Sunday, October 06, 2013

Chromebook + Chromecast = winner

In a recent test, I discoverd that my laptop was not fast enough to cast video from a browser tab to a Chromecast. The audio and video stuttered badly because, as you see here, the CPU was maxed out:

This was not surprising, since my laptop fails to meet Google's recommended specs for tab

But, I posted a query to the Chromecast community on Google Plus asking whether any Chromebooks could cast a video tab. I expected that the (very expensive) Google Pixel, which has an Intel i5 CPU, would be the only one that could, but I was wrong.

James Welbes commented that he was able to cast video tabs using his Samsung 550 Chromebook, which has a dual core Celeron processor. That led commenter Joe Phelps to speculate that "Chrome OS must have very little overhead." That makes a lot of sense -- it does not have to deal with things like overlapping windows and a local file system.

The next generation of Chromebooks has been announced.

I expect that they will all cast tabs well. If that is the case, and one of them has a decent keyboard and screen, I will use it in my den for watching video and in my Chromecast-equipped office for work.

The Pixel was a proof of concept and the new Chromebooks are the first production machines. I will still use laptop and desktop machines, but the Chromebook will get plenty of use.

Update 11/26/2013

Acer announced a $300 touch screen Chromebook today. (I believe the only other one is the expensive Google Pixel).  This sounds really cool, but it only has 2GB of RAM.  I keep a lot of tabs open so suspect that would be a performance constraint.