What Google needs to do to make the OP1 Samsung Chromebook Plus a massive success

Posted by Charbax – February 18, 2017

I hope somehow I can get my Chromebook Plus before MWC. Seems unlikely, Amazon.com and B&H don't have any in stock (I need it shipped here to Europe, I should probably have ordered it on Samsung.com or Bestbuy.com and forwarded to Europe using Borderlinx or another similar package US-to-Europe forwarding service, but it seems too late). Samsung seems slow at getting these out to the world. Here's what needs to happen with the OP1 RK3399-C Chromebook platform:

- Make these available worldwide. $299, $349, $449, $549 with different skews from FHD 4GB RAM 32GB Flash at $299 to 2400x1600 8GB RAM 128GB Flash at $549. Samsung, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, HP, all need to get in on the OP1 flip platform.

- Make sure there are 10-20 perfectly optimized apps for productivity covering all the basics people need on a Laptop. At least a few apps that cover "what people need on Windows/Mac" need to work on the Chromebook with OP1, make sure there is 3 perfectly optimized Office apps (Microsoft Office included), 3 perfectly optimized video and image editing apps (should be good enough for semi professionals to do fast rendering smooth 4K video editing and "anything that's done with Photoshop/GIMP"), 3 perfectly optimized Chat/Video-conferencing apps including Skype, Whatsapp, Hangouts, few more "Facebook Messenger", "Snapchat", whatever young people use.. Just make sure there is a good range of very well optimized apps, that will show the way for other developers to also optimize thousands among the 2 million Android apps best suited for productivity. Have 10 "Nintendo-quality" awesome games work perfectly also, for optional gamepad bluetooth gameplay on large display or with any cheap $10 Type-C to HDMI on a HDTV. Google can offer "free" app re-optimization support to the developers who have promizing Android apps that just need to be slightly upgraded to work great on large display and well optimized also for keyboard/mouse usability.

- Nougat multi-window resizable. All the features of Remix OS, Phoenix OS, nicely resizable multi-window Android framework needs to be there.

- App/extension for perfect stylus annotation collaboration, annotate any webpage, any article, any document, and have collaborators over Google Drive. We also need a perfect community(ies) for "the annotated web", when you select any text and you type in your comment/annotation on the keyboard. Needs to be ultra smooth and easy to use to make this revolutionary for productivity. It has to be a must-have for any student, for any professional and for any creative. If you select any text on any article on any webpage that has a comment section, then that selected section is automatically "quoted" when you type your comment, hit enter to post your comment about that selected quote. Or easily Google+1/tweet/blog, write your comment and link when you highlight a text. Thus different configurable modes/features for that pop-up menu when the stylus is taken out of its slot. Some will always want to annotate docs to collaborate in Drive, others will always want to auto-share quote and link article to Google+ or to Blog with typed comment, and easy switch between Stylus modes, should work with any content. Just only being able to annotate/scribble on a screenshot is too basic.

- Maximum dual display (external display) productivity, using Type-C to HDMI dongles/docks, it needs to be super easy to "open link in new highlighted or background tab in other window on other display" or to tab browse on one display while Android multi-window apps run on the other display.

- Android for productivity on these Chromebooks obviously has to be a taster of what can become available with "Android Continuum" once Android super phones dock with external displays and Lapdocks using DisplayLink, MHL, Slimport or a Chromecast-Continuum background app with Nougat/Miracast. Somehow, I wish the OP1 Chromebooks Type-C port would also allow for Lapdock functionality, to use your external superphone on Kirin 960 or Snapdragon 835 to "speed up" your OP1 Chromebook performance, somehow. Perhaps run some tabs/apps on the OP1 while others can be accelerated by your external phone which might have a more powerful ARM Processor. All the while the OP1 Chromebook also charges your phone by that same Type-C port. Somehow combine the Hexacore ARM Cortex-A72/A53 of your OP1 Chromebook with the Octa-core ARM Cortex-A73/A53 of your phone, also combine the GPUs, to have all these 14 ARM cores work nicely over that Type-C cable or even wirelessly (especially if your phone is the LTE hotspot for your Chromebook) for your optimal productivity.

Seriously Google, partner with Microsoft, pre-load Microsoft Office with some amount of included free months of trial for Office 365, pre-load Skype, help Microsoft make a perfect LinkedIn app, and also partner with Adobe pre-load some perfectly optimized Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere for Android, need to be VERY usable, very optimized for Android productivity and also include the Adobe Creative Cloud trial on there. Do this Google. And people will be impressed. No need to "force people to use Google Drive and Google Photos only", you can bundle free trials for your services too (consumers will prefer Google apps anyway if those are better), just make sure the advanced apps people "need on Windows/Mac", that those, even for semi professionals/enthusiasts, that those already work good BUNDLED on Chromebook with OP1. Close the gap and shut down any argument people might have against the Chromebook. Wanna do even more? Convince Apple to pre-load fully optimized iTunes and Garageband on the Chromebook with OP1 also (I'm sure Apple already has secret betas for these apps for Android, ready to release "just in case"). Don't you know how to convince Apple this is a good idea? Let me know, I'll tell you how. Shame them if they don't.

Before the end of 2017, Google needs to "open up" the marketing angle on Chromebooks (basically fully supported (same auto security/feature updates) Chromium OS rebrand service for Chrome OS for any competitor), so Microsoft, Apple, Baidu/Tencent, Yandex and Adobe/Salesforce/others will be shipping customized Chromebooks with their apps/shortcuts defaults pre-installed. Don't force anyone only ship with Google apps/shortcuts/search, let the consumers change those defaults if Google is better. Login should not only be using Google account, let users login with any other Microsoft/Apple/Baidu/Tencent/Yahoo/whatever user account. Let your competitors ship your free and open source software and with your usual Chrome OS support when it comes to security/speed/feature updates), help subsidize/promote the platform. Let competitors submit improvements/patches to the platform. Before the end of 2017, sub-$100 ARM Chromebooks need to reach every child in the world, just as OLPC intended more than a decade ago.

