My impressions on the coolest ARM Powered Laptop yet, the Samsung Chromebook Plus ($419 top selling 2-in-1 on Amazon.com) that features a Rockchip OP1 dual ARM Cortex-A72 with quad ARM Cortex-A53, ARM Mali-T860MP4 GPU. The performance is great on this device, with the firmware updates from Google also speeding things up regularly, this device is amazingly cool and aweome. But in this video I mention a few things I am hoping Google can improve in the software, mostly to do with improving the Android apps for productivity, I'd like a 4K video editor that works and that is hardware accelerated, I think that Google needs to help PowerDirector and Kinemaster get hardware acceleration and 4K video editing support on this device. Even better perhaps would be if Google could contact the Lumafusion developers and support them to port their 4K60 video editor to Android and optimized for the OP1 processor. Other missing apps in the Google Play store are Microsoft Office, Popcorn time, I don't want to be setting my Chromebook in Developer mode just to sideload apps that may not even be optimized for the Chromebook yet. Photo editors such as GIMP on Android, Adobe Photoshop need to get supported. Few more other productivity apps for developers, creatives, professionals and students I think need to get ported to this Chromebook Android device. Then Google also needs to improve the features of the stylus touch pen on this device, I'd like the stylus shortcuts and gestures allow to do productive work and study such as annotation collaboration, screen region selector saves to JPG to use as thumbnails in YouTube. In terms of the hardware, I am only hoping to be able to prove that USB Type-C SD card adapter to a USB3 Hard drive file transfers are fully fast enough (as fast as on any Intel Windows machine, hopefully), and also I hope to be able to prove that Wi-Fi performance is just as fast and reliable as with any other laptop. Except the missing backlight on the keyboard and the slightly smaller keyboard than full size, otherwise I think this laptop hardware is pretty much near perfect. It is now my main laptop, I just wish that I could do 4K60 video editing in a good Android video editing app, that the Android and the Chrome OS part get better integrated, for example when I save files in Android apps I want to be able to easily get access and upload these files from the Chrome OS Chrome Browser. I'll be posting more videos about my Samsung Chromebook Plus in the weeks and months ahead as I expect that it will get better with Google's full support. Samsung really needs to soon start selling it in Europe!
Rockchip made the OP1 the world's most optimized Chromebook processor. OP1, also known as RK3399-C, Hexacore dual ARM Cortex-A72, quad ARM Cortex-A53 with Mali-T860MP4 GPU. Rockchip is the only chip maker which has been optimizing processors for Chromebooks over the past 3 years, with all the lessons they learned with the RK3288 quad-core ARM Cortex-A17 which shipped in several Chromebooks in 2015, they were able to improve on that, optimize every detail and in collaboration with Google and Samsung.
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.
- Google confirms Android apps out of the box on all Chromebooks launched from this point forward (9to5google.com)
- Every new Chromebook from here on out will support Android apps (liliputing.com)
- All Chromebooks launching in 2017 will be compatible with Android apps (techcrunch.com)
- Samsung's latest Chromebook shows the future of Google's laptops - but it has a long way to go (GOOG, GOOGL) (businessinsider.com)
- Samsung's new Chromebooks get Google Play access and a stylus (techcrunch.com)
- Samsung's new 2-in-1 Chromebooks now include a stylus (mashable.com)
As Intel's usual tactic when feeling under threat by disruptive ARM Powered technology, Intel is trying to confuse consumers by shipping out their buggy Intel core-m3 Samsung Chromebook Pro version to reviewers here, here, here, here and here.
TheVerge reports that Android apps support on Intel is horrible compared to the ARM Powered OP1 Chromebook:
consider that this ARM processor may do a better job of running most Android apps than the Intel processor on the Chromebook Pro. Those apps need to be translated from ARM code to x86 to run on Intel machines. However, the Android beta on the Chromebook Pro is in such a sorry state that I can't really judge. Google promises that it'll all be fixed by April, when the Pro launches. Right now, the Plus handles Android apps much better than the Pro.
The situation on the Plus is miles better than the situation on the Intel-based Chromebook Pro right now, which is so riddled with bugs and issues that I declined reviewing it in favor of this Plus. I describe in more detail the situation in another article, here.
As I suggested in my article demonstrating how OP1 is a Rockchip RK3399-C:
OP1 is optimized for the Chromebook market, with optimal performance, power consumption and price point. Optimized for smooth performance on high resolution display, dual USB Type-C, reliable Wi-Fi, 4K playback, it uses GPU Compute to optimize the performance of every aspect of the Chrome OS web browsing UI. Fonts, scrolling, displaying images, animations, video, all is optimized, improved and accelerated also by the Mali-T860 GPU. Unlike Intel x86 Chromebooks, I believe that the OP1 platform runs all Android apps natively without emulation, that is especially important for running advanced Android apps optimized for productivity, such as Microsoft Word, Excell, Powerpoint, OfficeSuite, PDF Editor, Free Office, Docs to Go, Google Drive, Polaris Office, Quip, WPS Office and thousands of other productivity apps already available on Android, and thousands of advanced games on Android, all these apps are optimized for ARM, with Native Code in them that just runs better on ARM. I would guess that running any of these thousands of advanced Android apps might consume half the power to run on ARM compared with x86.
