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Summary:

There isn’t much from CES on the Chrome front we didn’t already know, but we still power through for a full discussion of this week’s Chrome news.

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It’s CES time again, and our intrepid reporter, Kevin Tofel, braved the big crowds and buffets so you don’t have to. Sadly, though, there was little Chrome news out of the show — a new Toshiba Chromebook and the official LG Chromebase reveal. But fear not, we caught Kevin between briefings to put together a full episode of Chrome-y goodness for you!

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SHOW NOTES:
Hosts: Kevin Tofel and Chris Albrecht

Today’s episode is brought to you by Freshbooks.

Toshiba Chromebook is roomy.

The LG Chromebase (more next week).

Another school district eyes Chromebooks.

Chromebooks and the cost of complexity

Is 2GB enough?

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  1. Given the momentum that Chromebooks meanwhile seem to have gained, this no news is indeed a little bit surprising.

  2. Thanks for another great show. I appreciate the education updates. If you ever need or want an educator’s perspective on Chromebooks in the Classroom, then I would be happy to share my thoughts.

    1. we might just take you up on that! Thanks!

  3. With regard to the lack of hardware variety, and the unsettling parallels one might draw with netbooks, my thinking on this is as follows:

    Chromebooks specialise in punching above their weight, spec-wise, in terms of user experience vs hardware. People from a Windows background just aren’t expecting PCs to get out of bed with anything less than 6GB of RAM and an i5 processor these days, yet Chromebooks are being packaged with what seems to be the bottom rung of the performance ladder. And yet performance under Chrome OS is pretty snappy.

    My take on this is that Chrome OS, being Linux, can be optimised for its hardware to a *much* greater extent than Windows, which must by necessity cater for all hardware eventualities. And I think that the fact that you have to specify which Chrome OS recovery image you need bears this out – that Google have specifically optimised Chrome OS builds for their various hardware platforms.

    Now stop and consider Google’s other operating system, Android, something that’s notorious for being hugely fragmented, with masses of different devices with differing specs, all eventually hitting their own glass functionality ceilings, and the resultant confusion/complexity that brings with it.

    I think that the near uniformity of the Chromebook offerings is a direct reaction to Android’s fragmentation, with Google wilfully exerting some control over hardware vendors to keep things along a tightly limited number of tracks. Because by so doing they can literally compile every element of the OS to suit each component down to the wire, and by doing *that* you wring every last drop of performance you can out of ‘low end’ hardware.

    My suspicion, then, is that we’re going to see parallel ‘tracks’ of Chromebooks, within which the vendors will compete over design and styling, but not really over spec per se. To whit:

    a) the ARM track (Samsung Series 3 vs HP11)
    b) the 2GB/4GB Haswell track (just about everybody)
    c) some mid-range sub-Pixel track (probably based around a low-end i5?)

    I don’t think we’ll have too many ‘tracks’ – possibly five at most? – but I do believe that such a strategy makes sense, striking a compromise between deploying hardware optimised OS builds for each scenarios vs confusing the consumer if/when they need to instigate recovery.

  4. The Acer c720 4g is nowhere to be found. I suspect conspiracy theorists may be right: Google is saving their 4g Experience for themselves this year.

    In the meantime my hp pav 14 is the only 4g cbook around. Fast, yes. Crappy screen and experience, kinda.

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