What Chrome OS Cannot Do

Last year before the release of the 1st generation Chromebook I wrote a guest post for Chrome Story, Why You Should Not Buy A Chromebook – 9 Reasons.  In that post I outlined the disadvantages of Chromebook from a user’s point of view.  Today, I found a review of the latest Samsung Chromebook by liliputing, with a section named “What Chrome OS can’t do”.  Here are the major points I got from this post:

  1. No internet, 2000 percent less useful
  2. Limited local storage
  3. Cannot run apps that have no web version (Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Stata, Final Cut Pro, Diablo III, Portal 2…)
  4. Not all hardware supported (e.g. printers)
  5. Only DisplayPort output, no VGA, HDMI, or DVI port

Samsung Chromebox and Chromebook

I cannot agree with everything said above.  Points 2 and 5 should be hardware limitations only.  And the “2000 percent less useful” claim seems to be exaggerated.  Nowadays if you have a smartphone without internet connection, you could probably enjoy around 40% to 50% of the power of the phone.  The figure may be even lower for Chrome OS, but with more and more offline support built into web apps (mainly Google Apps), I think Chrome OS is a nice computer with basic function when offline.

Point 3 is also irrelevant because Chrome OS is not designed for playing Diablo III, right?  Making such a statement is like complaining the lack of World of Warcraft on iPhone.  Remember Chrome OS is made for casual daily use or lightweight office use (in my opinion), we certainly shouldn’t expect to do everything on a Chrome OS device.

I do agree with liliputing’s final verdict about Chrome OS, “you can do many of those things better with a Chromebook if the web browser is your most important app“.  This simplicity of Chrome OS, the peace of mind thanks to auto-update and virus proof design and the responsiveness make Chrome OS an outstanding cloud OS.  No matter Chromebook or Chromebox, I believe Chrome OS device could make surfing the internet much more easier and funnier.  It is not an almighty machine but a handy and helpful tool for all internet animals.

 

Original review by liliputing

Chromebox Reviews Roundup – Who Should Buy It?

So Samsung Chromebox is released and hot-selling (being the best selling desktop computer in Amazon).  Do you like it?  Considering buying one?  Before you hit the buy button, let’s have a look at what people say about this little Chrome device:

Samsung Chromebox

Size and Look

  • 7.6 x 7.6 x 1.3 inches big, it can fit into any drawer unnoticed
  • Outer appearance and feel is not bad, but it’s not great. It has an “overly plasticly appearance” – GearWERKZ.net

 

Performance

  • Boots in 5 to 7 seconds, ready to surf the internet in about 10 seconds.  Probably only tablets could be faster.
  • “It’s very fast and very stable, and I never encountered a crash or slowdown…” – TheVerge.com
  • “The Chromebox handles 1080p video playback without hiccups or drama — watching YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu or Netflix is no longer a gamble… with 4GB of RAM it’s now possible to open a few dozen tabs before noticing any performance hit.” – Engadget.com

 

Software

  • Setting it up is easy, just connect to network via Wi-Fi or ethernet, use (or create) your Google account, and you are good to go
  • Multi-tasking is improved in this version of Chrome OS, putting windows side-by-side is great
  • Everything stored online, auto-update and virus-protection, this PC is virtually maintenance-free
  • Limited to using the apps in Chrome Web Store
  • It’s great for simple casual use.   “If you want to spend hours on productivity programs, video or picture editing for instance or constructing complicated office documents, then the Chromebox is probably not for you.” – TechRadar.com

 

Input/Output/Accessories

  • Using your own keyboard is OK, because you can map most keys of the keyboard to the Chrome OS specific keys, EXCEPT Caps Lock (according to theverge.com)
  • There are plenty of ports (6 USB ports!!!)
  • However, there is no VGA or HDMI port, so you need a separate DVI-to-HDMI cable to connect to your HDTV
  • It supports dual-display output, but right now it only mirrors the desktop to two displays
  • There is only 16GB flash storage on board, so if you want to use it as a media center, you may need an external harddisk
  • It recognizes many common webcams, however, USB-based microphones are currently not supported – CNET.com

 

Price

  • At $329.99, it’s more like a net-top, good for low-end use
  • Much cheaper than Apple’s Mac Mini (but of course, Mac Mini is more powerful)

 

So what’s the verdict?  Most reviewers thought that Chromebox is good for some simple and lightweight use.  Given it’s limited local storage and fair CPU speed, one should not expect to use it for heavy tasks.  It has the potential to be a home theater PC, but the lack of HDMI port and web-only user interface make it not the perfect choice (think Apple TV if you only want streaming media, and it’s much cheaper).  If you are looking for a device for light-weight web surfing in the living room, occasional document editing and watching online video in YouTube, Chromebox is something you may consider.
Samsung Series 3 Chromebox

Top 10 Posts of Cloud High Club in 2011

2011 was a terrific year.  I started this blog in March and wrote 368 posts, that is more than 1 post a day.  I just did a little data mining to find out the most popular blogposts in the last year.

