Samsung Chromebook Pro Finally Limps into Pre-Order

Posted on May 15, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 23 Comments

Samsung Chromebook Pro Finally Limps into Pre-Order

Just days ahead of Google’s annual developer conference, the long-delayed and Android-compatible Samsung Chromebook Pro is finally available for preorder.

This device, along with its less powerful stablemate, the Chromebook Plus, was supposed to jumpstart a new era of hybrid computing. But as I’ve reported previously, this product and the underlying technology that makes it possible have both been delayed again and again.

These two set of delays cast serious doubt on Google’s ability to combine its PC-like and mobile platforms into a single, cohesive new family of products.

Samsung announced its Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro at CES back in January. These devices are mostly identical—2-in-1 form factor, 12.3-inch 3:2 multi-touch display at 2400 x 1600 pixels, 4 GB of RAM, 32 GB of eMMC storage, and integrated passive stylus—but offer different underlying processor architectures. The Chromebook Plus, which arrived in February and costs a bit under $450, sports an OP1 ARM processor, whereas the Chromebook Pro, at $550, is based on the Intel Core m3. The Pro was supposed to arrive in March. And then in April. And then in May.

Well, it’s May. And now you can pre-order the Samsung Chromebook Pro from Amazon.com and it will even ship in May, barely. Like May 28, barely.

As it turns out, the delays here are not Samsung’s fault. For that, we can instead blame Google, which promised one year ago to bring the Android apps platform, along with the Google Play Store, to Chromebooks by the end of 2016. And then spent the past year not delivering on that promise.

As I noted in Still Waiting for the Chromebook Revolution that Never Came (Premium), the constant delays have somewhat undercut my confidence in Google’s ability to usurp the PC market. So I’m curious to see how the firm positions this transition at Google I/O this week, given that the company announced its Chromebook/Android plans at last year’s show.

Reading the many reviews of the Chromebook Pro—tech reviewers received early samples back in February—there’s a lot to like, but some important negatives as well. The device isn’t powerful enough to run many Android apps effectively, and of course that platform is still a mess on Chromebook. The keyboard is regularly criticized for being mushy, and it is not backlit.

But I think the central premise of this device, and its Plus-branded stable mate, is solid. That it is an almost Pixel Chromebook-like level of quality for less than half the price is interesting. And of course, the advantages of a PC-based 2-in-1 apply in Chromebook land as well. In fact, you could make the argument that a Chromebook 2-in-1 makes even more sense than a PC-based 2-in-1 because the Chromebook can run Android apps in that tablet form factor.

Well, you could make that argument. I’m on the fence for now, as that ability, to date, has been only theoretically a strength. In the real world, it’s still an unknown. A buggy, inconsistent unknown.

So we’ll see. But if you’ve been waiting for the more powerful of the two Samsung Chromebooks to arrive, your time is here. Well, almost here. May 28 is still two weeks away.

Here’s what I’m going to do.

I knee-jerk pre-ordered this device last night when I found out it was available. But with Google I/O happening this week, I will pay close attention to what the firm announces and then revise that purchase as needed. I have long felt like I need to gain some experience with these Chromebook/Android hybrids, and this seems like it is possibly the best device on which to do so. But that could change.

Likewise, Apple is hosting its own developer show in June, and that firm is expected to belatedly announce a new set of iPad Pro hybrids (also originally expected back in March). That platform likewise presents a clear threat to Windows-based PCs, but as with the Chromebook/Android thing, I’ve stayed out it so far. Maybe the new generation device(s) will put this thing over the top. Hope springs eternal.

Note: Some of the links in this article are sponsored links.

 

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Samsung Chromebook Pro Finally Limps into Pre-Order”

  1. Simard57

    Are our expectations of Vendors too high? We pound them for not meeting deadlines - perhaps what they are doing is truly difficult and takes time to get it out. Deadlines are educated estimates and are easily missed due to technical challenges.


    There are complaints if they miss deadlines

    There are complaints if they meet deadlines with a less than stellar implementation


    Perhaps we just like complaining?

    • Vuppe

      In reply to Simard57:

      I think the problem is Google promised this like it was already done a year ago. That it was no big deal and everything is peachy. However, reality has not matched Google's promises. Android apps don't run well on Chomebooks and the whole process has been delayed multiple times.