DisplayLink is showing some of their latest demos, here featuring a smooth wireless HTC Vive experience using a DisplayLink dock connected with wireless 60Ghz video signal to/from the VR gaming PC, then showing daisy-chaining 3 DisplayLink docks powered by the DisplayLink DL-6950 chip, launching this Dock in the Targus Dock 160 launching for $249 at Amazon.com. DisplayLink engineered its algorithm to compress display over USB, it works with Chromebooks, Android phones, Windows 10, Ubuntu, Mac OS and more. DisplayLink got integrated with Chromebooks natively by DisplayLink's partnership with Google, and for Android you just need to run the DisplayLink Presenter app for it to work from most Android phones that have Micro-USB or USB Type-C, as long as those have USB Host function active in them. DisplayLink is well integrated with Windows 10 also at the core of Windows Continuum. They also demonstrate SiBeam for a wireless USB connector.
http://whatisop.com details the OP1 ARM Processor optimized for Chromebooks, it's the Rockchip RK3399-C Hexacore 6-core, dual ARM Cortex-A72 and quad ARM Cortex-A53 in big.LITTLE formation with Mali-T860MP GPU.
I believe that OP1 is the big push by Google and Rockchip, together with manufacturing partners such as Samsung shipping with Samsung Chromebook Plus from February 12th for $449 at Amazon.com to finally push Chromebooks to a Billion users worldwide, now with OP1, I believe that they have optimized the processor for mass market Chromebook success, with an optimal performance, power consumption and price point. They have worked for over a year on the OP1, to optimize it for the Chromebook market. As you can read on http://whatisop.com the OP1 chip is optimized for smooth low power consumption web browsing on super nice high resolution displays, with dual USB Type-C connectivity, fast reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, up to 4K playback, it uses GPU Compute to optimize the performance of every aspect of the Chrome OS web browsing UI. Fonts, scrolling, displaying images, animations, video, all is optimized, improved and accelerated also by the Mali-T860 GPU. Unlike Intel x86 Chromebooks, the OP1 platform runs all Android apps natively without emulation, that means that all the advanced Android apps optimized for productivity, such as Microsoft Word, Excell, Powerpoint, many other productivity Android apps such as OfficeSuite and PDF Editor, Free Office, Docs to Go, also Google Drive, Polaris Office, Quip, WPS Office and PDF and thousands of other productivity apps already available on Android, and thousands of advanced games on Android, all these apps are optimized for ARM, with Native Code in them that just runs better on ARM. I would guess that running any of these thousands of advanced Android apps might consume half the power to run on ARM compared with x86.
Samsung releases the nicest ARM Powered Chromebook in the world ($449 at Amazon.com), the Samsung Chromebook Plus is powered by the OP1 ARM Processor optimized for Chromebooks (Rockchip RK3399) dual ARM Cortex-A72 and quad ARM Cortex-A53 Hexacore 64bit with ARM Mali-T860 GPU. This Chromebook is ultra-thin at 14mm, ultra-light at 1.08kg yet runs 10 hours on the battery even with its amazingly nice and bright 3:2 aspect ratio 12.3" 2400x1600 Quad-HD ultra-bright 400nit LCD Display durable with Gorilla Glass 3.
The Acer Chromebook 14 ($274 at Amazon) is a Chrome OS device that comes fully finished in metal for around US$300. Equipped with 14" 768p (1366x768) or 1080p (1920x1080) pixel display, dual or quad-core Intel Celeron processors, 4GB RAM, 16/32GB of Flash storage, 2xUSB 3.1 ports, the Chromebook 14 is meant primarily for web usage and light office applications. Claimed battery life is up to 14 hours for the lower-resolution version.
The first ARM Cortex-A72 powered Chromebook, the first MediaTek Chromebook, powered by the Quad-core big.LITTLE MediaTek MT8173C Dual ARM Cortex-A72 and Dual ARM Cortex-A53 with PowerVR GX6250 GPU. This Acer Chromebook R13 is priced currently at $399, available now in the USA, soon should also be available in Europe. It looks great with a full sized HDMI, USB3 port, one USB Type-C port and a headset port. I am tempted to buy one, but I think I'll wait and see which Chromebooks will be released in the days/weeks to come, especially the rumored Rockchip RK3399 Powered Samsung Chromebook Pro.
Rockchip RK3399 dual-core ARM Cortex-A72 with quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 big.LITTLE at 28nm with ARM Mali-T864 GPU is ready for mass production, here showing an ultra-slim tablet, featuring dual USB Type-C for charging, for data and display output. Rockchip also shows their high performance VR solution ready for mass production based on RK3399, Chromebooks, Windows 10, Set-top-boxes, Robots and more are probably to come.