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Craptops, Part Deux

A while ago, I put together some thoughts on craptops.

As it stands, my opinion on this seemingly minor issue has not changed.

In fact, after this Christmas, I’m more resolute than ever.

I have discovered after trying very hard to change my mind that I’m not a swiper.  I’m a typer.

It all started again about 4 weeks ago when I looked for a tablet that I could buy my son for Christmas.  We didn’t want to spend $1,000.  We didn’t even want to spend $500.  The options dwindle quickly when you drop below that level.

You’re left with severl 7″ Samsung, Acer, Asus, Google Nexus and RIM options.

None fit the bill for a stubborn old fart like me.

I eventually chose something that was a very basic knock-off of the more prestigious tablets and boy, was I disappointed.

So … after a few hours of Crazy Birds for the boy and me trying to figure out how to install some basic apps to make it more friendly, especially for educational software, my wife and I decided to return it and trade up for a Google Nexus 7.

Bad decision number 2.  Too many limitations just make it far too frustrating for someone like me who’s stuck in the past.  Or hopeful of a more potent future for hand-held devices.

Here are just a few of the challenges we faced:

  • No default app installed for a camera and the camera was front facing.  There are only so many pictures that my son will want to take of himself before wanting to take a picture of something like, say, a landscape or building.
  • No ability to add or extend memory size
  • No external plugs.  Period.  No way to upload or save to your tablet except via wireless, which you may not always have.
  • No ability to run Flash.  I know:  this issue is pretty much universal.  Unfortunately, my son has a math app that is site-based that’s driven by Flash.  We won’t change that any time soon, so we need something that will run Flash.  Despite what Apple says and the rest of its minions.  I tried setting up Flash on this thing and many online geeks were optimistic it could be done.  I didn’t have such luck.

There were many other limitations and we eventually decided that we’d prefer to take back a ‘tool’ that cost $300 instead of trying to waste numerous hours ramming a square peg into a round hole.

My mission is still on to find a laptop I can confidently endorse, but in my view, none exist.

That’s why I was extremely excited to find – maybe stumble upon – the Google Chromebook.

There are waaaay too many cool features of this laptop that exceed expectations:

  • Price:  $200.
  • RAM & hard-drive memory sizes beyond any craptop levels
  • Lots of external plugs:  USB, HDMI, DSL and even a VGA connection
  • Size & weight:  smaller than most tablets, putting it on par with the most portable of portable devices

Only problem?  Not available in Canada.

C’mon guys.  Why do companies like Google always treat Canada like it’s Siberia’s armpit?

Looks like I’ll have to wait until the next time we’re in the US to pick one up and take a chance that we’ll be throwing $200 down the tubes, as they won’t recognize warranty in Canada.  They being tiny little electronics retailers like Best Buy that just happens to have a shop or two in Canada.  WTF?

Anyways, people please stop dumbing down the hardware industry by buying this junk.

Demand better.