There are sometimes that a full laptop is not really needed, but you need a little more than maybe a tablet can offer…. That is the niche that Google shoots for with their “ChromeBook” products. I have watched the technology and how they have improved the products and marketing for several years. A good friend of mine still owns one of the original Cr-48 prototypes that Google sent out for “public beta” testing.
I would love to have one of the current Chromebook products, but the budget does not allow. But, I was able to get the next best thing for far cheaper. Here is what happened…
I did some trading on Craigslist (I have several awesome stories that begin this way) and acquired an Asus 1005hab “Seashell” Netbook. It was in great shape, but after a few day of use and preparing to resell, I noticed that it had a non-genuine load of Windows 7. Bummer. I can’t sell this like that! I only had a small amount in the machine, so I decided to keep it for a while with a different OS that I could legally install. I knew this netbook had a small hard drive and an older generation single core Intel Atom CPU, but it also had 2GB ram (the max for netbooks).
I looked at my options, Linux based OS choices, It had an OEM key for Windows XP, and I remembered reading a couple years ago about a project called Chromium. This is the open source version of the Google Chrome OS. Bingo. I checked the Hardware List, then downloaded a build of Chromium OS and installed it from a 4GB flash drive. It was about a 30-45 minute process total (including the download time). All the hardware, including the webcam works. It works really well overall, the only caveat being a great deal of searching and coding are necessary for flash video and java to work. For things like word processing, email/facebook, and writing blog posts, this is a good fast, cheap way to go. It auto-updates, no viruses/malware issues, fast performance and respectable battery life overall.
Keep in mind that you can find a full on Chromebook used in the $150-200 range used. But this was a great option for far below that price range as well…
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