      Had Google, a year ago, said "we're undertaking this challenging process to better serve our customers...we hope to have working examples by the end of this year" we'd be having a different conversation. One of "long awaited, much anticipated" rather than "this thing is finally here, even though it's not what they said."

  2. Simard57

    Copied from Premium side

    Are our expectations of Vendors too high? We pound them for not meeting deadlines - perhaps what they are doing is truly difficult and takes time to get it out. Deadlines are educated estimates and are easily missed due to technical challenges.


    There are complaints if they miss deadlines

    There are complaints if they meet deadlines with a less than stellar implementation


    Perhaps we just like complaining?


    • MikeGalos

      In reply to Simard57:

      I don't mind tech site complaining when a vendor misses a date the vendor published.

      What does drive me a bit nuts is when one columnist guesses a date or claims their "inside sources" told it to them, the others pile on as though it were announced and then when the vendor, who never mentioned that date, misses it, they all scream about how their manufactured date was missed.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Simard57:

      Well, the solution for vendors is to not announce new products until they are ready for production. Sometimes vendors announce early to try to discourage customers from buying competing products and in that case, if they are criticized for delivering late, it's fully justified.

  3. wright_is

    Giving "Chromebook Pro" in the Samsung site in Germany returns 2 colour laser printers and support articles for the Chromebook 3... Even the Plus isn't listed on the official Samsung site.

    Given that the previous ARM based Samsung Chromebook was the wrong side of $599, I expect that either it will never arrive or it will be way over priced.

    (Just checked Amazon, the Chromebook Plus isn't even listed.)

  4. Jorge Garcia

    If it ran windowed Android instead, it would be much more appealing to the average consumer. I expect this product to be running Samsung's own (much more elegant) DeX interface, eventually. ChromeOS was a mistake.

  5. nightmare99

    Is there really a market for premium chromebooks? I don't see Google launching a Pixel 2.

  6. Tony Barrett

    I think Paul's being very unfair here. Sure, it's later than expected (who's fault - Samsung? Google? Both?), but there's a lot of people very interested in this device. It could be a new dawning, who knows. I can tell you one thing, it's a lot cheaper than the Surface Laptop, and has the potential to be a lot more.

    I honestly just don't get the 'hype' over the Surface Laptop. It's just a laptop - nothing special really, and quite flawed in some areas. It's running a crippled version of the O/S certainly not designed with the user in mind. It just feels like MS are still throwing things against the wall too see what sticks - and this is yet another attempt. If MS actually created an O/S that does what people need and want, and not what MS needs and wants them to do, it might all be different. RT v2. End of.

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to Tony Barrett:

      Widows 10 S is a necessary wound that MS had no choice but to inflict unto itself. Windows cannot simply continue forever with the two-click away from disaster model so Exe's MUST die, sooner rather than later, if windows is ever to compete with consumer friendly OS like Android and iOS. Problem is, most of the reasons people buy Windows exist as .exe's only! No-win situation for them, and I feel zero pity for them as they are always late to the consumer party. Often with better ideas, but late.

      • Tony Barrett

        In reply to Jorge Garcia:

        I really understand what MS are trying to do, but in reality, with WM dead, the desktop isn't going anywhere either and MS knows that. They're trying to undo 30 years of history that's hanging round them now like a ball and chain. They'll go on about how much better UWP is and how more secure it is, but I just think the mountain they've set themselves up to climb is actually going to be their undoing. They can't attract developers no matter what they do, consumers have deserted the platform and Win10 is still miles and miles behind Win7 with growth slowing to a crawl. Now MS think they can target students with RTv2 in the hope the younger generation are more receptive to their app store and UWP and will drive adoption upwards from them. That requires schools to buy into the whole idea of moving *back* to Windows, which many of them left for Chromebooks, and I just can't see that happening. It's just too late.

        Don't forget either, the real reason is MS attempting to re-inforce their walled garden through lock-in and their generous 30% take on UWP sales through the store. Getting young people to buy in on that with Win10S, then in the hope they also start buying WM is a huge, very, very risky gamble.

