Review: Samsung Chromebook Series 5 3G

One of Google’s many big ideas is Chrome OS, an operating system that essentially is a Web browser — nothing less, but nothing more. A Chrome OS computer, called a Chromebook, can’t install any software and it has very limited processing power and onboard storage. All the applications you use on a Chromebook are running “in the cloud,” which is to say they’re Web apps. Acer and Samsung are now shipping Chromebooks, and I recently spent some time working with Samsung’s latest model to see whether it has a place within my normal computing workday. The results weren’t particularly encouraging, unfortunately, though I think a Chromebook can be useful as a secondary way to access the Web around the home or office. Click through to to read my full run-down of the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 and how it stacked up in my tests.

Flash for Android 3.0 tablets is no “iPad killer”

Adobe Flash iconWow-weee! It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this site. Other than the RSS feed for my Fatal Exception column (to the right), I haven’t posted an update in nearly a year. I guess I must have been distracted.

To rectify that, then, take a look at my latest work for InfoWorld. This time it’s a review of Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0 tablets, and the results were hardly inspiring. Although Flash is still technically in beta for Android 3.0 as of this writing, it’s available on the Android Market for any Android 3.0 device owners to download. I did just that on a Motorola Xoom — the first Android 3.0 device to hit the market — and set out to see how it worked in real-world situations browsing Flash content. I was almost universally disappointed (though Flash Player certainly does a good job of displaying animated ads)! Click on over to read about the various frustrations I encountered in my trial run with Flash on a tablet, and why I think Apple’s decision not to support Flash on iOS devices makes a whole lot of sense.

First look at Office 2010

As a writer, I spend most of my life in Microsoft Office. Love it or hate it, Office has become the gold standard for business productivity software. So when the good folks at InfoWorld gave me the opportunity to take the upcoming version for a test drive, I jumped at the chance. My first impressions are largely favorable. Microsoft keeps making steady improvements here and there, and the suite is more polished and consistent than ever. On the downside, each new release seems to tie Office ever closer to back-office products like SharePoint and Exchange, which means customers will be locked in to Microsoft software more than ever. Click on over to InfoWorld for the rest of my thoughts.

Taking netbooks through their paces

Asus Eee PC 901A new category of low-cost, ultra-lightweight laptops has appeared recently. It began with the Asus Eee PC and spawned a slew of imitators, including the Acer Aspire ONE, the HP Mini-Note, and the MSI Wind — not to mention a somewhat-confusing array of Eee PC models to follow the original.

HP 2133 Mini-Note

These devices have mostly been marketed to students and home users, with Web browsing and light computing tasks in mind. I wanted to see whether they might also be attractive to business users. So I packed up an HP Mini-Note and Asus’s latest Eee PC 901 and headed off to the airport, with the plan to test each of them in real-world field conditions. My review for InfoWorld, published today, details the results of my trials. » More... »