I suppose you could call this an open letter to OEM’s that build and design Chromebooks.
First and foremost, thanks for making so many Chromebooks! The variety is pretty great and looks to become amazing over the next few months, and I think we all appreciate the effort going into making new, interesting and varied models to choose from.
As we move into a new era of Chromebooks in 2017, the addition of the Android App ecosystem looks to change many of the fundamental use-cases inherent to Chromebooks.
Gaming, productivity, home automation, and creative apps will, over time, become great assets to many users as the year wears on. Now that Android developers have a viable big screen to develop for, who knows what things we’ll be able to do on a Chromebook this time next year.
I, for one, look forward to the day when I can edit a video with KineMaster or control all my Google Home devices right from my Chromebook.
That Time is Near
And that’s where the heart of this letter lies. Very soon, a whole segment of new users will be downloading and using Android apps on their Chromebooks.
When Chromebooks were first conceived, the cloud was the end point. Everything worked and existed in the cloud. And, honestly, there are tons of us who’ve come to not only enjoy but also rely on cloud-based computing over the past few years.
Without the internet, I don’t get work done. And that is regardless of OS.
But as reliant Chrome OS has made me on cloud-based productivity, the draw of having some apps downloaded and locally stored has been strong. For me, it is mainly games. But when KineMaster is available for Chrome OS, I’ll be using it offline, too.
And then there are photo editors, graphic apps, and music services that use up that precious local storage space.
The more these types of apps begin seeing use and download, the more tax we’ll see on storage.
Sure, we will have SD card support, but depending on the app and its implementation, that can be pretty hit or miss.
I guess what I’m saying is: we need more local storage on Chromebooks.
Nothing crazy. Don’t hear me saying we need 256GB SSD drives in Chromebooks. We don’t.
But, what is good for an Android device should be more than enough on a Chromebook. Same app ecosystem and a smaller OS footprint.
Let’s take the Pixel and Pixel XL, for instance. There are no 16GB versions available. iPhones? Those are gone too in the new models.
When we look at the landscape of smartphones, 16GB models are now relegated (for the most part) to the super-affordable segment.
Could we get there with Chromebooks?
I’m not saying we abolish 16GB devices. Not at all. I’m simply requesting they be reserved for the bargain-focused devices.
I’m saying that when we see $300+ devices, the base model needs to start at 32GB at the absolute least. The time of getting away with selling an upper-tier device with 16GB of storage need to go away.
I’d say that most folks would love to see 64GB as the starting point. We all know the price differences on eMMC drives from 16GB to 32Gb is small and this is a place where we need to see steps taken forward.
A few years ago, the same thoughts surrounded RAM. Almost every Chromebook came with 2GB of RAM and it was a hassle to find the ones with 4GB. 8GB was basically nascent.
Now, most mid-tier Chromebooks come with 4GB of RAM and we have many more models with 8GB if you want to pay for it.
I suppose that is all we are wanting, here. If this move is made and we start seeing at least 32GB devices, I think everyone’s experience with Android will be better for it. And the better those experiences are, the more those people tell others, and the more those others consider one of your Chromebooks next time they are looking to purchase a personal computing device.
There are a lot of people excited about all this and even more people that have no idea that they will be excited about Chromebooks this year. They can become customers, but the existing customers are key. And those existing customers are asking for this.
The only question that remains, then, is will you listen? I sincerely hope so.