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Many Chromebooks now run Android apps, so...

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#51 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 09:01 PM

Who needs Android/Chromium apps when there are plenty of Linux/Windows/iOS apps which perform much better, have much more features, and can run in parallel?

 

(Hint: people willing to sacrifice some performance / versatility for handheld / pocketable autonomous solutions; if you can't have your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) accessible any moment you might need it away from the couch - it's a waste). 

That's a long winded way to say, "NO, the Windows Laptop will not do the same things this Chromebook will do." 

 

As far as you hint.. that's a chuckle.  When I studied physics and engineering, we used slide rules and log tables. Computers took punch cards. Dumb terminals were still in the future.  I don't need more performance, even the slowest phone is plenty fast...   I want an easy to use and a uniform platform with uniform apps that run on all my devices... 

 

So far, I haven't found anything that really requires a more capable computer.  If I do, I'll do what I did before I retired, get one of the post docs in my research group to run it for me on the supercomputer that just across the canyon out my office window .. https://en.wikipedia...mputer_Center  

 

So far though, I haven't found anything that requires more than what my tablet can do.  :) 

 

The real advantage of this Chrome laptop is that it has a long battery life and will be very handy when I am at my dark site. Right now I am doing everything on a tablet, that makes for slow typing posts like this. Most months I spend 10-14 days out there, this seems like just the ticket.  It should be great for watching videos too.  

 

Jon



#52 jrbarnett

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 11:35 PM

Who needs Android/Chromium apps when there are plenty of Linux/Windows/iOS apps which perform much better, have much more features, and can run in parallel?

 

(Hint: people willing to sacrifice some performance / versatility for handheld / pocketable autonomous solutions; if you can't have your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) accessible any moment you might need it away from the couch - it's a waste). 

Hypothetically speaking, let's say that you're...

 

...someone who made the smartphone switch from iOS to Android about five years ago.  You noticed that almost every single mobile app you actually use is also available on Android, but that the paid apps available on each OS were considerably less expensive on Android.

 

At some point you add a nice Android tablet to gain a larger screen for visual media, again marveling at how your tablet cost less than half what the cheapest iPad would have set you back had you stayed on the iOS treadmill.  At some later point it dawns on you how a proper laptop - self supporting, with a nice larger than tablet, high resolution display, would be excellent for your Android apps, but alas no such beast exists.

 

Apple, however, hits on the same idea, and introduces an expensive new uber-iPad called the iPad Pro with a laptop sized screen that doesn't suck.  For a few hundred extra dollars you can add both a stylus and a keyboard, making it into an iOS laptop; about $1000 all-in for the big iPad Pro with the things necessary to make it into a laptop.

 

You patiently bide your time.  At some point you think about getting a cheap Windows laptop like an HP Stream.  At first blush, it doesn't seem like too bad a deal.  $200 gets you a 14" screen Windows laptop.  But then you notice that it is cheaply made plastic.  And that it sports really slow, unreliable eMMC storage.  And then you get an eyeful of the display.  Ugh.  Not even full HD, and really poor colors.  And then it dawns on you.  You can't make a decent quality $200 Windows system because once you pay for Microsoft's OS, there's nothing left to build any quality into the hardware.  No thanks.

 

You've also looked at chromebooks, but didn't really see the point.  Most of them were almost as low end in hardware spec as a low end Windows laptop, Chrome OS apps are limited and not very interesting.  You think to yourself "Geez, who not just converge Android and Chrome, bringing those millions of apps from the phone and small tablet to the larger screen and proper keyboard land of the Chromebook.  But alas, that isn't the case.

 

Until...you read about a new crop of Chromebooks made out of nice materials like metal and glass instead of cheap plastic like low end Windows PCs, and learn that the impetus for this new focus on Chromebooks is that Google and its open source contributors on the Chrome OS have updated Chrome OS to allow the hundreds of thousands of Android apps to be run on higher spec chromebooks.  Basically like an iPad Pro with Keyboard solution, but for 1/3 the cost.

 

Almost everything you use on my phone and most of the stuff you use daily in the office on your work-issued Windows laptop runs well on my $350, glass and metal, touch screen, super high resolution displayed, sub-2#, 10 hour battery life chromebook.  You're left with one thought - "brilliant".

 

whistling.gif

 

- Jim            


Edited by jrbarnett, 07 January 2018 - 11:39 PM.

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#53 halx

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 11:36 PM

 

Who needs Android/Chromium apps when there are plenty of Linux/Windows/iOS apps which perform much better, have much more features, and can run in parallel?
 
(Hint: people willing to sacrifice some performance / versatility for handheld / pocketable autonomous solutions; if you can't have your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) accessible any moment you might need it away from the couch - it's a waste).

