As the first post about my Chromebook challenge experience, I thought I’d take a look at what Chromebooks are actually like to use, from the perspective of a Mac user. The model that I’m using is the Samsung Series 5, and I’ve actually had it for a few months. When we were burgled earlier in the year, rather than replace my beloved stolen MacBook Air 11in, I decided to spend a whole lot less money on something that filled the same need for a small, reasonably light, “throw in your bag” occasional computer. I was also, of course, curious about ChromeOS and decided that I needed to know more about it.
While the Chromebook hasn’t been in use as my main machine, I’ve used it enough over the past few months to get an idea of its strengths and weaknesses, so it seems like a good place to start to talk about them. Continue reading
A while ago, I wrote a column for Tap on the differences between Apple and Google’s vision of “the cloud”, and (perhaps unsurprisingly) came down hard on the side of Apple’s. iCloud, as I saw it, was very much the more user-centred version.
The iPad and Chromebook represent two different views of the future of cloud computing. In one – the Chromebook – the applications as well as the data live in the cloud. In the other – the iPad – applications remain firmly on the desktop (or mobile), while the data floats wherever it needs to go.
Jason Perlow asks a pertinent question:
It’s important to note that if we had the Chrome browser on an Android tablet, why would we want a Chromebook? For the price of a Chromebook you could pick up an Android tablet with a keyboard that connects via dock or bluetooth. You would have the same functionality, plus the added capabilities of Android.
You would also have something running on a massively-less secure operating system, which is currently a prime target for malware authors.
I’m currently using a Chromebook as my main mobile machine, having had my beloved MacBook Air stolen. Using one is a culture shock, and it’s a profoundly different view of the world. But I’d much rather have it than a crappy Android tablet and some kind of hokey docking station (the keyboard on the Samsung is lovely).