It's already tough times in the Microsoft world, with Windows 8/8.1 under fire and the impending update coming under recent scrutiny for being, well, a mess, to put it much more politely than my colleague Mark Wilson worded things. If a bad time could go to worse then that would be rival Chrome OS invading the market.
While we largely think of these devices as low-priced notebooks, actual desktops are also getting into the game. Now the Asus Chromebox has hit pre-order in the US on the Amazon website.
Today, at ZDNET, James Kendrick's commentary "Chromebooks and students: Long term trouble for Microsoft" adds to a growing meme. With a few schools deploying Chromebooks (emphasis few) and rumors Microsoft has slashed Windows licensing fees (remember unconfirmed), recurring theme "2014 is year of the Chromebook and Windows is in deep dodo because of it" isn't surprising. But just because bloggers say something's true often enough, doesn't make it that way. Twenty fourteen isn't year of the Chromebook, nor is its utility to the education market guaranteed.
That said, Kendrick makes some good points about why Chromebook appeals to students. I won't recap them. This isn't an aggregated synopsis. You can read his fine points. My post adds to them, from experience. I am a long-time Chromebook user.
According to reports, Microsoft is set to slash the price it charges OEMs for Windows 8.x. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to pick up a copy of the tiled OS for any cheaper, but it does mean significant savings for (some) PC builders.
At the moment, Microsoft charges all OEMs $50 per copy of Windows 8. The price cut will see this license figure reduced by 70 percent to $15 per copy. However, there is a caveat -- it will only apply to devices that will be sold for $250 or less at retail. In other words, Microsoft is hoping to kick start a run of lower-priced PCs, in an effort to compete with Chromebooks.
Actual, real-life meetings are just so passé! In fact I have hardly met up with any of the people I work with in person -- we are living in the digital age, man! But the likes of Skype and FaceTime show that there is still an interest, even a need, for virtual face-to-face time, and this is particularly true for businesses. Conference calls are easy to set up on the phone, but there are times when it really does help to see what’s going on at the other end. Today Google takes the wraps off its solution: Chromebox for meetings.
As you would expect from Google, and probably guess from the name, this is a box running ChromeOS. Powered by a 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor, there are four USB 3.0 ports as well as HDMI and DisplayPort++ connections, and network connectivity is provided by an Ethernet port as well as an 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi adaptor. Also provided is an HD camera, a mic and speaker combo, and a remote control.
Paying a bounty for vulnerabilities has become more commonplace. Last month, Google announced it was offering millions of dollars as a reward for Chrome OS vulnerability discoveries.
However, around the same time, rogue extensions began making waves in the Chrome community. Lately, it has become a popular problem, causing Chrome users to question the safety and security of Google's browser. Today, Google seems to have possibly recognized the severity of the problem, as the company will pay reward money for discovered vulnerabilities in both Chrome apps and extensions.
It is no secret that Microsoft is feeling threatened by Chromebooks and Chrome OS. A series of controversial ads which disparage the pair has already proved that. But when will the software giant stop playing the same old broken record that implies only Windows PCs are good enough to get real work done and Chromebooks are not?
Microsoft downplays Chromebooks due to their alleged inability to get "much done" without an Internet connection and without access to its own Office suite. This is the theme that Microsoft has used (and repeatedly abused before) to pitch Windows 8.1 in a new video advert. Seriously? How can a company that prides itself for its cloud services use those two arguments in 2014? Is that not the definition of hypocrisy?
The Chromebook platform is steadily growing and one of the latest arrivals in this market comes from Toshiba. The hardware maker unveiled its offering during the recent CES 2014 show in Las Vegas, but the notebook wasn’t available at the time of the reveal.
Now the Toshiba Chromebook is up for pre-order on Amazon for $279.99. The device boasts an Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 16 GB SSD for storage and 13.3-inch screen. The company promises nine hours of battery life.