Don't make OP1 Chrome OS exclusive, let it nicely run anything else. Let people boot into any Linux or into any other OS from MicroSD card or from a simple Type-C Flash memory dongle. So if Microsoft wants people to dual-boot or to replace Chrome OS with Windows 10 (with x86 win32 app emulation support) they should be able to do it. If Apple wants consumers to dual-boot or replace Chrome OS by a new Mac iOSX UI, let them do that. If consumers want to dual-boot or replace Chrome OS by Ubuntu or any other Linux, let them easily do that. Even have staff of Google employees support that and "recommend" stable OSes that work nicely. Always stable "factory reset" to manufacturer's shipped official or custom Chrome OS no matter what would be ok, if there is a memory for that.

  • The fastest ARM processors are made for phones, not yet for Chromebooks, Smartphone ARM Processors are being made in 10nm, the Hexacore in Chromebook Plus is 28nm. If you think in terms of Octane (I think not quite representative of actual real world perceived performance), that means your Chromebook Plus can have 10000 Octane and your phone might add 20000 to that, for a total of 30 thousand in Octane.

    I’m no parallel Heterogeneous programming expert, but I would like to think that it can be possible to delegate either tabs or Android apps to be processed the phone. And the 5Gbit/s of USB Type-C should be plenty enough to delegate some processing to your phone, just to speed things up, especially what is going on in the back-ground and when you really want to multi-task, for example KineMaster 4K video editing could run on your phone while all the more basic multi-tab web browsing stuff and the basic Android framework runs on your Chromebook’s OP1.

    Most people must have a phone and a Chromebook anyway, so why not “team them up”.
    Microsoft Office 365 apps already exist on Android, and they are I guess already pretty good. So the only thing Google now needs to do, is simply make sure these apps work in Google Play on Chromebooks, but also the next step I think should simply be to call up Satya Nadella Microsoft CEO with a proposal to offer Microsoft to bundle some type of Office 365 free trial period with pre-installed Office apps on every Chromebook, if Microsoft agrees they can have it. This should hopefully also encourage Microsoft to make sure that their Android apps for Office have eventually all exactly the same features as on a Windows desktop/laptop. Microsoft’s goal should simply be to have as many users as possible and as many Office 365 subscribers as possible, regardless of which platform.

    Let’s be real, Apple is a multi-hundred Billion dollar company. Of course they already have ported iTunes and Garageband and whichever few other Apple apps (Siri perhaps and some other) to Android. Though surely those ports remain totally secret for now. Why do I say that. Because it would make no sense for any multi hundred Billion dollar company to not invest the small funds required to just develop and prepare any potential option if the CEO ever feels a need for change in strategy. That’s why I am also sure that Apple has been porting the latest versions of Android to their iPhones for years, if not only just to “test out” how Android might feel on their hardware, if not only just to get inspired with what they need to develop against Android for iOS to compete.

    It’s not a big deal to release iTunes, Garageband and whichever other few Mac apps to run OK on Android. I think Google can easily force Apple to do it by shaming them if they don’t.

    Basically if any iPhone user wants to use a Chromebook, there shouldn’t be any painful restrictions in usability. iTunes exists on Windows, so why not on Android too. If Apple doesn’t do that, they will loose more market share against Android for their iPhone and iPad.

  • systemBuilder

    Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are what 100% of Googlers use. The programs can open and save Windows files (although some advanced features such as audio playback on slideshows are not supported). Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and a custom gmail / calendar domain (“GSuite”) does 90% of what MS-Office does for $5/month. GSuite is free for home users. Get rid of the lock-in from Microsoft! Or, use Office 365 Cloud software.

    Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides (docs.google.com, sheets.google.com, slides.google.com) can edit offline docs on the local disk now without Internet, there is no longer a need to have cloud connectivity to run the GSuite software from Google.

  • systemBuilder

    (I don’t speak for my employer) But I think that there is a security risk with MS-Office that Google would not want because Chromebooks are virus-free. MS-Office machines have Visual Basic as a programming language and that can be used to hack into Chromebooks. That’s a nonstarter for Chromebooks. No viruses allowed, especially not Microsoft Viruses! It’s why Adobe Flash is going away!

  • Thanks for your response. Millions of Android phones have Microsoft Office apps running fine on them, Microsoft Word, Excell, Powerpoint, etc for Android running on them, I don’t believe Microsoft ported Visual Basic to Android, did they? I think it’s wrong that I cannot install them without sideloading them with my Chromebook in dev mode (something I yet haven’t tried to do). See pictures all the Microsoft apps show up as “incompatible”, it’s just wrong. Google should work with Microsoft to get these apps to install and work beautifully on Chrome OS as soon as possible. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/899c9ef7ddc3a02f670364e033d4129e383b7b59f6f3578080420482006a6391.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a0958be0ff0ba5c73093b60b78f7ebd904ec8cc2ca2b721cd1940e3481794094.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75c8634a46d7b080d951ae1a0291673f0b6469113f7fa4339ecacffcf68c7feb.png

  • Yes I use only Google apps, but there are students for some reason they need or they want Microsoft Word, perhaps it’s a requirement with their school, and some other people just feel more comfortable if they can still use Microsoft Word. And since Microsoft Word exists for Android, I just don’t see why either Google is blocking it from Chrome OS or Microsoft is blocking it from Chrome OS, either way, they should stop blocking it from Chrome OS, and it’d be fine if Microsoft wants people to sign up to their Office 365 to use their apps on the large display of a Chromebook.