It’s Sunday morning. I’m sitting here listening to ambient music and drinking my coffee. There are no less than four Chromebooks within an arm’s reach, not counting the one I’m currently using. Maybe I’m being too contemplative today but I can’t shake the feeling that Chromebooks are getting boring. For most of you, that’s good. For me, not so much.
Why I don’t write about Chromebooks daily or several times a day
If you’re a regular follower of this site, you know that I don’t write several Chromebook posts each day. Often there is a day or two, if not longer, between posts. At least more recently. Did you ever wonder why?
I’ll tell you a secret. When I covered the smartphone and tablet industry from 2006 through 2015, I was writing up to 10 posts a day. I wrote nearly 10,000 articles during that time. And it negatively impacted my health severely. So when I launched this site in 2018, I promised myself not to repeat that lifestyle. I didn’t want to be on a treadmill that never stops, as it were.
I also made another decision in 2018. I made a conscious effort to not waste your time.
Meaning: If there wasn’t something worth writing about it a given day, I wouldn’t write that day. I wanted to focus on providing value in terms of quality over quantity. I may not have always met that goal, but I have always tried.
And that gets me to my major thought today.
It feels like Chromebooks are getting boring
Since returning from our Utah hiking vacation (pictures here for those interested), I’ve seen little to really write about when it comes to Chromebooks.
Let me share a brief list of stories published on other sites, to illustrate this. And note: I am not pointing out these articles to suggest the sites shouldn’t have written these articles.
Most of these people are personal friends, or at least acquaintances, and I respect what they do. They’re good at it and I’m not questioning their editorial content choices in any way. I’m simply sharing what news has hit my radar to illustrate my take that Chromebooks are getting boring:
- Your Chromebook is getting a modern look: Rounded corners inch closer to release
- Top 10 Chromebooks with a backlit keyboard [2023 edition]
- Does Acer Chromebook Spin 714 have LTE?
- Countless articles surrounding Chromebook Prime Day or other discounted deals
Yeah, I included my own article on the last bullet point because I’m in this camp too. I could write one or more of these articles daily but I won’t. I try to focus on the best, or highest value, deals for Chromebooks that I’d actually recommend. Not some of these refurbished, sub $100 Chromebooks that won’t get ChromeOS security updates within a matter of months or a year.
The point is: Where’s the excitement?
It’s good that Chromebooks are getting boring
In a very tangible way, it’s actually great if Chromebook are getting boring.
This means that the devices and the operating system have matured to the point where they’re close to on-par with other platforms. There are some activities and use cases where a Chromebook will always be second fiddle to a solid Mac or Windows machine. That’s the nature of a browser-centric, simple to use operating system.
Obviously, I’m OK with that. And so are plenty of you since if you’ve chosen to use a Chromebook.
Go back five short years ago and both Chromebooks, and perhaps more importantly, ChromeOS, had plenty of room for maturity. Heck, look at the original Chrome OS in 2009 and this was even more evident.
But only a handful of years ago, there weren’t many high-end Chromebook models to choose from unless you wanted to pay $1,000 to $1,500 for a Google-branded Chromebook, for example. Now there’s a wide range of such devices from Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung, many of which offer far more capabilities at a much lower cost.
ARM-based Chromebooks started the market but quickly faded with Intel-based options. Here too, we’ve seen progress as great devices powered by chips from MediaTek and Qualcomm and have made inroads. I think here of the original Lenovo Duet Chromebook in 2020 as a turning point. Since then, we’ve seen a successor Duet 3 and a superb Duet 5, for example, not to mention some of the newer Acer Chromebooks with ARM chips.
Hardware aside, we’ve seen a slew of new features and updates to ChromeOS. I try to find and cover those as soon as I can to give you a heads up on what’s coming down the pike. And recently, I’ve shared great works-in-progress, or completed features, such as the Virtual Desks button on the Shelf, an updated Google Password Manager app, and Android app streaming.
So even in this perceived by me “boring” state, things are still improving. However, there are fewer improvements over time and they’re typically small bits of extra value. Still, I see that as a good thing. For you.
Boring Chromebooks aren’t good for me
Flip the perspective from you to me and you’ll see why this might not be a good thing. I’ve already said I don’t want to waste your time with “fluff” pieces, just so I can make a buck or two. And trust me, I’m not setting the world on fire when it comes to income. Ad rates have been flat or down for at least two years and usually reliable traffic sources are receding. I never set out to make gobs of income here. I simply want to have a relaxed, low-stress activity that pays my bills.
So writing low-value stories isn’t in my wheelhouse. Nor is covering every super incremental change to devices or software. With Chromebooks and ChromeOS having matured this far, that’s mostly what the changes are. Incremental.
Maybe this is all due to my mental health health challenges. It’s no secret that I’ve been clinically depressed since my 2011 diagnosis. Perhaps the last few weeks are a direct result of this insidious condition. If so, I’ll likely bounce back like I always do after an indeterminate amount of time.
I don’t think my mental state is the main driver for my thoughts though. Or at least I don’t think so.
We’re at a point where Chromebooks and ChromeOS are truly viable options, more so than ever before. That’s because the biggest improvements have already occurred. And that’s a good thing for consumers like you. Perhaps I just need to recharge my creative juices to see beyond the boring when it comes to Chromebooks.
I know one thing: It’s not the next iteration of processors that will add a few hundred clock cycles per second to boost performance a negligible amount. Nor is the soon likely widespread availability of Steam on Chromebooks that will offer average-to-low experiences on all but the oldest, simplest PC games. At least on currently available devices.
Maybe I’m wrong on these, and other unnamed examples but right now, I can’t help but feel that Chromebooks are getting boring.