Saturday, August 10, 2013

Returned Chromebook.... again

Earlier in the year, I bought my wife a Chromebook that we then returned because Citrix did not work for her on the Chromebook. I didn't use it much so... I decided to give one a try when I found myself without a laptop last week.

But.. I returned it just now. Here's why:

  • Dreadfully slow.

    The $250 Samsung ARM-based Chromebook is very, very slow for Google's own web properties. I would be unable to type this blog post on that machine -- it cannot keep up with my typing within the Blogger window, or Gmail, or Google docs. Yes, I type faster than most folks but so do Google's developers.

    Probably the most damning thing is how badly this machine performs on G+. It's unusably slow. It's even worse than Facebook on the machine.

    Google: shipping Chromebooks that can't keep up with G+ seems like a lost cause given your goals on both fronts.
  • Chromecast support (lack of)

    Netflix, because it uses a specialized player on Chromebook, does not support Chromecast on the platform. This is a must-have given our newfound Chromecast dependence in the house.

    I have yet to understand Google's Chromecast strategy when it comes to Netflix. They shipped a version of the Netflix app that would freeze your phone and even after that only kinda-sorta works.They don't support Chromecasting Netflix from their own hardware (which is still the #1 laptop on Amazon, BTW).

    If the idea is "iterate on it", that doesn't work with consumer products. This is something that Steve Jobs understood well. Consumers want something that works as its supposed to out of the box.
I think the problem here for Google is one of dogfooding. I was around the Google campus a couple times recently and saw people using Chromebook Pixels and Macs. I didn't see people using the Samsung Chromebook.

A really good rule of thumb when shipping a product is not to ship something you wouldn't use yourself. I think this is where the Samsung Chromebook lies in Google's strategy. The hardware is nice though -- if it had an intel chip in it, that might have worked.

By the way, can IBM or Intel please save us from ARM already? C'mon guys. Get it together!

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