seldom have more than 6 tabs open at a time.

    For me, it comes with too much stuff I wouldn't use, thus, price too high for value provided FOR ME. Others may have a use for that much storage and RAM on a Chromebook.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      The quality level is night and day. So yeah, I think it does justify the cost. Again, this device and a Chromebook generally won't be for everyone.

    • Avatar

      ChristopherCollins

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      I have had a theory on the SSD's. I keep thinking they will add a way to run a VM of Windows or a Linux Distro in an upcoming Chrome OS revision. That is my guess anyway. If you gave this machine a Parallel's type capability, it would add a lot of value to the Chromebook for me. Being able to boot up Windows that 15% of the time I need it would probably make me get one of these.


      • Avatar

        crfonseca

        In reply to ChristopherCollins:

        In my experience dual booting doesn't work, not only is it an hassle, because you have to stop whatever you're doing, then wait for the other OS to boot, then remember what you wanted to do, then do it, and then doing it again to get back to the other OS.

        Especially when the other OS you only theoretically only use 15% of the time does everything the other one does. You'll soon figure out a way to get stuff done without needing to go back to the "main" OS.

        That's pretty much why Microsoft made WSL, because they know that if devs have to use a certain toolchain in Linux, once they've booted into Linux they're not going back to Window anytime soon.

        This is also why they don't let Chrome, or any other non store app run in Windows S, because they know that once they open that door, they won't ever be able to close it. Because there's always that one app that someone out there needs, and if they only let that one run they'd totally use Windows S.

        And a Parallel's type solution won't work either, because it's an extremely niche solution that only works because the Mac user base has a lot of power users that have pretty powerful machines that can handle running a VM. The vast majority of Chrome users have crappy devices that can barely run Chrome OS, let alone run Windows in a VM.

        So I don't see that happening anytime soon.

        Also, Google hates Microsoft, so there's no way they'll ever do anything that can be perceived as giving them an hand.

        • Avatar

          hrlngrv

          In reply to crfonseca:

          . . . have pretty powerful machines that can handle running a VM . . .

          Which describes the Pixelbook base model with i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD (when Chrome OS itself uses maybe 4GB).

          Granted 2GB Chromebooks can handle little beyond just running the Chrome browser. However, 4GB Chromebooks with adequate processors can handle running Windows software under wine under crouton. 8GB Chromebooks with adequate processors should be able to handle VMs at least as well as Macs from 5 years ago could handle Parallels.

          • Avatar

            crfonseca

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            But then, if you're going to

            a) get a device that's powerful enough to run ChromeOS and Windows in a VM

            b) actually use a bunch of Windows stuff

            then why not get a nice Windows PC and use Chrome on it?

            And that's the *simpler* solution (that's AFAIK not possible today), yours is far more complicated.

            Thing is, even when running inside a VM, you still have to have the hassle of keeping Windows updated, and stuff can still break and render the VM unbootable.

            Wasn't the biggest selling point of Chromebooks that they're a lot simpler to manage for mere mortals?


            • Avatar

              hrlngrv

              In reply to crfonseca:

              Please note that I've left several comments under this article saying that the Pixelbook is poor value for me. Even viewing it as a fine Linux laptop, so blowing away Chrome OS, I dislike the now standard Chromebook keyboard. (I was lucky enough to buy a Chomebook before that standardization became unavoidable.)

              If one would try running a full Windows VM on a Chromebook, I'd agree one may be better off buying a Windows laptop instead. OTOH, if the Windows VM would only be there to run one or two Windows desktop applications with no close alternatives, then things get murkier.

              I've been using VirtualBox for at least 5 years, and the only problems I've had with VMs came from the VDIs being on external drives and those drives becoming flaky.

              The wonderful thing about Chromebooks is something Windows used to have but MSFT seems to be doing its damnedest to kill off: radical extensibility. For those willing to put in the time, to get their hands dirty, Chrome OS machines can be turned into Linux machines on a temporary basis via crouton/chroot and a few other alternatives. With 8GB RAM and > 100GB storage, VMs become another avenue of extensibility. NO, none of this makes sense for those who buy Chrome OS machines for as simple as possible, but those aren't the only people buying Chrome OS machines.

              Windows used to be like this, with a few Linux variants which would run under Windows, with entire file systems in single huge Windows files. Or replacing Explorer as the desktop shell with LiteStep or BBWin or Emerge Desktop or a few others. Damn good thing StarDock is still around to show MSFT how to make Windows better than MSFT's own people can.

      • Avatar

        hrlngrv

        In reply to ChristopherCollins:

        VM support needs to be at least a loadable kernel module if not built into the kernel. VirtualBox builds new kernel modules whenever its upgraded in Linux. That requires a full build environment plus kernel headers. Not quite consistent with the simplicity of Chrome OS.

        OTOH, it shouldn't be too difficult to build hardware-Chrome OS version-specific modules on servers then download and load the kernel modules as part of an upgrade-like process, meaning rebooting.

        There's been a version of DOSBox for Chrome OS for a few years now, and wine works under chroots, but VMs means kernel-level access. Also, how much access would VMs have to the Chrome OS host's file system?

  29. Avatar

    Bats

    I have said this time and time again....it's not about the operating system. It's the always about the apps. The OS is irrelevant. As long as people can effectively can perform their real work, it doesn't matter.


