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Google IO

Chromebooks are the Future

So Google IO wrapped up the other day, and I was keenly glued to the Google Developer’s channel on YouTube and the IO app. 
So many cool things got announced over the week, and Android P has set the stage to be one of the best iterations of Android yet this year. 

One thing I have been keeping an eye on the last few years is Chromebooks. Chromebooks fascinate me and have been slowly been getting better and better over the last few years. Now they have Android App support, the value of the simple Chromebook has become more of a competitive device against Windows Laptops and Macs.

Office Tasks, Media consumption, general web browsing, writing, photo editing. All of these are some examples of what you can do on a Chromebook these days (There is even a $1800 Pixelbook from Google to satisfy power users). All of this through the Chrome Browser or Android Apps on the device. But what about Programmers or serious power users? 

What happens if Programmers, or teens who cant afford a fully loaded Windows Machine or a used MacBook Pro, but still want to code and don’t want a slow as all hell $399.00 Windows laptop ($399.00 in comparison in the Chromebook space is far better value for money spent). There are very few Android Apps available for this (DroidEdit Pro is SUPER close, but missing some key features – I’ll be writing about this soon).

Enter! Chrome apps for ChromeOS! This basically means that Chromebooks are getting support for a Linux terminal and Linux Applications. 

 Linux terminal and Android Studio for ChromeOS running on a Pixelbook (from the  Google Blog )
Linux terminal and Android Studio for ChromeOS running on a Pixelbook (from the Google Blog )

As well as being able to now build apps for Chrome OS, you can build, compile and launch Android Apps from a Native version of Android Studio built for ChromeOS, but (within reason) any other Linux Application, providing it can run on your system, can be ran on the Chrombook once the update is pushed later this year.

This is excellent! As for things like Kali Linux, or Katoolin for Ubuntu, would be excellent for Penetration testers to run on cheaper hardware, things like LibreOffice if you want a more traditional desktop office suite, Mozilla Thunderbird as a traditional desktop app, the possibilities at the minute seem somewhat endless (until Google confirms what we can’t run). Something like WINE for Linux would definitely help with any potential limitations that may get imposed on us for what can run on Chrome OS. 

At the current time of writing, there are a few serious hardware options for power users or those wanting a sleek and powerful laptop. Dell’s XPS line, Apple’s Macbook Pros and the 12 Inch MacBook, HP’s Spectre line and Lenovo’s 720 series and 920 series Laptops are all seriously powerful and can satisfy a large variety of users, from developers to photographers, to Mum and Dad’s next laptop to the University Student. 
However, they’re all generally expensive and start at shy of $2000 normal RRP. 

If this gets implemented well, this could really break any further barriers between people deciding whether they want a PC or a Mac and make ChromeOS a more serious competitor for more serious power users. Mid Tier cost, to high end specifications and payoff. Keeping an extra couple of hundred dollars in your back pocket but still getting performance and capabilities of a modern Windows or MacOS machine.

All we need now is a better catalog of Chromebook Hardware available in Australia…