I would have never though my affair with Chrombook will end so soon.
So a little bit less than a year ago, I purchased a refurbished Medion Chromebook S2013 from eBay. My idea was that I could use a cheap laptop on-the-go, and Chromebook are usually not a pain in the ass to use, unlike cheap Windows laptop or Android tablet. Fast forward to now, I have decided to sell it (along with a whole bunch of stuff I have laying around), and here’s what happened since the last episode.
Broken promise of Android app support
One of the reason why I decided to pick that specific model of Chromebook up is that the Chromium team said that Android app support is “Planned”, along with a bunch of other devices. As an Android developer, being able to expand my creation to more platform (and more people) is definitely interesting, and that is one of the (stupid but effective) reason that eventually push me over the edge. However, for some reason, promises keeps getting broken. Back in Google I/O 2016, they said they expected to push updates to all of the planned devices by 2016, and then it becomes 2017, and it’s now mid/late 2018, and there are still 35 devices in the “Planned” phrase, and it has been this way for months (I even complained about this on reddit a few months back).
I got better toys
Another one of my excuses to get the Chromebook is that it will be my on-the-go laptop, and I don’t really have to worry about losing it or it getting stolen. But the reality is, the limitation of what a Chromebook can do means that I don’t take it out that often. I am not going to Starbucks just to surf the internet, I go to Starbucks to work, and the Chromebook is just not suitable for what I considered as “work”. And when I got the T480, which also doubles as my work computer, it becomes even more prominent. I am not going to carry 2 laptops around everyday. That would be stupid.
And in terms of the timing, it mostly comes down to personal reasons. I changed job twice this year, I spent (read: wasted) a lot of money on stuff (T480, Joule, iPhone SE, a6000, and renting a storage unit to keep all of the junk that I don’t need. Just go to my gadget list article and you will see how stupid I have been), and when I finally have time to take a quick look at my financial status (read: open the banking app when I am unemployed), it just becomes very obvious that I have been wasting money this whole time.
No Linux container support
And in Google I/O 2018, they officially announced that the official Linux container support will come to Chrome OS. This is extremely exciting, because this means that Chrome OS finally becomes a suitable primary laptop candidate for me. Having the ability to run IDE like Android Studio and WebStorm is crucial to my daily life, and it is all coming together! (Apparently the Android support is one of the key steps to bringing container into Chromium OS to begin with) But the problem is, unlike the Android app support, Linux app support is closer to bare metal, and Google have decided to not support 32-bit ARM based devices (which is actually quite reasonable). Even if the support comes, there will be a very limited amount of applications that I can run, because a lot of them are not compiled against 32-bit ARM anyway. And this is pretty much the last nail in the coffin, and now I am looking for someone who needs it more than I do.
- I am poor
- Cheap Chromebook is not useful nor practical for me
- Android app support never comes to Medion S2013
- Linux container support will never come to Medion S2013
Do I still recommend Chromebook? Mostly. Just like everything in life, the answer to that question is “It depends🤷”. And I really hope someday I will be able to get back to Chrome OS again, and meanwhile, if you live in Berlin and you want a Chromebook for cheap (like for your kids or something), just let me know!