As we prepare to offer Chromebooks to schools and SMEs, our first unit has arrived. Never has setting up a new computing device been so simple. Once you power up, the OS walks you through connecting to your wireless network and downloading the latest Chrome OS updates.
Enter your Google Apps username and password, and you are up and running.
We are using the Samsung 5 WiFi edition. The keyboard is fine, but compact. Performance is superb as is screen, audio, and video quality (through the built-in camera). Boot up takes ~8 seconds and coming out of sleep is instant. A far cry from the coffee break required when returning from Standby on my Windows laptop.
I love it, but …. it does take some adjustment.
ChromeOS is an OS in a browser. There is no “closing” the browser to see your desktop. Your “desktop” is the new tab screen, with your applications listed in a logical order.
There is local storage, about 50GB, and the ability to use USB and SD cards for more space. The local storage is not like a traditional hard drive. There is no letter, it is simply accessed through the browser.
Google could make moving to Chromebooks easier with a few changes to Google Apps and Gmail in particular. When composing emails, Gmail has an “Attach File” link that assumes you are loading a file from local storage. I suggest that Gmail should also have a “Share Doc” link that lets you browse your Google Docs collections and select links to include/attach in the message. If I am moving to the cloud, make sharing content from the cloud the default.
Aside from that, I find the Chromebook more useful for working on the go than my iPad, as I prefer the Chrome browser interface to the mail, calendar, and ‘mini browser’ interfaces on the iPad.
Let me know what you think.