Monday, January 28, 2013

Creeping Up on a new Laptop Future

While the world adopts tablets, the Gutenberg bible of the present day, there are other ways to do things.

Indeed, we need them.   Windows 8 computers are neither cheap nor easy to learn to use.

Yet, for document creation you need another device when your Windows laptop is failing and the superb MacBook Air is too costly for you.

One of these alternatives has never taken root, but then, tablets, too, never took root for a long time.

Yet progress is being made, especially in price, as low as $199.   The new way is the cloud laptop.

Heretofore, computers have needed to operate away from internet.    This new way is to work mostly dependent on internet for the heavy work, an enormous advantage, but also a disadvantage when  internet is not available, even without WiFi available.

Google brought out its Chromebook cloud laptop two years ago and it never really took off.  However, Google has not given up on it.    Indeed, Google is hard at work to improve it.

The rumor is that Google will bring out a Google branded Chromebook, even with touch screen, at an extremely low price.    This would come head to hear with Apple and Microsoft.    So-called transformer cell-phoned based tablets with keyboards are already out there.

(Physical keyboards can be used with tablets, such as keyboards for the iPad.)

Meanwhile, you can already get a ChromeBook laptop from Google without touch screen for $199. Click or tap for a look at it.

This slick and slim ChromeBook laptop will do most document creation, though not in precisely the same way Windows or Mac does it, but close enough for many
Why would we need a ChromeBook?

Mainly because our old laptop is at the end of its life.  Also, we want or need a separate tablet device which does everything quickly anywhere, so the laptop needs to be cheap.   The laptop needs to be always up to date and free of viruses. For us, Microsoft's Windows 8 Slate falls down in too many respects, especially price.    Windows 8 also introduces new complexities and start up problems. We need something to use with a big screen or TV.

Meanwhile, here is what has also been developing  with the Chromebook:

A new ability to handle basic word processing,spreadsheets, and presentations offline is now available.  The main screen now has windowing and extensive apps which are part of the system.     The phone/tablet is starting to merge with the laptop.

Note that the ChromeBook does not run Windows apps, and mostly cloud or online apps, of which there are now plenty.   Some important apps like PhotoShop do not run on the ChromeBook, though some Microsoft Office apps actually do run online. Click or tap for details. There are alternatives to PhotoShop on Windows and some run well on tablets, such as iPad.  Click or tap for limited PhotoShop tools online.  Netflix and Skype may or may not run, but use your tablet for these.

The device starts instantly and is always up to date on the cloud (without downloading updates from Microsoft constantly)..  With the Samsung version at $249 (but no HDMI) and solid state memory, no spinning mechanical hard drive is needed, and risk to hardware and data loss are greatly reduced, assisted by storage safely in the cloud. (The $199 Acer spinning drive may be replaced with solid state memory.)

With a ChromeBook laptop at $199, that way everyone can have both a tablet and a laptop.

If you are considering buying one, first read the buyer comments on Amazon.  Click or tap to read the Acer ChromeBook User Guide