That's a long winded way to say, "NO, the Windows Laptop will not do the same things this Chromebook will do."

 

Which things do you think a Windows laptop is lacking compared to that ASUS Chromebook? :)

 

... I want an easy to use and a uniform platform with uniform apps that run on all my devices...

That's a holy grail of every IT brand on the market. But such a thing is not happening still. Linux is closest, but it's already fragmenting and lagging behind under the pressure of its own development model. Android and Chromium are two different platforms for different hardware and different UX form-factor (handheld vs desktop/laptop). The fact it's capable of running some Android and some Linux is not about the uniform platform, it's about Intel dominating the hardware solutions. The rest is just a hackery (of the individual or corporate enthusiasts :) ). Chromebook is a very niche simplistic Internet device. I can't believe a person with such a demanding passion as Astronomy could be satisfied with anything like that (though I know you have PCs and Androids).

 

So far, I haven't found anything that really requires a more capable computer.  If I do, I'll do what I did before I retired, get one of the post docs in my research group to run it for me on the supercomputer that just across the canyon out my office window .. https://en.wikipedia...mputer_Center  

 

The PDA capabilities aren't just in the processing power. But also in the availability of SDKs (ready to roll software development kits making the development of advanced software a breeze), hardware drivers (including the graphics acceleration and mass storage), OS/firmware support for various input/output (including large/fast/extensible data storage file systems), the dedicated UI/UX fluidity and consistence: e.g. a modern Android smartphone screen resolution is QHD, better than most laptop screens, but try to draw a moderate complexity 3D model on an Android phone (no, the screen's physical dimensions aren't a big factor here)...  

 

So far though, I haven't found anything that requires more than what my tablet can do.  smile.gif

 

I have and plenty. Try for example to find a Chromium or Android app comparable to the trivial Adobe Photoshop. Or an astronomy app comparable to the SkyTools3. Or an app for AP or EAA. Not existent because of the above. If you ever get an interested in any - you will have to go and buy a laptop. My point is: I don't see why not now (same price, same screen, same battery life)?

 

The real advantage of this Chrome laptop is that it has a long battery life and will be very handy when I am at my dark site. Right now I am doing everything on a tablet, that makes for slow typing posts like this. Most months I spend 10-14 days out there, this seems like just the ticket.  It should be great for watching videos too.

That ASUS Chromebook provides barely 8 hours of typical runtime (10 hours is the max from the manufacturer specs). I can show you Win10 laptops which will work for 14-17 hours on a single charge. But at 10-14 days stay you will have to charge either anyway (unless you plan to use it mostly as a paperweight), so if I would be you, I'd rather spend these $500 for 300W of portable solar panels and a 1000-1500W/h powerbank. Laptops have better keyboards for typing posts. At the dark site, you better go with a lightweight handheld device and most importantly with the AMOLED screen one.



#54 jrbarnett

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 12:03 AM

 

Who needs Android/Chromium apps when there are plenty of Linux/Windows/iOS apps which perform much better, have much more features, and can run in parallel?

 

(Hint: people willing to sacrifice some performance / versatility for handheld / pocketable autonomous solutions; if you can't have your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) accessible any moment you might need it away from the couch - it's a waste). 

That's a long winded way to say, "NO, the Windows Laptop will not do the same things this Chromebook will do." 

 

As far as you hint.. that's a chuckle.  When I studied physics and engineering, we used slide rules and log tables. Computers took punch cards. Dumb terminals were still in the future.  I don't need more performance, even the slowest phone is plenty fast...   I want an easy to use and a uniform platform with uniform apps that run on all my devices... 

 

So far, I haven't found anything that really requires a more capable computer.  If I do, I'll do what I did before I retired, get one of the post docs in my research group to run it for me on the supercomputer that just across the canyon out my office window .. https://en.wikipedia...mputer_Center  

 

So far though, I haven't found anything that requires more than what my tablet can do.  smile.gif

 

The real advantage of this Chrome laptop is that it has a long battery life and will be very handy when I am at my dark site. Right now I am doing everything on a tablet, that makes for slow typing posts like this. Most months I spend 10-14 days out there, this seems like just the ticket.  It should be great for watching videos too.  

 

Jon

 

Jon, I don't know how big the battery is on the Intel-powered chromebooks, but one of the reasons I opted for the ARM based chromebook (Samsung Chromebook Plus) was that the low-draw Arm chip with a nice screen runs for about 10 hours with a 5000 mAh battery, not much bigger than a phone battery.

