Tag Archive | "chromeos"

Windows Home, UWP at risk as Microsoft steps out of consumer phone market.

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Does the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and, ultimately, Windows Home have a future now that Microsoft are stopping development work on consumer phones? I think there’s a domino effect about to happen over the next 24 months that will see the consumer laptop market turn away from Windows Home and I don’t see a way that anyone can stop it. UWP is then left spreading awkwardly across gaming (Xbox) and business (PCs.)  UWP is at risk. Continuum too. Standing on the sideline is Chrome OS and the Google Play Store. I think it really is time-up for Windows in the consumer space.

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ASUS C200 Chromebook is a silent, stylish all-dayer. (Video)

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ASUS C200 Chromebook _24_

I’ve previously done work with ChromeOS and Chromebooks but this is the first time I’ve done a top-to-bottom, deep-dive analysis of a Chromebook. The two weeks of testing and analysis has just been published at Notebookcheck.net and the overview video is below.

The ASUS C200 is probably the most productive PC per $ that I’ve ever tested. It offers over 10 hours of battery life in some scenarios and along with that it’s got a good keyboard, it’s light (1.2KG) and it’s completely silent.  But it’s a Chromebook and it has its limitations. It’s also running on a low power Intel Baytrail-M platform so that has limits too.

Luckily the C200 is running a high-end Baytrail-M platform so performance isn’t a major issue for web browsing but when it gets to HTML5 applications there are some issues. Documents in Google Drive took a long time to load as did my large Google Play Music collection and even good old Tweetdeck.  These long loading times aren’t due to poor WiFi performance as the AC-capable module was strong throughout the test.

Good speakers mean you’ve got the potential for a good video experience and this 32GB model had enough space to load up a number of films. With 10 hours of offline video viewing available with one charge you’ll have no problem on a long-haul flight although it must be said that this non-IPS 1366×768 screen has limited viewing angles.

ASUS have done a good job with the C200. It’s not a direct competitor to the Acer C720 which  you would probably choose if you were more into web-based working. If you’re more into a casual web experience, the C200 is the Chromebook to buy.

It’s well-built and incredible value. $229 right now on Amazon. Looking forward to 2015 and a time when Android Runtime and local apps are starting to be ported over it could solve some of the issues  I listed in the full review. Here’s a summary of those Chromebook issues:

Chromebook issues: Skype, local storage, printing, Microsoft Office and other Windows (or OSX) productivity suites, offline applications, USB device support, network attached storage using SMB, NFS and DLNA,video format support, AC3 and DTS audio incompatibility, music player synchronization, Amazon Prime Video outside the USA.

Enjoy the video and the full review and if you have any questions, let me know.

Should We Pay Attention to Chromebooks?

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Should we, in the ultra-mobile computing sector, take any notice of Chromebooks? Of course we should. We should pay attention to Android, to IOS, Sailfish and Windows Phone too. Simple.

Here’s the long answer about why we need to pay attention to Chromebooks but first let me admit that I’ve only recently been inspired to take a closer look after MyDigitalSSD sent me an M.2 SATA drive and a Chromebook to do an upgrade on. I’ve done that upgrade and I’ll be dropping the Super Cache 2 into an Ultrabook to give it a performance test after writing this article. Thanks, MyDigitalSSD, for the opportunity, and the ‘heads-up’ on Chromebooks.

Acer C720 Chromebook Upgrde (10)

In terms of Ultra Mobile Computing, Chromebooks don’t fit-in. They require a constant connection to the Internet just to have access to personal files, for example and yet most don’t have 3G/4G/LTE. The Chrome OS is dull and limited. In terms of local applications and network flexibility there’s zero to get excited about. Ultra Mobile PCs are about having total computing flexibility with you 100% of the time and Chromebooks just don’t fit.

I don’t cover Chromebooks here and yet I watch the segment, just as I watch the IOS and Android space, very carefully. From day 1 actually (here’s the failed blog I started!) I listen to the GigaOm Chrome Show too. All of those OS segments have the potential to fill a particular mobile computing role.

Yeah, Chromebooks are dull. The UI is plain and simple, they don’t look good on the outside and they don’t look good on the inside. Most Chromebooks use cheap processors and cheap plastics to keep the price down. There’s an exception, yes, and that’s a good start.

Here’s something I wrote on Google Plus recently:

No NFC (I’m working in very different ways with my smartphone using tap and send), no always-connected standby (messaging notifications, reminders, low power music streaming), no way to access all my NAS content (a huge problem.) no DLNA (I often push to the living room big screen) and having used touch on Windows 8 for a year I miss that a lot. Having a Google-first experience like this is also somewhat worrying.

Changes are needed and luckily Google and others are putting their toes in the water. Touch and style is now being offered in some models and there’s no technical challenge for manufacturers in making a laptop thin, light, stylish and powerful;  We see that with Ultrabooks all the time.  Many of us use browsers, with touch, on 4,5,7,8, 9 and 10-inch screens too so there’s no reason to think that there’s a problem with the UI either. Chrometabs, anyone?

