An Open Letter to Google: Why does the Pixelbook exist?

Image From: PCWorld

Dear Google,

I love Chrome OS. I really do. It’s fast, does everything I want it to do, and is affordable. But it feels like you are forgetting just who the target audience of this Operating System is for: People like me, people who need nothing more than a Web Browser and the occasional Android App.

On October 4, 2017, you went ahead and released something that makes no sense: The Pixelbook. Now, that’s not to say the concept is bad, I want you to produce a nice and decent device running your own software. I’m still waiting for the Pixel Watch, after all.

There’s just one problem: It’s overpriced. I’m not talking about in terms of hardware, I’m talking in terms of software. What can a $1,000 Chromebook do that a $300 Chromebook can’t do? Open more tabs? If I’m going to spend that much money on a laptop, I would want one running Windows 10 or macOS High Sierra. Or, at least, a fully functional Linux Distro.

I know there’s the obvious example of Google Assistant… that’s not lost on me, the Assistant and Pixelbook Pen were the things that made me consider maybe getting this laptop. However, Windows has Cortana, and macOS has Siri. Am I really going to spend an extra $700 just for the Google Assistant and support for the Pixelbook Pen? Not even the pen itself, that’s an extra $100.

No. No, I won’t, especially knowing that Google Assistant will be coming to more Chromebooks in the future.

This just seriously shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what your own Operating System was made for: The average person, one who doesn’t need anything more than a web browser and a couple Android apps. Again, someone like myself.

I am actually okay with having an on-brand notebook with a stylish look costing a little more than the average Chromebook. I really am. Plenty of people are willing to spend hundreds more on a product that’s just as good as another just because of a brand. But it’s usually not a $700 upcharge on brand alone. Maybe $200-300, and that’s a steep upcharge for a laptop that was built for the sole purpose of browsing the web.

The fact of the matter is, a Chromebook does not need an Intel Core i5 processor. It just doesn’t. A Chromebook with a Core i5 or a Core i7 can do 90% of the same tasks as a Chromebook with an Intel Celeron N3060 processor. I would know. I’m using one right now, as I’m writing this.

Yes, I get the occasional hiccup, but overall it’s much faster than the $800 Windows 10 based laptop I got from my High School and used for 4 years. If that $800 Windows 10 laptop was an $800 Chrome OS laptop, it not only would have served me quite well, but it could work for more than a decade. And guess what? I used it, primarily, for the Browser: Google Chrome. In fact, the only programs I used were programs that could be replaced with web apps. Even the AZMerit Testing Program could be used on a Chromebook.

So my question to you, Google, is this: Who is the Pixelbook for? Who would benefit from it? Why does the Pixelbook exist?

Now, I hear you’re going to add support for Linux apps in the near future. I commend this move to allow people with Pixelbooks to take further advantage of their faster system, but this is something you should have done before releasing a $1,000 Chromebook. If this device was $400 or less, I would probably be using it right now, and benefiting from Google Assistant. Those who already got it as it is right now are not benefiting from the extra processor power at all.

You need to remember who Chrome OS is for. Your recent ad attacking Windows and macOS for their error message issues, a problem that was solved long ago by both parties, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of just what makes Chrome OS stand out. Yes, it’s true we get less error messages, but that’s because we don’t use the same applications. Yes, it’s true your system isn’t as prone to malware, but that’s because it doesn’t run executables. Yes, it’s true your system is much faster, but that’s because it’s literally just a Web Browser packaged into an Operating System.

Once again, 90% of what can be done on a Pixelbook can be done on my own Chromebook. The only exceptions include a feature that is coming to my notebook soon, and support for a $100 pen that I will not be getting, instead opting for an AmazonBasic Stylus which, while not as feature-filled as a Surface Pen, Apple Pencil, or Pixelbook Pen by any stretch of the imagination, serves my purpose of taking notes in school quite well.

The only thing I substantively benefit from with Android App support is Pokemon TCG Online, NES Emulation, and Microsoft OneNote. That’s it. That’s all I need. And that’s why I use a Chromebook.

I don’t need an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor for that.

Sincerely,

Marco Salin

Update: I said in this post that the only things I substantively benefit from Android support is Pokemon TCG Online, NES Emulation, and Microsoft OneNote. That has changed. I no longer play Pokemon TCG Online on this thing, I’ve stopped running the emulator since finding my Nintendo 3DS and playing Super Mario Bros. on that, and I now use the online HTML5 version of Microsoft OneNote. The fact is, I can turn Android support off right now, and I wouldn’t lose out on anything.

As for Linux Apps, the only one I would use is ToonTown Rewritten.

98% of the things I do on here is through the Chrome Web Browser. I don’t need to spend $1000 on this kind of thing.

An Open Letter to CNN: Marketing to Millennials

Dear CNN,

I understand it’s difficult for you to deal with the fact that milennials like me enjoy shows from independent YouTubers over Corporate Media. However, your smear post about YouTube’s advertising system shows a clear misunderstanding of how it works. Either that, or you’re purposefully omitting this information for your smear.

I think we all understand which one of those I believe.

However, I’m going to come at you with a radical idea: Millennials are not a lost cause when it comes to live TV. I watch a few shows from the TYTNetwork. If they grabbed a TV channel through Dish, or even YouTube TV, that included all their shows like The Young Turks 2-Hour Live Broadcast, ThinkTank, TYT Sports, TYT Politics, What the Flick, Pop Trigger, TYT Interviews, Nerd Alert, Jimmy Dore, Secular Talk, Sam Seder, The News with Dan Rather, The Humanist Report, The Bill Press Show, and The Point, I would probably tune in on a regular basis.

And it’s not like I don’t watch Live TV at all. I watch Disney XD. I watch Boomerang. I watch BBC America. I watch Nickelodeon. I watch TruTV.

And the reason I started watching these channels are pretty clear. I liked Star vs. the Forces of Evil and Phineas and Ferb. Those shows are on Disney XD. So, I tune in to that channel to see much of their other content. This introduced me to Milo Murphy’s Law, Kick Buttouski, Mech-X4, Beyblade Burst, and even more. Yes, there are shows I’m not so fond of, but I tune in on a semi-regular basis, simply because I like the majority of their shows.

It would be the same with TYT Network. I watch their 2-hour broadcast almost daily when they come live. I watch Secular Talk. I watch The Jimmy Dore Show. I watch The Humanist Report. I started watching Disney XD on the basis of two shows. If The Young Turks got a TV channel that included each one of their shows, I’d easily tune in, and even be interested in many of their other shows in this way.

Yes, TYT has a Pluto TV channel, but it only includes, like, three of their shows, and often does reruns.

It could be the same way with CNN. Start including actual progressives in their network. Allow them to speak their mind without a filter. Cut a deal with Google to include Google AdSense on the TV Channel. Introduce some of your shows on YouTube through a YouTube Channel. I’d eventually check out one of the shows, and if it’s good I’ll like it. Eventually, I’ll check out some of the other shows on your network and eventually I’ll actually check out the CNN channel. If your content is genuinely good, I’ll tune in pretty regularly.

While I can’t speak for other millennials, I can tell you this marketing strategy will indeed work for me. It worked with Disney XD (their shows are on Netflix and Hulu). It worked with BBC America (Doctor Who on Netflix, occasionally watching Star Trek with my Mom). It almost worked with TYTNetwork (if they included all their shows on a better schedule, I’d tune in more often). It would certainly work with me.

And I bet you it would work with other millennials.

Sincerely,

Marco Salin