 

In the field solar charging a 5000 mAh battery is a piece of cake, making indefinite off the grid field use a realistic possibility.  I figured that though the Intel chips are a lot more powerful than the ARM chips in an instructions per clock cycle sense, Android is optimized for ARM and ARM chips make due with smaller batteries in general.

 

Things I wish the Chromebook Plus had include (1) top firing speakers and (2) a backlit keyboard.  I really like the looks of that Asus you're using.  More solid build than the Chromebook Plus, backlit keyboard, but I suspect it has (and needs) a bigger battery.

 

So far I am enjoying the heck out of Android on Chromebook.

 

Best,

 

Jim


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#55 jrbarnett

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 12:23 AM

 

 

Who needs Android/Chromium apps when there are plenty of Linux/Windows/iOS apps which perform much better, have much more features, and can run in parallel?
 
(Hint: people willing to sacrifice some performance / versatility for handheld / pocketable autonomous solutions; if you can't have your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) accessible any moment you might need it away from the couch - it's a waste).

That's a long winded way to say, "NO, the Windows Laptop will not do the same things this Chromebook will do."

 

Which things do you think a Windows laptop is lacking compared to that ASUS Chromebook? smile.gif

 

... I want an easy to use and a uniform platform with uniform apps that run on all my devices...

That's a holy grail of every IT brand on the market. But such a thing is not happening still. Linux is closest, but it's already fragmenting and lagging behind under the pressure of its own development model. Android and Chromium are two different platforms for different hardware and different UX form-factor (handheld vs desktop/laptop). The fact it's capable of running some Android and some Linux is not about the uniform platform, it's about Intel dominating the hardware solutions. The rest is just a hackery (of the individual or corporate enthusiasts smile.gif ). Chromebook is a very niche simplistic Internet device. I can't believe a person with such a demanding passion as Astronomy could be satisfied with anything like that (though I know you have PCs and Androids).

 

So far, I haven't found anything that really requires a more capable computer.  If I do, I'll do what I did before I retired, get one of the post docs in my research group to run it for me on the supercomputer that just across the canyon out my office window .. https://en.wikipedia...mputer_Center  

 

The PDA capabilities aren't just in the processing power. But also in the availability of SDKs (ready to roll software development kits making the development of advanced software a breeze), hardware drivers (including the graphics acceleration and mass storage), OS/firmware support for various input/output (including large/fast/extensible data storage file systems), the dedicated UI/UX fluidity and consistence: e.g. a modern Android smartphone screen resolution is QHD, better than most laptop screens, but try to draw a moderate complexity 3D model on an Android phone (no, the screen's physical dimensions aren't a big factor here)...  

 

So far though, I haven't found anything that requires more than what my tablet can do.  smile.gif

 

I have and plenty. Try for example to find a Chromium or Android app comparable to the trivial Adobe Photoshop. Or an astronomy app comparable to the SkyTools3. Or an app for AP or EAA. Not existent because of the above. If you ever get an interested in any - you will have to go and buy a laptop. My point is: I don't see why not now (same price, same screen, same battery life)?

 

The real advantage of this Chrome laptop is that it has a long battery life and will be very handy when I am at my dark site. Right now I am doing everything on a tablet, that makes for slow typing posts like this. Most months I spend 10-14 days out there, this seems like just the ticket.  It should be great for watching videos too.

That ASUS Chromebook provides barely 8 hours of typical runtime (10 hours is the max from the manufacturer specs). I can show you Win10 laptops which will work for 14-17 hours on a single charge. But at 10-14 days stay you will have to charge either anyway (unless you plan to use it mostly as a paperweight), so if I would be you, I'd rather spend these $500 for 300W of portable solar panels and a 1000-1500W/h powerbank. Laptops have better keyboards for typing posts. At the dark site, you better go with a lightweight handheld device and most importantly with the AMOLED screen one.

 

Actually I can recharge my ARM based chromebook (which gets about 9 hours in active use with screen reasonably bright (and not a 768p low end windows laptop screen either but rather a 400 nit 2400 x 1600 display) with a single 15W amorphous solar panel and charge regulator (total cost about $50) indefinitely in the field.  The battery isn't much bigger than a smartphone battery.

 

The new generation of Chromebooks with 360-degree hinges replace tablets for field use.  You can fold the keyboard back and use it as a tablet.  You can set it up in tent mode and use the touch screen.  You can use it as a self-standing laptop too.  It's actually perfect for long term field use, unlike a monster Windows laptop with a 14-17 hour battery life which would require a ridiculously expensive and elaborate solar charging system to use indefinitely.

 

Workstation class laptops are great - when you have a place to plug in.  But they are heavy and inefficient and expensive.  Things that these new Android-capable chromebooks are not.