Below are the top 10 blog posts in 2011:

  1. How to integrate Google Plus with Facebook and Twitter
  2. Start G+: Sync your posts in Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter, show FB and Twitter streams in Google+
  3. 10 popular Japanese anime Chrome themes, Metal Alchemist, Soul Eater, Bleach, One Piece…
  4. How to search Google Plus posts and profiles: a missing feature
  5. 15 essential Chrome add-ons for Google Plus beginners
  6. Who to follow on Google Plus? Expand your circles by adding recommended users!
  7. Complete guide to migration from Facebook to Google+, transfer your contacts, photos and videos
  8. 10 Awesome Game Themes for Chrome, Super Mario Bros, Angry Birds, Mega Man and more
  9. Chromebook vs Android Tablet: Does Touch UI Matter?
  10. Top 10 Google Chrome movie themes, Harry Potter, Transformer, Kung Fu Panda and more

I definitely think that 2011 was the “year of social network”.

 

2011: The Year of Social Network

Google Plus

6 out of the top 10 posts are related to social networks.  And the majority of them talks about Google Plus tips and tools.  This is certainly not an objective truth about the social network market shares, but more due to my personal preference of writing about Google’s services and products (Google+, Chromebook, Chrome).

2011 was not the first year when social networks are invented.  It is however the year when a major market player, Google+, was released and when different social networks received major changes to the user interface and features (e.g. Facebook and Twitter).  We internet users are so eager to share, making social sites the hottest market in the IT field.

The popularity of social sharing will definitely continue to grow in 2012.  If you count the time you spend on the internet, you would find that at least half (or mroe) of the time is spent on social sites.

 

You Like Chrome Themes?  I Give You More.

Megan Fox Google Chrome Theme

A little surprise is that 3 Chrome theme review posts got into the top 10.  I started introducing and reviewing Chrome themes to build a regular column on Sunday.  It turned out that people like giving their Chrome browser a new look once in a while.  An even greater surprise is that Japanese anime themes occupied position #3 on the top 10 list.  I was not aware of the fact that there are so many Japanese anime fans in the English world.

Chrome themes would definitely be a major topic that I’ll write more in 2012.  (BTW, the above is my favorite Chrome theme in 2011)

 

Mobile Internet Devices

Chrome OS Tablet Conceptual Design

#9 goes to Chromebook vs Android Tablet: Does Touch UI Matter?, a blog post that I compared my Chromebook and my 7″ tablet.  I am not sure how you people categorize these two kinds of machines, but I’ll take them as “mobile internet devices” (what an old school term by the way).  I said “internet” instead of “computer” because I believe most tablet uses surf the web and use apps to connect to the internet (Facebook, YouTube, emailing…).  Chromebook is certainly even more web-centric.

To me, the reason I use Chromebook and tablet is they are fast and direct routes to the internet.  Besides, they are lightweight and not power-demanding.  Unlike my Macbook that I have to charge the battery everyday, my Chromebook could last for a week given approximately the same usage.

Obviously all IT giants know about this, so Apple has already released iPad and produced the smallest Macbook Air (only 11″).  Google is said to have their own branded android tablet this year.  Amazon also has Kindle Fire that rocked the market.

 

Summary

Cloud High Club

This is a wrap up of what my readers liked the most in 2011.  I will be writing more about these topics in Cloud High Club.  Are you one of the “social-network-Chrome-theme-mobile-internet-device”-holic?

Cloud High Club 2012 Directions

Hello all!  Cloud High Club was started in March 2011, it is almost 10-month old now.  Writing on this blog has been enjoyable, I like sharing great web apps and Chromebook tips and news with everyone.  This would be my last blog post in 2011, let me take this opportunity to forecast the development of this blog in the coming year.

 

Chrome OS 101 Updated and Expanded

You heard me right.  I’m preparing an updated and expanded version of my Chrome OS 101: Beginner’s Guide to Chromebook FREE e-book.  6 months after the release of Chromebook, the Chrome OS of this computing device has received quite some changes.  I have spent the last couple of weeks to refine this e-book and add new contents (this is why you found less frequent updates to this blog lately, my apology).  This time I added some useful tips and selected web apps to make the e-book useful to not only Chromebook users but Chrome browser users as well.  I plan to release this updated e-book in early 2012.

Chrome OS 101 Updated and Expanded

 

More on Tutorials and Reviews (and Less on Breaking News)

This is a tough decision to make.  There are new web apps news everyday, Google is releasing Chrome and Chrome OS updates once in a while.  As a part-time blogger, I found it uneasy to keep my blog up-to-date everyday.  If you are a long-time follower of this blog, you should have noticed that I have been writing less news and more web app reviews and tutorials.

 

Guest Writing

I believe that sharing makes the community stronger.  In 2011 I have written a number of articles for some other blogs such as Chrome Story, Chrome OS Site and AppStorm.  I will be guest writing more for other blogs and web sites.  On the other hand, I also welcome other bloggers to sync their blog posts here (write to me if you are interested!).  I hope this blog could provide more and more useful information for cloud users.

 

Last of all, wish all readers a happy new year!

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