Would you buy a Chromebook over a Mac laptop? Chrome is here to stay! Android apps on Chrome! Windows fileshares on your Chromebook. People are embracing Chromebooks!
More and more people are making the big switch. When will you?
ZDNet – By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes – “Most of us are wasting money on overpowered, overpriced laptops because we’re sold on the idea that we need them. We don’t. And there’s a better-suited alternative – the Chromebook.
Over the years I’ve gone through a number of high-end laptops. Right now I’m typing this on a MacBook Pro with sixteen gigabytes of RAM, one terabyte of storage, an Intel Core i7 processor, and a high-pixel-density display. It’s a great system, but I’m also very aware of the fact that it’s a lot of power for what I do mostly, which is research and write.
Now, there are times when having that power comes in handy, I occasionally run Photoshop and other resource-demanding applications on it, but most of the time I’m only doing this because I can and there’s usually a perfectly good desktop system not far away that I’m choosing not to use.
I’m increasingly using it because it’s there, not because I need to.
If you’re the sort of person who uses their laptop to run something like Photoshop or Lightroom or something similar on a regular basis, then you can probably stop reading right now. You know what you’re doing and need the power that a full-blown laptop offers you. However, if you’re the sort of person who uses their laptop for browsing the web, working with word processor documents or spreadsheets, consuming content and the like, then choosing to make the switch to a Chromebook is not only gong to save you money, but it’s also going to make your life easier.
‘How’s that?’ I hear you ask.
Well, first off, backups are automatic, painless, and very reliable. And I’m not just talking about the data, but also all the settings. If your Chromebook is lost or stolen or breaks, you can buy a new one, log into it, and you’ve migrated to your new system.
Chromebooks are incredibly low maintenance. There’s no laborious uninstalling or defragging or optimizing to do. You fire it up, and it works. Most the updates are quietly applied in the background, and the average ntime from reboots to apply updates is about 10 seconds a month. Compared to how naggy and demanding of the user’s attention Windows PCs are — Macs are less demanding — moving to a Chromebook frees you up of all those hassles.
This is not an easy decision to make. There are some critical nuances you have to consider before you go one way or the other. In this article, we take a look at those factors.
There’s also no malware — and, by extension, antivirus applications — to worry about. All Chromebook extensions are safely sandboxed, all local data encrypted, and verified boot makes sure that nothing suspicious is loaded when the system boots up.
It’s weird when you first switch to a Chromebook because the experience feels so quiet and peaceful. You don’t get nags to upgrade to the latest operating system, or popups telling you that your antivirus has expired, or weird random error messages coming from nowhere.
You just get on with what you wanted to get on with in the first place. And if you want to be distracted by something, you get to choose your poison — a YouTube video, a cat GIF, or your favorite cartoon site — rather than allowing your laptop to spin the ‘operating system wheel of randomness.’
I’ll admit that at first this ‘not having to constantly hand-hold the system’ is a bit disconcerting. After all, I’ve been doing it for years, and it felt neglectful to not be tinkering with it, but after a while the anxiety wears off and you just use the system.
And then you come back to a Windows or OS X system, and it hits you just how noisy, distracting, stressful, and downright taxing these systems are. Owning a Chromebook is a bit like owning an iPad or Android tablet — the system itself feels invisible, allowing you to focus on the things you want to do.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that Android apps are coming to Chromebooks. Imagine that, being able to access the Google Play catalog from your Chromebook. This will bring a whole raft of apps to the Chromebook platform, and with it a whole new set of use cases.
And it’s not just Android apps that will work, but also Android Instant Apps, where you can run apps by just clicking on links. Pretty soon running apps on a Chromebook will be just as quick and easy as opening web pages.
And if your laptop is a work machine, and your company uses Google Apps, then your Chromebook can slide right into your workflow.
The Chromebook really is a capable device, and over the coming months it’s going to get a whole lot better.
If you’re in the market for a laptop, and you’re not the small number of people who need to have a portable workstation, then a Chromebook could be just what you need.”
This is a Google app, not third party, so it is fully supported!