 

Best,

 

Jim



#56 halx

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 08:41 PM

I have the workstation grade notebook. It's $2800 before S/H/T But I also have a decent Lenovo notebook for $500 refurbished which runs CAD (Solidworks) as smoothly as that 2800 one (on 1080p screen, quadcore i7 with 8G RAM and 256G SSD). My point is that there is no good reason to go with the handicapped Chromebook. I have a big doubt you could recharge it to 100% with a 15W panel throughout the day time (that might be indeed the only reason to mess with it, though I would prefer a smartphone instead then).



#57 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 09:28 PM

Which things do you think a Windows laptop is lacking compared to that ASUS Chromebook?

 

 

It won't run Android apps smoothly.

 

I have and plenty. Try for example to find a Chromium or Android app comparable to the trivial Adobe Photoshop.

 

This is not about you.  This is about me and my needs, my requirements.  Clearly the Chromebook is not your choice of platforms and as far as I can see, no one has suggested it should be, no one is trying to convince you to switch to a Chromebook. 

 

But from everything I see, from my current choices in programs and apps, just about everything I use and need is available for Android and these days, I do very little on my Windows desktop other than surfing the net and running a few legacy apps. 

 

I am grateful to both Jim for initiating this thread and to Nick who was so kind in giving me the Asus 302C Chromebook. This Chromebook and I seem to be made for each other.. Hopefully you can understand that and accept it and we can get on with more important things.

 

Jon Isaacs


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#58 halx

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 03:34 PM

Good luck with your new toy, Jon. I respect your personal choice. Just don't generalize it. My goal is to explain those not sure if they are "Chromebook compatible" that $500 spent for a Windows/Mac notebook is an order of magnitude smarter decision on a budget insufficient for maintaining a personal Astro ranch.



#59 karstenkoch

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 10:22 PM

Astro ranch ... that the dressing they use on the ISS?



#60 nicknacknock

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:18 AM

Good luck with your new toy, Jon. I respect your personal choice. Just don't generalize it. My goal is to explain those not sure if they are "Chromebook compatible" that $500 spent for a Windows/Mac notebook is an order of magnitude smarter decision on a budget insufficient for maintaining a personal Astro ranch.

 

Trying to see where Jon generalized it! He said and I quote:

 

"This is not about you.  This is about me and my needs, my requirements.  Clearly the Chromebook is not your choice of platforms and as far as I can see, no one has suggested it should be, no one is trying to convince you to switch to a Chromebook."

 

Doesn't get any more specific and personal to his own needs lol.gif

 

All OS and hardware platforms have their place - it's up to the user to educate themselves and pick the best for their personal circumstances...


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#61 halx

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 03:23 PM

When Jon's saying "I have exactly zero use for a Windows laptop" 100500 followers are rushing to burn theirs... bow.gif


Edited by halx, 12 January 2018 - 03:23 PM.


#62 Crow Haven

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:20 PM

 

Which things do you think a Windows laptop is lacking compared to that ASUS Chromebook?

 

 

It won't run Android apps smoothly.

 

I have and plenty. Try for example to find a Chromium or Android app comparable to the trivial Adobe Photoshop.

 

This is not about you.  This is about me and my needs, my requirements.  Clearly the Chromebook is not your choice of platforms and as far as I can see, no one has suggested it should be, no one is trying to convince you to switch to a Chromebook. 

 

But from everything I see, from my current choices in programs and apps, just about everything I use and need is available for Android and these days, I do very little on my Windows desktop other than surfing the net and running a few legacy apps. 

 

I am grateful to both Jim for initiating this thread and to Nick who was so kind in giving me the Asus 302C Chromebook. This Chromebook and I seem to be made for each other.. Hopefully you can understand that and accept it and we can get on with more important things.

 

Jon Isaacs

 

Enjoy that Asus 302C Chromebook, Jon!  waytogo.gif I bought one just like it several months ago (for only one purpose) while I use Linux for everything else.  It's really a fun little thing! grin.gif


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#63 nicknacknock

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 06:12 PM

When Jon's saying "I have exactly zero use for a Windows laptop" 100500 followers are rushing to burn theirs... bow.gif

@ Jon,

 

Time to start a cult with so many followers! lol.gif

 

@ Halx,

 

I completely get some of your points. Of course a Chrome / Android laptop does not have all the features of a full fledged operating system.

 

However, it can be close enough to suit a lot of people who do not require the full power and gamut of options available in Windows / Mac / Linux. 


