Paul Thurrott is a Joke

chrome-vs-windows-oChromebooks are a joke.

At least, that’s what Paul Thurrott would have you believe. I’ve never heard of this man (probably because all he writes about is Windows and well..who the hell wants to read about Windows?)

But recently as I was perusing the Google+ “Chromebook” community, I came upon an article written by Mr. Thurrott claiming that Chromebooks were a joke. As an avid Chromebook user, this peaked my interest. Chromebooks are a joke? Does that mean I’m a joker?

[amazonjs asin=”B00FNPD1OY” locale=”US” tmpl=”Small” title=”Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, Haswell micro-architecture, 4GB)”]

The real question was, if Chromebooks are a joke….and my Chromebook has just about completely replaced my Windows machine…what does that make Windows?

So naturally the writer/argumentative jerk inside of me just about went into convulsions so now here I sit, blogging on my joke of a laptop in response to probably the dumbest bit of writing I’ve read in a long time.

So it’s pretty obvious after reading Paul’s article that he hasn’t actually used a Chromebook much. He mentioned having been sent one a long time ago (the CR-48, first ever Chromebook) and hasn’t touched one until he recently picked up the HP 11. I’m guessing he probably opened it up, realized he couldn’t install iTunes on it, closed it and never opened it again.

This blog post will mostly be a series of rebuttals to Pauls long list of stupid remarks. Starting with the opening sentence. I’ll put his remarks in italics, and follow them with my response.

On the face of things, Google’s Chromebook initiative is a laughable attempt to turn a web browser into an operating system that runs on mostly lackluster hardware.

The term “lackluster hardware” is completely subjective. Considering how small and efficient ChromeOS is, the hardware is plenty good enough. Would an HP 11 Chromebook run Windows 8? No. Would it run MacOS? No.  Does it run ChromeOS flawlessly? Yes. They offer “good enough” functionality for the basic computing needs of the masses, and at bargain basement prices. Did you just say that Chromebooks do most of the things that most people need to do, and a really low price? Wow! You should do a commercial for Chromebooks! In a perfect world, Microsoft would muster all of its strength against this one foe and history would repeat itself.

Who’s perfect world is this? A world where anytime someone competes with Microsoft, Microsoft just crushes them? That world sounds faaaaar from perfect.

hardware makers shipped over 2 billion smart phones in that same time period, most of them running Android. So there’s your second front in Microsoft’s post-PC war.

Why are you comparing smartphones to Chromebooks? You really think smartphones are a threat to PCs? Has anybody ever said “hrm..I was thinking about buying a PC but I already have a Samsung Galaxy S3 so I guess I don’t really need one”? I doubt it. Tablets might have provided a tiny bit of competition to laptops, but smartphones? Come on.

Generally speaking, Chromebook is the weakest of the threats, both on paper and in use.

The weakest of the threats how? Right now, 3 of the top 5 best selling laptops on Amazon are Chromebooks. Chromebooks compete much more directly with a Windows computer than does a tablet/smartphone. There are a lot more people choosing a Chromebook instead of a Windows/Apple laptop as their secondary device than there are people choosing a tablet/smartphone over a Windows/Apple laptop. Most people who buy a tablet/smartphone are still probably going to look into a portable laptop to take with them to class or starbucks.

So for the wily engineers at Google—who, come on, should in no way be foisting two different mobile operating systems on the world under any normal definition of acceptable strategy—this is good timing, and a nice way to undercut one of its most hated foes.

What? Google is foisting another mobile operating system other than Android? What is it called? How have I not heard about this?!

Oh… You referring to ChromeOS? Strange seeing as how that’s not a mobile operating system…

To be perfectly clear, there is absolutely nothing that one can do with Chrome OS, the “operating system” that powers Chromebooks, that one couldn’t do—and in many ways do more efficiently—using a normal Windows laptop or Ultrabook.

I guess that’s true. Sort of. Well, on second thought let’s look at a few of the main benefits of a Chromebook over a Windows laptop or Ultrabook.

