Why Chrome OS?

Since I doubt my family ever reads my articles, I think it is safe to tell you that we have bought my son a Nexus 7 for Christmas. He wanted a tablet and he hates all things Apple. He carries a T-Mobile S-III and loves it. He has a laptop but he prefers to use apps on his phone. I know he will be happy with the N7 and never question it. But before buying the tablet I started thinking about Chrome OS as a possibility for him. That started me thinking about the Chrome OS versus Android argument and why we need both. Couldn’t Google just start building Android laptops instead?

I know this has been talked about before, but can’t we just have Android based laptops? I would buy one of those in a heartbeat. I love my phone but I find myself going back to the laptop as my primary device every week. It isn’t because I can’t do pretty much everything on my phone, it is because I want/need a mouse and keyboard.

Now before you start saying I am probably one of those guys that likes Blackberry’s because they have a physical keyboard (I’m not), hear me out. I have a Galaxy Tab 7″ tablet too. I don’t use it these days. It is an old gen 1 version with a single CPU. But when it was new, I did use it….a lot. I loved it. I could do everything on it and it didn’t leave burn marks on my legs from a hot CPU like my laptop did. It was light and the battery life was great. It was almost perfect. The one thing I kept going back to my laptop for was writing articles and cut and paste functions. Let’s face it, cut and paste on a touch screen can be a real pain.

I even traveled to Atlanta the year I bought it and didn’t carry a laptop with me. It was a work related trip and I did everything from a tablet. No one even knew I didn’t take a laptop with me. (Obviously, my co-workers probably never read my articles either!)  But nonetheless, I not only survived a week with only my tablet, I thrived. I was ready to ditch the laptop for good. I bought into the idea of a tablet.

I seriously debated buying the ASUS Prime with the keyboard dock. It was essentially an Android laptop. What more could I need? I have Office applications, remote desktop functionality, VPN and email capabilities from my Android devices. I could work if I had a real mouse and keyboard. What does Chrome OS offer me that I couldn’t do from an Android laptop form factor? For one thing, size. You cannot get a large Android tablet the size of a laptop with a keyboard dock.  ASUS only has smaller sized tablets running Android.  If you want a 13″-15″ form factor you will need to get a ChromeBook.

android-vs-chromeAdmittedly, I have never owned a Chrome OS device. However, I only use the Chrome browser on my computers and phone. I host all of my documents in the cloud on Google Drive or SkyDrive. I am the target customer for Chromebooks. But I want more than Chrome OS can offer. I want all of the apps that I get on Android. I want better offline capabilities. I want a file system that I can locally use to move files around. In other words, I want Android.

The Android tablets are much better today than they were a year or two ago when I bought mine. The OS is so much better too. If I could survive on a Galaxy Tab back then, except for when I needed to do some real typing and editing, I know I could do it today. A real keyboard (or at least a real laptop keyboard) and a 13″ screen with Jellybean would be awesome! Make it a clamshell or have that ability to close them together like a clamshell and it is portable. I run on a Dell XPS13 laptop. It is thin and light. It is what I would want my ideal Android PC to look like. A backlit keyboard and a multitouch mouse pad. If it could get 8+ hours on a charge and I can run all of my Android apps on it, I would leave Microsoft Windows behind.

And just to silence any critics, I also own a Macbook. I have used an Air also. I don’t like Mac OS and it isn’t powerful enough for me to want to switch. If I was going to have to leave Windows I would prefer to go to Android. I also have run Linux over the years. There is nothing there making me want to go that direction either. I would have better apps and ease of usability with Android.

But this brings me back to my original point, why Chrome OS? Why is Google building this OS when they have a fast, lightweight and established OS that can beat the rest? I think it dilutes what they are trying to do in the market. They need to look at Android as the OS that could knock down the big boys. It has the potential to be so much more if only they would quit segregating their efforts into a laptop version running Chrome OS and a mobile version running Android. Why can’t it be Android everywhere?

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