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#64 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:39 PM

Good luck with your new toy, Jon. I respect your personal choice. Just don't generalize it. My goal is to explain those not sure if they are "Chromebook compatible" that $500 spent for a Windows/Mac notebook is an order of magnitude smarter decision on a budget insufficient for maintaining a personal Astro ranch.

 

I never generalized it.  I owned it.  This thread is about Chromebooks that run Android.. 

 

As far as sharing your opinion that a Windows machine is a better choice,  that's for the individual reading this thread to determine.  For some a Windows machine might be the better choice,  for some,  probably not. I trust others to decide whether it's the right decision for their own situation..  

 

Jon


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#65 turtle86

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:07 AM

 

Who needs Android/Chromium apps when there are plenty of Linux/Windows/iOS apps which perform much better, have much more features, and can run in parallel?

 

(Hint: people willing to sacrifice some performance / versatility for handheld / pocketable autonomous solutions; if you can't have your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) accessible any moment you might need it away from the couch - it's a waste). 

Hypothetically speaking, let's say that you're...

 

...someone who made the smartphone switch from iOS to Android about five years ago.  You noticed that almost every single mobile app you actually use is also available on Android, but that the paid apps available on each OS were considerably less expensive on Android.

 

At some point you add a nice Android tablet to gain a larger screen for visual media, again marveling at how your tablet cost less than half what the cheapest iPad would have set you back had you stayed on the iOS treadmill.  At some later point it dawns on you how a proper laptop - self supporting, with a nice larger than tablet, high resolution display, would be excellent for your Android apps, but alas no such beast exists.

 

Apple, however, hits on the same idea, and introduces an expensive new uber-iPad called the iPad Pro with a laptop sized screen that doesn't suck.  For a few hundred extra dollars you can add both a stylus and a keyboard, making it into an iOS laptop; about $1000 all-in for the big iPad Pro with the things necessary to make it into a laptop.

 

You patiently bide your time.  At some point you think about getting a cheap Windows laptop like an HP Stream.  At first blush, it doesn't seem like too bad a deal.  $200 gets you a 14" screen Windows laptop.  But then you notice that it is cheaply made plastic.  And that it sports really slow, unreliable eMMC storage.  And then you get an eyeful of the display.  Ugh.  Not even full HD, and really poor colors.  And then it dawns on you.  You can't make a decent quality $200 Windows system because once you pay for Microsoft's OS, there's nothing left to build any quality into the hardware.  No thanks.

 

You've also looked at chromebooks, but didn't really see the point.  Most of them were almost as low end in hardware spec as a low end Windows laptop, Chrome OS apps are limited and not very interesting.  You think to yourself "Geez, who not just converge Android and Chrome, bringing those millions of apps from the phone and small tablet to the larger screen and proper keyboard land of the Chromebook.  But alas, that isn't the case.

 

Until...you read about a new crop of Chromebooks made out of nice materials like metal and glass instead of cheap plastic like low end Windows PCs, and learn that the impetus for this new focus on Chromebooks is that Google and its open source contributors on the Chrome OS have updated Chrome OS to allow the hundreds of thousands of Android apps to be run on higher spec chromebooks.  Basically like an iPad Pro with Keyboard solution, but for 1/3 the cost.

 

Almost everything you use on my phone and most of the stuff you use daily in the office on your work-issued Windows laptop runs well on my $350, glass and metal, touch screen, super high resolution displayed, sub-2#, 10 hour battery life chromebook.  You're left with one thought - "brilliant".

 

whistling.gif

 

- Jim            

 

Sure sounds promising to me.  I really don’t want to take my Macbook Pro out into the field, but the cheap plastic Windows laptops don’t cut it for me either.  I took pass on the earlier Chromebooks, and wound up going with an iPad mini retina for field use, with I got refurbished from Apple for about $200. It’s a pleasure to use, especially with Ski Safari Pro, but it’s still a tablet with the limitations that come with one.  The new Chromebooks just might be the ticket—decent quality and functionality but without the big price tag.


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#66 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:18 AM

 

When Jon's saying "I have exactly zero use for a Windows laptop" 100500 followers are rushing to burn theirs... bow.gif

@ Jon,

 

Time to start a cult with so many followers! lol.gif

 

@ Halx,

 

I completely get some of your points. Of course a Chrome / Android laptop does not have all the features of a full fledged operating system.

 

However, it can be close enough to suit a lot of people who do not require the full power and gamut of options available in Windows / Mac / Linux. 

 

In ten years Windows and Mac OS will be dead platforms for client systems.

 

As cloud computing power increases and mobile device power and efficiency increase, we'll enter an age where anyone developing applications for heavy client OSes will be looking for work or learning to develop apps for mobile platforms and/or supercomputing architectures.