Updates. One thing I love about my Chromebook, is that I always have the most up to date Chromebook possible. That’s because it updates it self regularly, and all you have to do to apply the update is reboot your machine. Which takes about 8 seconds. Oh look, there’s actually an update for my Chromebook right now. I’m going to click “Restart to update” at 11:58 on the button and see how long this takes. Also, I’m not going to click “save” or “update” on anything.

15 seconds. I just updated my operating system, in the middle of typing this blog post in 15 seconds. I didn’t save anything, after it was done rebooting, and I signed in, it brought all my tabs back, including this WordPress tab, with all my content exactly the way it was when I clicked “restart”.

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Price. Especially with an ultrabook. In August of last year, the average price of an Ultrabook was around $1000. I have never even considered for a second buying one, so I’m not sure what they cost these days and don’t feel like doing a Google search right now, but if I had to take a stab at it, I’d say they probably cost oh…say…somewhere in the vicinity of a LOT more than a Chromebook. Sound about right? OK so I did a Google Search. Turns out you can get last years model Acer Ultrabook Silver 13.3″ S3-391-6046 PC with Intel Core i3-2367M processor and Windows 8 Operating System for $399. That’s pretty good. Looking at the specs it appears as if they’ll throw the term Ultrabook on just about anything these days. 1.4 GH processor and 4GB of RAM? Sounds like a Chromebook to me. Too bad it has a big ass OS with lots of bloatware it has to deal with. Not to mention virus/spam software. Not to mention the cost/hassle of upgrading to the next crappy version of Windows that comes out.

Speed. A 4GB machine with the new Haswell processor running ChromeOS will run just as fast as any new Windows laptop/Ultrabook. And, six months later, the Chromebook will be just as fast, while the Windows machine will inevitably slow down. It also boots up in about 8 seconds, which is not something your Windows laptops can do. Maybe the Ultrabooks, if you want to pay $1000. But even those will slow down over time. They won’t boot up in 8 seconds forever. A Chromebook will.

Security. You might be able to install Chrome on a Windows laptop, or on a Mac, but they will be just as vulnerable to virus/spyware as they were before you installed it. A Chromebook is almost completely impervious to virus/spyware attack. (Not like Mac owners think Macs are, I mean ACTUALLY impervious). And you don’t have to pay for the anti-virus software. There is no anti-virus software. That means nothing bogging down your system every time it decides to do a scan or having to leave your machine on overnight so it can scan at a more convenient time for you.

What I perceive as common sense has no bearing on what’s really happening, however.

Thank God.

Regardless, today Chromebooks are really just secondary PCs, like netbooks and low-end tablets.

Weird. That’s exactly what Google intended for the Chromebook to be. Did you think they were trying to replace your Windows/Mac machine? Because they aren’t.

In case anybody cares about my background, or “credentials”, I have been using a Samsung 5 550 for almost exactly a year now, and am writing this blog on the HP 14 with the Haswell. I still have my Windows 7 laptop, because there are like 2 things my Chromebook can’t do (root my Android phone, and operate my scanner) so I blow the dust of the Windows machine once in awhile when I need to. And by blow the dust off of, I really mean remote into with Chrome Remote Desktop whenever I need to scan a document or root my phone. So really I still do those things with my Chromebook. I just keep my Windows laptop tucked away in a corner, always on, always connected to my network so I can get into it anytime I need to (which isn’t very often).

I also worked as a Google Specialist, where I was trained by Google and sent to my local Best Buy to educate customers/staff about the benefits/drawbacks of the Chromebook. So unlike Mr. Thurrott, I’ve actually used two different Chromebooks, quite extensively. I’ve also used Windows machines quite extensively, so I think I can make a fair comparison between the two.

About James Welbes

James is a guy who does things. Lots of things. Nothing weird, mostly computer things like blogging, web development, Netflix. He's a total Google fanboy, (despite Allo) and has been recognized as a Google Expert in Google's Chromebook Central product forum.