PC World – By: Chris Hoffman – “Google just released a new Chrome OS application that allows Chromebooks to seamlessly access network file shares created by Windows PCs. This integrates network file shares directly into the Files app and the browser’s Save and Open dialogs.
Get the app from the Chrome Web Store
You can install the Network File Share for Chrome OS application from the Chrome Web Store. Developed by Google, this application incorporates the open-source Samba client used by Linux PCs and other devices to connect to Windows network shares. It can connect to any SMB-based server and supports Samba’s entire set of features. Google has published the application’s source code on GitHub.
This isn’t just a stand-alone application, either. It uses the File System Provider API to integrate directly into Chrome OS’s Files app and in file dialogs elsewhere in the operating system, so network servers live directly alongside Google Drive and the Downloads folder.
There was already a third-party File System for Windows application in the Chrome Web Store, but it has poor reviews and doesn’t seem very reliable. Google’s solution should be much more solid.
There are other file system providers, too
This is yet another useful application that takes advantage of the features Google added back in Chrome OS version 40. You can open the Files app on Chrome OS and select Add New Services to find more file system providers. Other available applications include those for integrating Dropbox, OneDrive, SFTP, and WebDAV file systems directly into Chrome OS’s Files app.
Unfortunately, service providers haven’t gone out of their way to support this feature—the Dropbox and OneDrive clients are third-party tools and weren’t created by Dropbox or Microsoft themselves.
The Network File Share provider, however, is particularly useful because network file shares don’t generally offer Web access. They’re also common in many businesses and schools. There was no real way to access these file shares on a Chrome OS before the file system provider API.”
How will Android Apps run on Chromebooks?
Also, at 16:00, check out the discussion of Chromebooks as a Cloud Client.
As I said before, rumors of Chrome’s death are greatly exaggerated! We will just get the best of both Chrome and Android!
VentureBeat – By: Emil Protalinski – “Rumors that Google would merge Android and Chrome OS, or even just outright kill Chrome OS, have been coming and going for years. At its I/O 2016 developer conference, the company finally unveiled its grand plan: Android and Chrome OS aren’t merging (yet?), but their best features, respectively, are being ported over.
Late last year, when the Android and Chrome OS merging rumor resurfaced once again, I said there was only one feature that Google needed to bring from Chrome OS to Android, and that’s exactly what happened. On the first day of I/O 2016, Google unveiled that Android N will feature seamless updates.
This news was a surprise — It wasn’t rumored, nor did it leak in advance — and a pleasant one at that, especially for this journalist. It’s not every day that a feature request you make in a fun op-ed ends up being announced just half a year later.
Google was very upfront about where the feature came from: The upcoming Android N functionality is ‘inspired by how Chromebooks apply updates.’ In short, devices running Android N or greater will be able to install system updates in the background. The next time you restart your new Android phone or tablet, it will boot up using the updated system image.
The other news we saw coming, and not just because it was rumored and leaked extensively, but simply due to the fact that Google promised it would happen. On the second day of I/O 2016, Google announced that Chrome OS was getting Android apps and games.
Even though this unveiling wasn’t a surprise, there were a lot of details that made it much bigger than it seemed at first glance. The whole Google Play store and the Android framework itself, not just the over 1.5 million apps and games, will be included in Chrome OS.
Let’s summarize. The most important feature in Android/Chrome OS is the app store/update system. Take it away, and you’re left with another easily replaceable mobile/computer OS. Instead, Google is bringing it to Chrome OS/Android.
Both features are coming later this year, and it’s certainly possible that key components will change. Still, we finally have a proper understanding of Google’s vision: Instead of merging Android and Chrome OS, or maybe before doing so, it’s bringing them closer together.
The two could still merge someday. In fact, by giving Android the dual partition system that Chrome OS uses, and by giving Chrome OS the Android framework, the two will start to resemble each other more and more.
In a few years, if Android becomes robust enough to work well on laptops, and the mobile Chrome browser becomes powerful enough, Chrome OS could become unnecessary. We’re a long way from such a point, but this year we’ll be closer to it than ever before.
Still, for now at least, Google was indeed telling the truth when it denied rumors and said that Chrome OS would live on alongside Android. Android and Chrome OS aren’t merging in 2016, but they certainly are converging.”