If you aren't familiar with the saga, the HP Chromebook 11 was greeted with much fanfare, only to be pulled from the Google Play store thanks to an overheating charger. This charger saga garnered more attention than actual incidents.
Google announced a new charger to replace the faulty model, rolling out free replacements to those who purchased the little laptop. Now, with a new charger firmly in place, the Android maker has returned the device to its Play Store.
It's Consumer Electronics Show 2014 Day 0, and we have hands-on with new Acer and Toshiba Chromebooks -- and both share the same flaw: Yes, flaw. Not enough memory, like HP Chromebook 11, among other newer models. I know margins are tight on these things, but how much more costly really would be 4GB? I can say from absolute experience that 2GB simply isn't enough, particularly if the objective is Chromebook replacing Mac or Windows PC.
Shared memory takes a good chunk out of that 2GB, let alone Chrome running atop Linux. What are these manufacturers thinking? One foot in the Chrome OS outdoors, but rest of body inside Windows? Because Chromebook with 2GB of RAM, even running a Haswell processor, stretches to replace a Windows PC. Make that 4 gigs, and the experience can be as good or better. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, you can stop laughing now. I can hear you all the way down in San Diego.
While the percentage of incidents was rather low, Google was forced to pull the HP Chromebook 11 from the market due to an overheating charger. Since then, the company has come out with a replacement model, and has begun shipping them out to customers who were affected.
Though the notebook has not yet reappeared in the Play store, it has now gone back up for sale via Amazon. The device is once again listed as "in stock", selling for the $279 that it previously went for.
Besides girth, Oprah Winfrey and I have something else in common -- we both like to share our favorite things. At the end of every year, I like to reflect on some of my favorite tech products.
This was a very wild year for me as most of the things on my list changed the way I both interact with and think about computers. It contains both hardware and software. So, without further ado, please read on for my list.
Throughout the year, I work pretty darn hard -- I wear multiple hats. Because of this, I decided to spend the holidays in sunny Florida as a working vacation. Sadly, the airfare was a bit too expensive, so I decided to drive there from New York.
Unfortunately, the place at which I am staying does not have WiFi or Television -- a nerd's worst nightmare. As a tech-writer, I was going to have to think smart about which devices I would bring and which would stay home. You may be surprised by my choices.
Chrome OS is primarily a laptop-focused affair. In other words, most users of the platform utilize Chromebooks. Sure, there have been mini-desktops called Chromeboxes, but they have been few and far between.
This is problematic for some consumers interested in Google's Linux-based, web-dependent operating system. Believe it or not, there are people that still enjoy sitting at a desk with a large screen, keyboard and mouse; myself included. Today, LG announces it is filling the gap with Chromebase -- a Chrome OS all-in-one desktop computer.
As someone who has lived through a home fire, I am very anxious about it. Any time I smell a neighbor's fireplace, I will investigate. I am still haunted by the night that I lost all of my belongings -- standing barefoot in the street watching the brave firemen fight the blaze.
When Google stopped sales of the HP Chromebook 11 due to a faulty charger, I was faced with a major conundrum. I love using that computer, but now I was scared to charge it. Even though Google suggested charging it with any other microUSB charger, I was still too concerned to leave it charging unattended. Plus, when I did use a different charger, I got a warning message that the charger was underpowered and charging would take longer. Finally today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announces an official recall of the dangerous charger.
This is an oversimplification, but Chrome OS is a Linux distribution that serves one purpose -- to run the Chrome browser. Chrome apps then run within that browser. This enables the apps to run on any operating system that can run the Google browser. Essentially, Chrome OS can run from within another operating system by way of the browser.
Back in July, Google released Chrome launcher for Windows 7 and 8. This allows users to interface with the Chrome OS launcher from the Windows taskbar. Sadly, this was a Winows-only affair. Today, Google announces that it is bringing the Chrome launcher to Apple's OS X. In other words, Chrome OS and apps are invading Mac.