 

Folks making the transition now (the early adopters) are just ahead of the curve.  In a decade our laptops and phones and tablets will all run a converged operating systems, and heavy lifting like rendering won't happen on workstations but rather instead will happen in the cloud.  I'm already seeing this trend in the media and entertainment industry.

 

Fat clients with fat clients OSes will become marginalized devices for the developing world where cloud access isn't a given.

 

That's the bet big software companies are making right now.  Many little software companies either (a) don't see it coming or (b) see it coming but don't have the resources to adapt.  Wanna make some money in the market?  Figure out which software companies are re-architecting now for a near term cloud future.  Those will be the ones that survive into the next decade.

 

Playing the cloud transformation investment game in my own portfolio for the last six years has been extremely successful.

 

Best,

 

Jim 


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#67 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:24 AM

 

 

Who needs Android/Chromium apps when there are plenty of Linux/Windows/iOS apps which perform much better, have much more features, and can run in parallel?

 

(Hint: people willing to sacrifice some performance / versatility for handheld / pocketable autonomous solutions; if you can't have your PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) accessible any moment you might need it away from the couch - it's a waste). 

Hypothetically speaking, let's say that you're...

 

...someone who made the smartphone switch from iOS to Android about five years ago.  You noticed that almost every single mobile app you actually use is also available on Android, but that the paid apps available on each OS were considerably less expensive on Android.

 

At some point you add a nice Android tablet to gain a larger screen for visual media, again marveling at how your tablet cost less than half what the cheapest iPad would have set you back had you stayed on the iOS treadmill.  At some later point it dawns on you how a proper laptop - self supporting, with a nice larger than tablet, high resolution display, would be excellent for your Android apps, but alas no such beast exists.

 

Apple, however, hits on the same idea, and introduces an expensive new uber-iPad called the iPad Pro with a laptop sized screen that doesn't suck.  For a few hundred extra dollars you can add both a stylus and a keyboard, making it into an iOS laptop; about $1000 all-in for the big iPad Pro with the things necessary to make it into a laptop.

 

You patiently bide your time.  At some point you think about getting a cheap Windows laptop like an HP Stream.  At first blush, it doesn't seem like too bad a deal.  $200 gets you a 14" screen Windows laptop.  But then you notice that it is cheaply made plastic.  And that it sports really slow, unreliable eMMC storage.  And then you get an eyeful of the display.  Ugh.  Not even full HD, and really poor colors.  And then it dawns on you.  You can't make a decent quality $200 Windows system because once you pay for Microsoft's OS, there's nothing left to build any quality into the hardware.  No thanks.

 

You've also looked at chromebooks, but didn't really see the point.  Most of them were almost as low end in hardware spec as a low end Windows laptop, Chrome OS apps are limited and not very interesting.  You think to yourself "Geez, who not just converge Android and Chrome, bringing those millions of apps from the phone and small tablet to the larger screen and proper keyboard land of the Chromebook.  But alas, that isn't the case.

 

Until...you read about a new crop of Chromebooks made out of nice materials like metal and glass instead of cheap plastic like low end Windows PCs, and learn that the impetus for this new focus on Chromebooks is that Google and its open source contributors on the Chrome OS have updated Chrome OS to allow the hundreds of thousands of Android apps to be run on higher spec chromebooks.  Basically like an iPad Pro with Keyboard solution, but for 1/3 the cost.

 

Almost everything you use on my phone and most of the stuff you use daily in the office on your work-issued Windows laptop runs well on my $350, glass and metal, touch screen, super high resolution displayed, sub-2#, 10 hour battery life chromebook.  You're left with one thought - "brilliant".

 

whistling.gif

 

- Jim            

 

Sure sounds promising to me.  I really don’t want to take my Macbook Pro out into the field, but the cheap plastic Windows laptops don’t cut it for me either.  I took pass on the earlier Chromebooks, and wound up going with an iPad mini retina for field use, with I got refurbished from Apple for about $200. It’s a pleasure to use, especially with Ski Safari Pro, but it’s still a tablet with the limitations that come with one.  The new Chromebooks just might be the ticket—decent quality and functionality but without the big price tag.

 

Rob, I haven't yet tested the Chrome/Android Sky Safari app with the latest Android-supporting Sky Fi hub.

 

http://www.skysafari...pe-control.html

 

Compatibility there, without rooting a device, or Sky Wire compatibility (unlike a phone or tablet, Chromebook have laptop-like ports and could easily use cables) would seal the deal.

 

The other drawback of chromebook for Sky Safari is the unreddened quick launch bar along the bottom of the screen.  I haven't figured out whether I can hide that bar, but that means unlike an iPad when I use the Chromebook in the field, I need red screen film to preserve dark adaptation.

