After figuring I wasn't going to get picked for the pilot program, I came home to a box last night. Oh yeah, I got picked to get a chromebook! As per the pilot program instructions, I will be trying to use it as my primary computer as much as I can. Unfortunately, right now, my two main studio tasks can't be done in a browser just yet (OneNote and SmartMusic). However, about 95% of everything else I do can be done in chrome.
I would love to post a picture of it, but that's turning out to be a bit difficult. Theoretically, I should be able to take a picture with my Android based phone, upload it to my synced picasa account, and then link to that photo from blogger. It's failing to upload from the phone, so I can't really fault the chromebook for that one.
I've only had it for about 24 hours, so I have yet to see exactly how often I'll have to turn to a "regular" computer for things. So far, I've managed to use it most of the day, only pulling out the tablet for the studio stuff that the chromebook can't do and some Quicken.
It's odd for me to be using such a "big" notebook again. I was a big fan of netbooks before getting into tablets, and I consider my HP 2730p to be my "big" tablet. The chromebook has the same size screen, but the bigger bezel makes for a bigger footprint. I know, I know, this is supposed to be about Chrome OS, not the generic hardware. But the hardware is important to me for one main reason - size. If this can only do 95% of what I need (and neither of the big work related things) , it's at best going to be a companion device. I like my companion devices to fit in a purse, or at least the smaller pouch in my teaching bag. This is significant as the computer that gets the most use is the one that's actually with me. If it's hard to carry the thing with me all the time, or I have carry a special bag, or make room in an already full bag, I'm less likely to want to continue carrying it, and it will become just another couch surfer.
The other odd thing about the size is the 1280x800 resolution. While that's standard for a 12" screen, and the same as my 2730p, it feels like a waste when all you can do with it is have a full screen web browser. I never full screen the broswer on my 2730p, so websites just look odd with that many horizontal pixels. I'm using the web interface for blogger, and the right 40% of the screen is just white space. I would take the hit in pixels to go down to a netbook sized 9" or 10" screen to get a smaller device that would be easier to keep with me all the time.
Aside from the notebook being bigger than I would like, it's nice hardware. The rubberized plastic feels good, which makes me want to hold it and use it. The keyboard is also quite nice, which means it will see a lot of use for typing things. I'll be moving more of my work to google docs, and creating more things there rather than just uploading stuff.
The actual OS is actually not that exciting, which is actually the best part. There's nothing there. It's really just chrome, full screen, and only that. It gets completely out of the way. I'm used to spending hours setting up new machines with updates and then all the applications I need to get stuff done. I had already set up chrome on my other computers in the hopes that I would get one of these, so when it actually came, I logged in and all my bookmarks and webapps synced over. I didn't have to set anything up. I didn't have to go to website after website to download and install things. I just started using it. And that's all I've had to do. I've just been using it since it showed up last night. Despite the fact that I actually enjoy setting up computers and tweaking things, this is like a breath of fresh air to have a machine that I just turn on and use.
I suppose over time I might want to change the theme, and I'll eventually start to wonder what other things I can make this thing do, but for now, I'm really just enjoying the simplicity.