Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Why I won't buy a Chromebook

Hi

Recently I visited Google's offices in London to talk about using Google Apps in business.  Whilst there I had a chance to play with a few Chromebooks.

If  you are not familiar with Chromebooks, they are laptops with an Operating System built around the Google Chrome browser.  It is primarily designed for use whilst "online" only.  This is not a complete representation as there are many apps in the Chrome web store which work offline like Gmail.

The OS is lightweight, quick to boot, fast and virus free Google claim (not sure I agree, any platform is vulnerable somehow).

http://www.google.co.uk/intl/en_uk/chrome/devices/#foreveryone-promo-hp-cb

I primarily use an iPad 2 at home for casual browsing and have an Asus laptop with Windows 8.1 for more strenuous tasks.  I could quite easily see myself using a Chromebook because most of my time is spent inside Chrome on the laptop anyway!

I saw a few different models at attractive prices including these

Samsung xe303
HP Chromebook 116

So I started to investigate what life might be like with a Chromebook and what I would miss.  After a little bit of investigation I decided to bail out of buying a Chromebook.....for now

These are the reasons why

Virgin Media TV anywhere - this is not supported.  I use it quite a lot, especially when I am watching football on BT sport.  This requires the activex version of the Adobe Flash player to be installed which is a no go.
Sky Go - I haven't got Sky, but if this worked I could have been persuaded to switch over.  Unfortunately it requires Silverlight to be installed which is a no go.
Skype - I use this to talk to various people.  Obviously Google want you to use Hangouts which is superior in many areas, but getting your friends to switch isn't the simplest task.
Citrix Receiver - There is no native Receiver plugin for Chromebook.  There used to be, but it was removed in favour of a HTML5 based receiver plugin.  Unfortunately this is reliant on Netscaler AG 10 and Storefront 2.1.  We don't have any immediate plans to upgrade our remote access platform just yet.

This is a large portion of the usage for my laptop.  There is bound to be other things which do not run on the Chromebook also.

So it is a no go...for now.  I really like the idea and feel that it is getting lots of traction in the market.  I see this as a great option for a non-techie person.  Can you imagine not having to worry about fixing your families virus ridden PCs?

What I do find strange is the split between Android and Chromebook.  Ideally you would like these platforms to be much more similar, especially given the hardware is similar.

Do you have a Chromebook?  What are your thoughts?