 

Best,

 

Jim



#68 nicknacknock

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 01:21 PM

Jim,

 

Try this.



#69 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 01:28 PM

Out of curiosity, are there *any* Windows laptops that satisfy the following conditions?

 

+ Gorilla glass rather than film display surface

+ Quad-HD display resolution

+ 400 nit brightness screen

+ Sub-$400 street price

+ All metal rather than plastic body

+ 12" or larger display

+ touchscreen display

 

Figure $60 comes right off the top for a Windows license in the COG of any Windows laptop.  That puts any possible Windows laptop build ~$60 in the hole as compared to alternatives using free OSes.  I think it is hard to build anything but crummy hardware if you want both a low price (sub-$400) and the Windows OS.

 

The only device I have that comes close to these specs is a Surface 3 tablet with keyboard.  It fails in a couple of the above criteria though.

 

First, the display is only 10.8", but it is glass.

Second, when you add the keyboard, the price goes well over the $400 mark

Third, the display resolution, while decent, is NOT Quad-HD.

 

What you get, though, is a tablet-laptop hybrid in all glass and metal with real Windows 10 and an (optional $130 keyboard; note that you can get a very good 11.6" Samsung Chromebook 3, complete, for about $160 - approximately the cost of the Microsoft keyboard cover), for laptop replacement use.  All in you're looking at $480 street price for a lowly spec'ed model.  The other "neg" is that unlike laptops which can be supported by the keyboard, this is a flimsy plastic keyboard that does not support the tablet, meaning you really can't use it on your lap as a laptop.  :thinking:

 

So when used as a portal to the digital cyberverse, you'll get a better quality laptop access point (better, larger visual experience, better tactile interaction, etc.) with a new generation Chromebook than even the best built low end Windows laptops.  That, after all, was the original vision of the Chromebook - affordable and pleasing access to the internet.  Adding mobile app capability merely sweetens the deal.

 

Microsoft was terrified of Chromebooks when they first launched.  So much so that they concocted a gutted version of Windows OS specifically intended for devices called Windows RT.  The idea was to defend against ChromeOS and mobile OSes with an OS that cost manufacturers less to license, but likewise didn't cannibalize its higher end client OS near monopoly by being unable to run most business-y windows apps.  It was an epic failure; a disaster in fact, and inevitably Microsoft's OS license revenue will start to suffer as mobile OSes enter the business application laptop space.

 

Microsoft has switched gears, porting its office apps to third party mobile OSes.  Intel, too, sees where the long game in going and is scrambling to diversify OUT of client CPUs.  It's own mobile device chip business, like Windows RT, has been an epic disaster - not even close to the performance levels of Qualcomm, Apple, Samsung and other phone CPUs.  Intel is now building its line of defense in the data center (i.e., powering the Cloud rather than relying on putting chips in client devices).  GPU maker, nVidia, is becoming Intel's greatest data-center threat.  For many Cloud workloads GPU architecture is more optimal than x86 CPU architecture.

 

The direction of technology says that the old world is dying and the main monopolists in that old world are behaving in a manner that says they concur that the old world is dying.  I wouldn't get too attached to that old world, personally.  :grin:

 

Best,

 

Jim  


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#70 turtle86

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 04:03 PM

Rob, I haven't yet tested the Chrome/Android Sky Safari app with the latest Android-supporting Sky Fi hub.

 

http://www.skysafari...pe-control.html

 

Compatibility there, without rooting a device, or Sky Wire compatibility (unlike a phone or tablet, Chromebook have laptop-like ports and could easily use cables) would seal the deal.

 

The other drawback of chromebook for Sky Safari is the unreddened quick launch bar along the bottom of the screen.  I haven't figured out whether I can hide that bar, but that means unlike an iPad when I use the Chromebook in the field, I need red screen film to preserve dark adaptation.

 

Best,

 

Jim

 

 

Thanks, Jim.  Even if SS and Chromebook together turn out to be less than a perfect marriage, the new Chromebooks at their price point still look like a nice alternative to consider.



#71 jrbarnett

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:23 AM

Here's an update - all Chromebooks have a function called "immersive full screen mode".  It can be launched in a number of ways.  Easiest is shift + F4 (or in my case a key in the F4 position that has a screen icon).  This hides the lower nav bar and allows SS red screen to cover all of the screen real  estate.  Awesome.

 

:)

 

Best,

 

Jim


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#72 halx

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 05:12 PM

Jim.

 

First of all, for us, astronomers relying on the Cloud means the light polluted sky. Where I'm observing there is no Internet.

