Top 5 features we want on Chromebook machines!

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This feature article was inspired by the community, by those features (or their lack, thereof!) that we all miss in our Chromebooks; Chromebook users, aficionados, those who want to try the system but haven’t already because they’re waiting for a certain feature (and Mac users in disguise!) have all chipped in online so, we thought we’d aggregate all that into this blog post. 

We also want to ask you too, if you’d like, to contribute to the Google Plus page (that prompted us to write this article!) or leave a wish in our own comments section below; whichever you prefer.

Features we want on our Chromebook!
Features we want on our Chromebook!

Better video editing capability

We can already edit images on a Chromebook. But video is a whole different story. Indeed, video editing is a sorely needed feature, a fully fledged software suite, one that could at least compare to a lite version of Pinnacle Studio or Adobe Premiere Elements. The video editing arsenal is improving. For now, can make use of a bit of a cool online video creation platform called WeVideo and a few other video productivity suites.

Also, true machine based video editing would require tenfold more powerful machines which would go against the grain of the current Chromebook machines lineup. With the cloud capable of acting like a video rendering/editing farm and a Chromebook as a thin client, it sure could be done… On the condition that there are enough users to make it feasible for such a feature to become available.

Chromebooks with better displays and better Google Drive integration

The truth is that, both in terms of displays as well as the cloud, things could be lots smoother and user focused, better organized and improved. Without the intention of being snide, I would also try to comment on my own experience with The Drive, which I found to grow on me as I kept using it. Basically, Google Drive asks you to think a little different than how you’d think if you were using local hardware resources on your machine, for storage and so on. But ultimately, it grows on you, and Google’s interfacing becomes a bit of a second nature, with enough use.

But, definitely, there is space for improvement… Better screens are also on the radar, and have been quite for a while. Gone are the days when a Chromebook was only about underpowered, not that high quality displays; considering only a few newer entrants in the Chromebook hardware world, the HP Chromebook 11 and 14, and the Acer C 720 and 720P with touch screen. All four of them feature better than average (quite good, actually) screens and great prices. And don’t forget the newly presented and already award winning Toshiba Chromebook. It’s clear to see that Chromebook is becoming the new standard in terms of screen quality and also, down to earth pricing.

Should we desire that Chromebooks ran .exe files?

Well, granted, that would make a Chromebook into a more versatile machine; if that ever was a high point in Google’s book (sic!), or granted, if legally that was even possible, though the amount of infringement of Microsoft (or others!) patents would be unending, But how about Chrome specific applications, standalone installables outside the confines of the web? This might be a great addition for some, since it is already possible (and plausible) in the more or less functional offline mode that some apps have; I do think that developing hardware installed applications might be a branch of development for Google to truly consider, especially if they want to attract power users, those who require some form of non cloud, competitive productivity suites.

Longer battery lives!

Let’s not forget, all manner of gadgetry, laptops and netbooks, slates and smartphones and everything in between could do with this one! However, to give the Caesar what is rightfully his, I’ll also add that Chromebooks are already some of the better laptops/netbooks out there, in terms of battery life. Partly because, well, we rarely have the chance to put them to their paces, but also because reputable name brands do pack them with batteries that will last the 6 to 7 hours that have come to be known as the “all day’ battery life cycle. Surely, though, some of the developers give up on packing their Chromebooks with heftier cells to keep prices down, which I think, may make more sense for some of the budget oriented users. Though surely, the Chromebook in many of its iterations, is one of the better battery life alternatives out there.

And finally, our own Chromebook hardware (secret!) wish…

Android Apps support or integration on the Chromebook

Why? Well, that would extend the usability of the OS, as the Android environment is ripe(r) with apps, more developers and lots of cool, single purpose apps, the kind that do one thing but do it very well. It’s also, I think an arbitrary decision or, rather, a politics infused decision from Google’s part not to standardize these two OS environments, which lends itself to a longer discussion about platform hedging and the future of these two OSes as platforms, Chrome and Android.

Nonetheless, I’d also like to know what Chromebook features you desire, from a software or hardware point of view, so let us know, in the comments below…

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33 Comments

  1. Juan Miranda says

    It would be amazing if we could run android apps in the cloud via Chromebooks which automatically synced with our android versions of the apps.