  7. Mcgillivray

    "...and that firm is expected to belatedly announce a new set of iPad Pro hybrids (also originally expected back in March)"


    A company (Apple) that has never, ever suggested they are releasing this certain product, let alone exactly when they would release it - gets grilled because they missed a deadline? Whose deadline did they miss? Some rumour site? Some 'analyst'? Just find this a weird thing to throw into this article.

  8. SvenJ

    "and integrated passive stylus". That looks like a Samsung S-Pen like the ones they use on their Note phablets. Those use active Wacom technology. Is this one really no more than a pointy plastic stylus like old PPCs?

  9. Philotech Mueller

    I agree that Google has totally not delivered on Android on ChromeOS. But at least for me the reason's aren't at all clear. I mean, there are all kinds of Chromebooks which are already Android-enabled, i.e. some with ARM CPUs, some with Intel Atom-series and with Core-series. So in principle Android on ChromeOS should work (of course special features such as touchscreens may need special treatment). And with regard to the Samsung Chromebook, even the sister model does support Android. So exactly why the rollout is stuck now for so long remains a mystery.

    Apparently, Android on Intel-based CPUs seems to be more difficult because Android doesn't work that well on those devices (proven by several slow-as-molasses cheap Intel tablets I have and Paul's above quote that it didn't work well on the Pro). But that still only explains 10% of the delay.

    Just puzzled...

  10. Curtis Quick

    This looks like a winning form-factor. If it can truly run quality apps, like MS Office, with pen capabilities for drawing and handwriting it could well keep Windows out of the educational market. Personally, I would prefer to see Microsoft introduce multiple inexpensive, but capable, 2-in-1s from its vendors at the Shanghai event in two weeks. Only with demonstrably better capabilities and competing cost can Microsoft break back into significant market share in the educational market.

  11. Bats

    Another Paul Thurrott lie.

    Like I wrote his other post which he clearly...CLEARLY IGNORED, Android Apps are already ON Chromebooks. Therefore, his statement that "Google, which promised one year ago to bring the Android apps platform, along with the Google Play Store, to Chromebooks" is absolutely false.

    Let's not forget, Paul wrote more than a year ago that "Over 1 Million Android Apps Are Coming to Chrome OS … And to Windows." LOL....however, you are not going to hear a peep about that from him.

    A few Windows Weekly podcasts ago, Thurrott complained about the irresponsibility of tech journalists when it comes to news, when all along, he clearly has demonstrated to be among those people.

    I am comforted by the fact that the man is always wrong and always fails to deliver a proper analysis. What puzzles me is his continued and willful act to go down the same road that has led him nowhere.

    Like I said in the past, you can't trust Paul.This is a guy who BLASTED Android for so many years. Now, he's warming up to it? For years, Paul has been saying that Google harms their users. Now Paul is saying it's okay now? I don't get it...I just don't get it.

    My concern is that he will lead his readers to false information, which they do not deserve. His readers deserve to know that Android Apps are already on Chromebooks, as promised.

    • PincasX

      In reply to Bats:

      If this were a news site and Paul were a journalist you would have a point. You may notice that there is no published ethics and standars/practices here or on Petri. This is a blog and just editorial. You are attempting to journalistic standards to something that isn't journalism.

    • mjw149

      In reply to Bats:


      It's only in stable channel for a minority of Chromebooks, so it's at best debatable that it's arrived. And reviewers have made it clear that even when it works, it's a bit flaky.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to Bats:

      I said the same thing. My Chromebook Flip had Android apps since they announced they were available on day one.

      • skane2600

        In reply to Waethorn:

        Just to clarify, are you talking about official support or some sort of beta capability? Because the only thing that matters to the majority of people who own or consider owning a Chromebook is what it does "out of the box". It's not as if the target audience is sophisticated users. BTW, I'm not making a claim, I'm just asking a question.

  12. BizTechSherpa

    I have the Samsung chrome book plus and find it to be an excellent device. This is my fourth chrome book and I also use a Windows surface book and a MacBook air. This is a well-built, well designed piece of equipment. The chromebook part is mostly meh, and the android capabilities are fairly decent.


    My biggest complaint is that Microsoft office will not install on here from the Android app Store, it says that it is not a supported device. This used to work on chrome books with android support last year but Microsoft removed this at some point. It's quite frustrating because I can install from the APK and the apps work mostly except for a few small issues.

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