    Change is not hard. Once someone commits to change, then change is done. Perfect example is the THURROTT family who moved from one town to another. They made the change and they seem fine with it. Chrome OS is easy to make the change too. The Crux of the experience is the Chrome browser. If you can operate chrome browser or any browser, you can operate Chrome OS.


    AS FOR WINDOWS....it's too complicated.

  30. Avatar

    Waethorn

    Chrome Web Apps show with a black-and-white Chrome sub-icon when an equivalent Android app is installed.


    The only time I find I prefer to use the Google Android app over their web app is with Play Music, because of the weird SSO restrictions with the web version.

  31. Avatar

    djross95

    Great article, especially as it relates to using files. These are the sorts of things that don't show up in brochures (for ex, who would guess that a files app won't let you store local docs or look at music files). Like Apple, it works great if you do it their way. If you don't, it can be a world of hurt.

    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to djross95:

      Thanks ... The other issue, and I should have mentioned this, is that OneDrive access in Files expires over time so you need to keep adding it back. It's just a non-starter.

      • Avatar

        djross95

        In reply to paul-thurrott: Just one add'l thought: The BIG selling point for a Chromebook, IMHO, is that you can reset them (or log in to a new one) and be up and running in 1 minute or so. That's incredible (and of course I realize why, as its cloud-based), and contrasts starkly with the day-long span completely restoring a Windows device. It's ALMOST worth putting up with the limitations that you so aptly describe in your article...


  32. Avatar

    mikiem

    "... understand that “good enough” really is good enough for most people."


    When it comes to tablets, 2-in-ones, laptops, & small boxes like miniPCs, it can for many people be a real toss-up between Windows & Android/Chrome. While there are diehard Microsoft & Google fans, the majority just want the tools that will do what they want/need, at the level that they want to do those things, providing whatever tools are within their budget. Where you have problems, Paul, accessing photos on OneDrive, many would/will just use Google's cloud, & not give it a moment's thought.


    "There’s no real sense that you’d ever want to know where things are stored."


    For very many people, they really could care less, maybe not knowing, & generally not caring that they might be missing out on something. I'd think that if it bothered more folks, then more [most] phones would be rooted, & they're not. I think that perhaps if you've used PCs for a long time, you've also become used to lots of control because you needed that once upon a time to just get & keep things running.


    That said, the deciding factor when my wife got her 2-in-one was cost -- on sale, the Windows 10 device was cheaper than a comparable Chromebook. And I expect it'll stay that way until they start shipping as many Chromebooks as they do Windows versions of similar hardware. It's simple economics. And with Black Friday approaching, it should be Very apparent that folks would rather buy stuff on sale.

  33. Avatar

    jbuccola

    The holy trinity of personal computing is ecosystem-device-apps, where ecosystem implies 1st party cloud services native to the device.


    It is becoming increasingly clear that non-native cloud services on a device are just inferior experiences, even if the service itself is better. Less so for apps.


    The problem seems to be that the line between apps and ecosystem is blurring quickly, and the ecosystem/device maker draws bright lines around what works natively well with the device vs. an ‘alien’ app.


    This dynamic drives me crazy, whether its Pixelbook’s lack of true OneDrive integration, Siri only working with Apple Music, CarPlay only using Apple Maps, etc.


    Is it worth having better service / in-app experiences or a more seamless overall experience?

    • Avatar

      Stooks

      In reply to jbuccola:


      I don't think what you want will ever happen. Companies will focus on maximizing their profits and to be as open as you and many others would like goes against them maximizing their profits.


      Google never ported a single app to Windows Phone. They only port them to iOS because of its popularity which equals massive info grab for them.


      Apple won't allow Google Maps in Car Play. They will never port iMessage to Android either.


      I have found that over time it is best to stick to one vendor as much as possible to maximize the experience. For each person the "experience" might mean something different. I tried really hard to be a Microsoft only ecosystem person. Microsoft killed off to many things for that to happen, phone, band, music services etc.


      For me Apple, at a cost, provides the best ecosystem. The very tight integration between Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch,iCloud etc is better than the rest. Lots and lots of little things that just work well together. Example go to a new place and jump on the wifi, typing in the password to say your Mac. If your iPhone and Mac are tied to the same iCloud account, the iPhone will get jump on the Wifi network automatically. Simple thing, but just one of many things that make the ecosystem so good on Apple.


      Even then I still use MS-Office and Onedrive. I have iCloud Drive as well but Pages, Sheets etc are a joke compared to basically anything else, and sharing with iCloud while much improved still is lacking compared to Google Drive and One Drive.

    • Avatar

      SvenJ

      In reply to jbuccola: Interesting. That's not what I think of when I think of ecosystem. To me that is third party stuff. If it implies first party cloud services native to the device, Windows Phone should have hit it out of the park. To me ecosystem is what you can get for the device, with it's native OS and apps, from other vendors. The environment within which it lives. Ecosystem is why I could buy cases for my iPhone X before I could even order the device itself.


    • Avatar

      Paul Thurrott

      In reply to jbuccola:

      I assume the goal is to have both. The Google Drive experience is most likely excellent, for example. I'm not quite willing to go there. But I guess I need to test that.

  34. Avatar

    Harrymyhre

    Today I heard the term "executive chromebook" used by somebody.

    But I can't get the image of a guy sitting down at a board meeting of a fortune 500 company with a chromebook.


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