    1. Richard Prior says

      Yes, Yes Yes…… once all those Google Play android apps are available to the Chromebook, I’ll buy one…. not before, the current apps available are too limited, just as Blackberry users are confined to a very limited list of apps.

  2. Ben Woods (Forboding Angel) says

    Running EXE files on a chromebook? Dude… chrome os is linux, not windows. Ugh, the fail in that paragraph hurts my soul.

    1. Ben says

      If .exe files shouldn’t run on a chromebook because its linux, why do so many linux users use wine and crossover to run .exe files? Honestly, I’m surprised they mentioned this. Are you hinting at something chromebook.net?

      1. claudio crabini says

        “exe” it’s also a medium for crackers to install Viruses and such…I would love a solid OS that is permanent position in a ROM that no matter what is done to the machine, it cannot be erased. kinda like my Android phone when I do a hard reset… I remember the days of my Virus infected Windows Laptop with the tedious work of reformatting hard drive and making sure you got all remnants of virus off the drive, I have never got a virus on my Android phone but I knew of people who had, and all I had to do was a “Hard Reset” and Walah! …Problem Solved!

      2. Riberto Rivero, Jr. says

        I have been a full-time Linux user for over a decade.
        I think I used wine 2 or 3 times the first six months I started using Linux.
        As I learned and became more comfortable and adept at using Linux, there is NOTHING I can NOT do with Linux. I have a Linux desktop that has not been turned off in 26 months. I think it was 2007 the last time I used Windows?

        NOW, since I got my first Chromebook, It has gotten to the point that I use my Linux laptops less than 5 minutes a day. I use a Chromebook for everything else.
        Keep it coming and Chrome it.

        1. Ben says

          And they now are running windows files on Chrome OS! Sly hint, Google.

    2. Riberto Rivero, Jr. says

      Funny how a LOT immigrants who had to leave their country and chose to come to live and work at the USA. Then they want to convert their new US home town into their old country.
      Some demand the same language, architecture, street signs, customs, music and such.
      There is NOTHING wrong with keeping alive your old traditions, language and customs.
      Diversity is good. But if you came here it was for a chance to improve, grow and prosper.

      The same happens with a lot of those OTHER computer users.
      Chromebooks are NOT MAC’s or Windows machines, THANK GOODNESS!
      There is nothing wrong with making some tweaks, adjustments or improvements but please leave out .EXE along with viruses and trash.

      THANKFULLY There are no fruit logos or glass panes on my Chromebook.
      THANK YOU.

      1. Ben says

        Yes, but the reason it’s on here is because Google just announced support for it.

        Very good way to defend chrome books not having .exe files, but since that won’t be true for much longer, unnecessary.

  3. Bill Carson says

    AFAIK the chrome web store has extensions that would work essentially as an exe

  4. Andrew Baker says

    Hey Ben, thanks for your comment. The point here is not to run .exe files, but Chromebook specific installable applications. 🙂

  5. Mark Mac Laren says

    One feature I would love to see is better voice recognition and dictation. Just got the chrome book. Am able to get it to recognize one sentence, but no more. Wants to adjust the mic settings, but how to adjust and where. What’s the best app or apps to be able to dictate a 3 paragraph 1 page letter, and how to set it up ?Also is there any special headset or mic needed. Thanks, Mark

  6. Aleksandr Vasilenko says

    Run .exe files, how about no. ChromeOS is Linux, what Google should do is make it easier to install Linux programs. (without having to switch to xfce desktop I mean)

  7. Thanh Nguyen (阮天青) says

    I don’t see video editing coming as a ‘chromebook’ deal. If anything, it’ll be integrated into YouTube. As for Chrome Apps-

    I’d prefer that Google kept it confined to the Chrome App Store. I don’t think providing externally installed items, similar to exes on Windows, is the point of ChromeOS. Sure, it’d be nice- but expect to start seeing viruses and other assorted malware flavors pop up on that route. It’s already possible to install extensions and apps locally, provided you have access to the source code- another way of preventing malware, as the internals can be looked at and evaluated. There are really only two ways to maintain security- being a little strict with installs, as we have on CrOS, or being obscure enough that no one cares (like many desktop linux distros).

