OR my Chromebook experience
Last week I boarded a plane from SF to Chicago. I suppose the airline is important for the story: I flew Virgin America. It was probably the most enjoyable flight I’ve had in… forever?
But what blew everything else away was the awesome Chromebook I got to test out. In the terminal, there was a kiosk of Chomexperts lending Chromebooks. All I had to do was give them my credit card so I can’t steal the device.
The boot-up time was insane. Literally 8 seconds. My MacBook does a pretty decent job with Lion but you can tell that some engineers spent a long time shaving precious time off the startup.
But there were also some interesting aspects of the keyboard. For instance, the Caps Lock was replaced with a search button that automatically puts the focus on a search query. And there were a bunch more keys that clearly only a computer that ran in a browser would need. For instance, a dedicated key for refreshing a page, as well as keys for traversing the browsing history. You could also make a tab full screen and have no other distractions with a simple button.
And you access the device with your standard Google account. It brings in all of your services in the expected way. That was a disappoint feature, to tell you the truth, because I would have expected some of the applications to have Chromebook specific behavior. The only one in the standard suite that did was Google Talk, which worked very much like Facebook chat if it wasn’t isolated to the browser window.
So a Chromebook is useless without the internet, after all the point Google is making with Chrome OS is that we utilize the Cloud for so many of our services, that the OS becomes obsolete. And to that end, Virgin America hooked it up with free WiFi at 36,000 feet.
Now its not blazingly fast, but I sat in a chair in the SKY surfing the internet and chatting in real time with my friends far below me. To be fair, YouTube couldn’t really load any videos and I couldn’t consume streaming media but I’m not sure that was the fault of the Chromebook. I would assume that its the internet on the PLANE! (Sorry, I can’t get over that little fact).
The Chromebook itself, seemed fast enough to handle all the processes I was trying to do. The trackpad has some funky interactions, but I think that’s because I hand-mumble as I use a trackpad.
Overall, awesome experience. Thanks Google & Virgin for making my flight awesome. Its so nice when it actually feels like 2011 :)