Chrombook Pixel

Chromebooks are quick to start, efficient, use a free operating system and don’t nag you with updates and patches every day. They have some security advantages. Chromebooks can be used in a two-screen desktop scenario and the ability to just move to another Chromebook (or Chrome browser instance) log-in and get to work is refreshing.  The Acer C720 has the fastest browser and web-apps, per dollar, that I’ve ever experienced. It’s also nice to think about the future of ChromeOS. Android app integration? Better HTML5 apps? Touch user interfaces? Always-On?

Smart hardware, built-in cellular connectivity, great designs, always-on, touch user interface and showcase software would certainly make me consider changing my working methods and that could happen, as long as we are prepared to pay more than $200 for it. Let’s watch this space carefully.

Google’s CR-48 Chrome OS Netbook on Video and in Photos

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IMG_3741We’ve got our hands on Google’s Chrome OS test hardware (you can apply for one yourself at http://www.google.com/chromeos/pilot-program.html). This netbook won’t ever be released to the public and is purely for testing Chrome OS, but it can give us a good idea of what to expect from future Chrome OS devices. Namely, a huge battery, 3G built-in, a somewhat altered keyboard from what you’re used to with Windows/Mac OSX, and not much more power than what’s necessary for basic web browsing. Jump over to Carrypad’s sister-site, UMPCPortal.com for an overview video and gallery.

No Chrome OS at Computex 2010?

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Lets wind back to June last year, the web was buzzing with the news that Google had announced it was releasing an operating system, well a browser that acts like one. The software architecture is simple Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel, its open source, lightweight  and Google intend to get to consumers in the second half of this year. When they announced the project 12 months ago Google stated “Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. inch

Now come to the present day and Computex 2010, the perfect theatre to show physical devices running your shiny new operating system, be them prototypes or final products and there are none?

To make matters worse, the news of Meego and demonstrations of the Tablet Experience user interface have left lasting impressions on not just me, but the likes of Joanna Stern of Engadget,

“We saw a lot of new technology demoed at Intel’s Computex keynote this afternoon, but the most impressive thing may have just been Meego running on a 10-inch Moorestown Quanta Redvale tablet. While the demo on stage was very brief, we caught up with some of the product managers right after the presser and convinced them to give us a peek at what is coming in 2011. To say we’re impressed with the “pre-alpha” version of the software is a huge understatement. inch

Acer’s president Gianfranco Lanci pointed out at Intel’s e21FORUM 2010 meeting that Acer will launch netbooks and tablet PCs that adopt Intel’s latest Atom processor and will also preload the MeeGo platform on them.

Its obvious that MeeGo and Chrome OS are fundamentally different but given today’s age of publicity, advertising and hype, Google could have really done with having something to show at Computex.

Why Google TV Interests Me

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The internet was abundant yesterday with news that Google had announced Android 2.2 or Froyo. Whilst a new version of Android with extra speed and flash support is certainly an exciting thing, for me it was over-shadowed by the news of Google TV.

I know, I know, why would another box to go under the TV and complicate the already muddy waters that are TV, cable, satellite, DVD, Blu-ray, etc get someone who loves innovative technology excited?

There are two reasons why;

Firstly at the heart of the Google TV set top box or new LCD is an Intel Atom processor. Intel have been making plenty of noise of late that the Atom can power Android, the operating system on which Google TV works and this has been the first real taste of this marriage which many have speculated about.

Secondly and more importantly, Google announced the full internet experience on your TV. Not Android’s standard mobile browser, the full internet experience including flash. To achieve this they will use Chrome.

Why is this significant? Just think about it, Android running Chrome, a full internet experience browser on an operating system that I think is going to be one of main two used in the emerging ‘smart’ devices market.

Chippy has posted his review today of the Compaq Airlife 100 ‘smart’ device (full specifications);

“The mobile operating systems are built with short-term use in mind and although they offer new and interesting features that you don’t get on your desktop, they don’t offer the full internet experience that we all expect. If you use the Airlife 100 as a traditional laptop, as one might expect from something that looks like a traditional laptop, you will run into issues inch

Imagine how the review would have gone if the Airlife 100 had Chrome, the several day battery life and instant on of Android and the full internet experience and browsing prowess of Chrome.

Will it happen? I don’t know and there is certainly no suggestion that Chrome will come with Android on these new bread of ‘smart’ devices. We also have to remember that Google announced its ChromeOS for this emerging market.

Shanzai.com looks at the MID operating systems choices

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mid1 The definition of a MID, a mobile internet device, changes with every person you ask but one thing remains constant. It’s aimed at the consumer and not the productive professional. That’s ultra mobile PC territory! Consumer devices require careful attention to ease-of-use and fun, dynamic software so the choice of operating system becomes just as important as the hardware it’s built on. Shanzai have a nice article up today that covers most of the options. I’d add Maemo to the list and remove any reference to Windows desktop operating systems but it makes interesting reading. At the moment it looks like the ARM/Android combination might take the lead in the 2010 market but as Moorestown and Moblin for handhelds feeds in, the choice might get tougher. One thing is certain in our mind though, if you can’t tailor and personalise your device with applications and widgets, it’s going to be a boring experience.

Shanzai.com – Operating systems for MIDs

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