    I don’t think we need to look at ‘hardware installed apps’, in the sense that you’re thinking. The cloud sync’d offline apps are sufficient, and we haven’t seen everything to come out of that end. HTML and JS are rather easy, so we’re seeing more of that, but PNaCl and NaCl are certainly there to provide a lot of that computational ‘muscle’ that we’d expect out of more traditional computers. Problem there is, you need to have better hardware to start offering more local services, and in order for there to be a reason to have better hardware, you’d have to have apps that take advantage of local resources more.

    Android is an iffy point. I can see support being added from Google, provided that the legal issues around the use of Java/Dalvik between Google and Oracle are sorted out in Google’s favor. However, if we consider that +Sundar Pichai replaced +Andy Rubin in Android (Pichai being from the Chrome team), it’s fairly safe to say that we’ll actually see the opposite- where Android becomes more and more like ChromeOS, and Chrome apps running on Android.

    Overall, I think a lot of the direction that ChromeOS is going to move in is less dependent on hardware, and more dependent on developers and applications being released. We can probably count on more power Chromebooks with better displays staying outside of the trail unless we start seeing a ‘real’ demand, rather than a ‘i want better stuff’ demand. When developers start providing software analogues to Photoshop, Premiere, Office…etc we’ll start seeing movement. Placing all the pressure on Google to introduce new capability isn’t what we need- we need a healthy ecosystem with a plethora of 3rd party developers and competitive apps.

  8. Colin Chick says

    Affordability in Australia! My one big wish! I can get a decent, though basic, Win 8.1 laptop for the same price (circa AU$400). Sigh.

  9. Ryan Metz says

    A better image viewer, the ability for chrome to open local stored images like GIF’s.

    Working Bluetooth on Acer C7, does not detect phone, nor does USB detect phone

    1. Ruben Casillas says

      I REALLY agree with this. While it may not be a very important feature I hate not being able to view animated gifs (I mean for them to actually work). Also I can’t believe larger storage space didn’t make the list. 16gb is nowhere near enough storage space. We need at least 64gb. That can hold plenty of high quality videos and photos while still being “little” enough to emphasize the Google centric could computing that the Chromebook is known for.

      1. Riberto Rivero, Jr. says

        Ruben,

        I found myself wanting a chromebook with a larger ram (4-8) Gigs and a larger SSD 32 or 64 gigs. then I grabbed a hand full of flash drives 16-32 and 64 Gigs.
        I rather keep those pictures or videos (I don’t want anyone to know I have) in a flash drive rather than on my chromebook’s SSD.

        I just wanted to share that with you… 😉

    2. Ethan S. says

      You just need to enable the beta channel of chrome for this feature. It was never advertised when you bought it so please don’t complain too hard if it’s not working as expected.

  10. Brett says

    Music Manager for Google Play is the biggest headache. I’m a simple user; not much video or photo editing; some web site maintenance and php or html coding. Most of the stuff I do is web based so I COULD be using a PC, but a CB is faster, less expensive to buy, and easier to maintain for us.

  11. je says

    Direct connect for a printer, this is huge for business and would accelerate adaptation instantly

    1. Riberto Rivero, Jr. says

      That is something I second you on.
      It would be great if I could use my bluetooth or portable printers with my chromebooks.
      Thanks for bringing it up!

  12. Wayne Anon says

    Really would have thought the top two on this list would be more RAM and more Storage. Honestly, just make the machines more powerful!

  13. smokesccreen says

    I don’t have a pc. I use Android ND a Chrome book. Chrome book needs a Google music manager. Without it you cannot cast music with chrome cast and there isn’t one available now.

  14. Steve Powell says

    Would love a working offline Chrome app, POP or IMAP email client with multi account & multi provider support and a unified inbox.

  15. Jo says

    I don’t understand some of these ‘whishes’. Run . exe files? I think the writer of this article wants to make it a Windows machine. Better screens? That is BS too. The concept of the Chromebook is that it is cheap hardware for users that spend most time online. Making the screens better, would make the Chromebooks more expensive. I read many reviews where users asked for better screens but they don’t want to pay more. I think that is an unfair request.

  16. santhonysays says

    I would love Audacity on the Chromebook and a Good audio recorder.

  17. Rick Shortt says

    Being able to open and create encrypted zip files, both locally and in Drive, with the file manager would be awesome.

  18. Victor Hernandez says

    Being able to scan a document to a chromebook from a wireless printer all in one…

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