 

The Cloud. Migration to the Cloud is not happening as happily as you are projecting based on your stocks luck. For example, millions of gamers want more VR than any ARM CPU based hardware could provide so far, even consoles, which are gaming dedicated aren't close to the PC platform. These consumers will never get into the cloud because of the enormous bandwidth required for RTVR, which is physically limited by the speed of light. Companies you see settled in the cloud (like the mentioned media industry rendering) is just after cutting the cost and improving the profit from tasks which can be done in parallel or/and scalable. That doesn't work for an individual consumer. The old word of consumerism is still kicking. Cloud is just a marketing gag. We had cloud already in 70-es (mainframes) the modern difference is subtle. But the industry demands are more challenging (that VR is coming into everything as it's always cheaper and easier to perform a virtual experiment than even plan a real one; It's like the old joke: "The sum of intelligence on the planet is constant, but the population grows").

 

Quite contrary, the processing power of personal PDAs is growing. Whatever you had as your average desktop PC a decade ago (when the cloud boom roughly started) is now in your pocket. Besides, you aren't using Chromium cloud apps on your chromebook, you want android apps instead, which are not in the cloud.

 

Regarding the PDA specifications.
- QHD on a smallish screen is a marketing gag. You can't physically see the difference. We, astronomers, know optics. The 1 arcminute spatial resolution of the eye corresponds to 1080p 5" screen at 1' but that's for a very good eye. 10" will look almost identical that close.

- The large screen size is needed either for hyperopia eyes (to hold the screen farter than 1' typical for hanheld use) or to read paper documents with large images/diagrams. I understand, many folks came to using digital star charts from bed-sheet-like ones, and the habit is tough to overcome. But in reality, the star chart in the small window is much better at the telescope as it replicates the eyepiece FOV (main or viewfinder's). The naked eye sky is just ~1000 "navigation" stars which are easy enough to memorize as you go.
- Gorilla glass is a marketing gag. It will shatter on impact (though the stored in it energy will compensate for that and the actual screen will survive, making the glass replacement cheap compared to replacing the entire screen module). That's not a feature improving the field use for astronomy applications.

- Keyboard? You can't see it at night anyway. The backlit keyboard will ruin your dark adaptation (and hard to cover with the red film smile.gif ). All modern laptop keyboards are a marketing gag targeting the "ultraslim" laptop profile to compete with tablets, not your ease/pleasure of typing or typing performance. Get the real keyboard if typing convenience and performance are your goals. And a sturdy PDA stand for your observing table (I've ditched the table from my astronomy hobby 18 years ago and never looked back). What realistically you want to type on it at night? Notes? Just voce-record them and process later in comfort.

- What else? "Aircraft Aluminum Alloy" vs "cheap plastic"? Besides the aesthetics (in fact, the latest ~$3K MacBook Pro 15 looks and sounds like made of painted plastic to me). Same as the keyboard - to make it slim to slide into your bag and light so you can carry that bag all day. It provides similar to the plastic structural strength and protection. Except maybe exposure to a cigarette butt drop smile.gif But tablets and smartphones are still much smaller, thinner, and lighter.

All this Chromebook hype reminds me the story from one fiction-parody book about the anti-world: "In the anti-world everything is opposite to our world's ways. For example, we are eating from plates using spoons, while they are eating from spoons using plates. Sure thing, as the time passed their plates became smaller and got a handle for convenience, their spoons became larger and the handle had to be removed for safety." lol.gif

 

Regarding the free or cheap software. As I've mentioned earlier, 99% of Android software is subpar to what "zombie" platforms have to offer. 90% is plain junk. 

Want free but good? Learn Linux (but I doubt its Chromebook ports are as capable).


Edited by halx, 16 January 2018 - 05:20 PM.


#73 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 09:42 PM

Just an update:

 

I am writing this post on the Chromebook that Nick kindly gave me. It is one sweet piece of gear.  It's running off the hot spot on my smart phones mobile hot spot.  It does everything I need, everything I want.  It's fast, the internet is fast, the battery lasts an long long time,,  It runs the apps I like.  

 

jon


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#74 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 08:55 PM

One more thing I should add is that the battery charges amazingly fast, it takes less than an hour from nearly empty to fully charged..  

 

And I should thank Jim for bringing Chromebooks that run Android to my attention and once again to Nick for his kindness.. 

 

Jon


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#75 ccs_hello

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 01:26 PM

Higher grade Chromebook:

Rockchip OP1 (  https://www.theverge...rocessor-apptop  )

4GB RAM, 32GB flash eMMC all important play part in this alternative solution.


Edited by ccs_hello, 18 February 2018 - 01:26 PM.



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