back to article RIP charging bricks: $279 HP Chromebook 11 charges via USB

HP has unveiled a new Chromebook that it says borrows design ideas from Google's posh Chromebook Pixel - while still keeping the price tag under $300. Unlike HP's earlier Chromebooks, which you'd be hard-pressed to tell apart from the company's Pavilion laptops at first glance, the HP Chromebook 11 was designed "in close …

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Why?

It's $80 more than the Samsung, a year later and doesn't have the USB3 port

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Re: Why?

Worse - I don't want a chromebook, I want a pc laptop I can switch to being a chromebook.

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Re: Why?

However, it being HP there is a likelihood of compliance to the GPL including publishing the config for the kernel as well as a viable source tree tarball. So that you (or Ubuntu/Debian) can actually build a viable fully functional working kernel for it.

There is still _NOTHING_ published as required by the GPL for sammy's handywork. Contributions to 3.5+ do not count. The machine ships with 3.4 so Sammy should actually publish its changes to 3.4 for all to see. None of that is available.

So the clusterf*** with Exynos around AOSP and recent crop of Google devices is clearly not an exemption - it is the "Sammy Rule" which in English should translate to "we comply with the law only when we feel like it".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why?

Are people still fool enough to buy these things?

I know they are cheap, but they lack real practicality for 98% of the population.

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Re: Why?

Yeah, because 98% of the population doesn't use their computer for Social Media and watching cat videos.....wait a minute!

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MJG

Re: Why? @AC 6:25

Actually I think 90% of the population would be more than happy with a computer that doesn't 'slow' down over time, keeps itself updated, gives them access to their webmail, facebook, online shopping, and the more and more HTML5 games that they play (though probably more play games on their phones, etc).

It's not my thing, but I think the chromebooks (even without Linux put on, as I would do if I got one), actually serve more home peoples usage. I know my girlfriend would get away with one, as she does EVERYTHING online on her phone, pretty much through the browser, and I'm sure theres plenty of people out there.

I don't think the readership of the The Register is the target audience for these devices, doesn't mean there isn't a significant market for something like it though. The advantages of a tablet, with a keyboard, etc.

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Re: Why? @AC 6:25

"I don't think the readership of the The Register is the target audience for these devices"

Speak for yourself. I have been looking for a netbook for ages and these fit the bill (they should take a full GNU/Linux install, assuming no lock-down).

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MJG

Re: Why? @AC 6:25

@The BigYin

Yeah I kind of meant as they are, tbh if I was in the market for a small portable laptop (which I would love to, but can't justify), I might get one and shove a Linux on it too. I meant as a Chromebook with the Chrome OS we're probably not the target market :) (Though even then I'd have a play)

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Re: Why?

(1) Install Chrome under the OS of your choice

(2) Run Chrome

(3) Login in to your Google account

You now have a PC which is also a chromebook. Congratulations.

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Re: Why?

Yes, anything you can do yourself with a Chromebook, you can also do with a PC running the Chrome browser, and yes that PC is ultimately more flexible, but you don't get the zero maintenance aspect which is really the whole point of the Chromebook.

I got my eldest son a Chromebook, and thus far I've not had to do anything at all with it myself, whereas with a regular Windows laptop you can be certain he'd have managed to screw it up somehow.

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Pint

Re: Why?

It isn't that some people just want a Chromebook.

It's that some people are sick and tired of traditional Windows PCs. They want a laptop-like gadget to get online that does not include all the rigamarole of using a PC. Every time I turn on my fackin PC, all the software in the Universe barges online to check for updates. Yes, I set them all one by one not to do this, and then next time I manually update them one by one they all reset the setting. It gets to the point where I'll turn the PC on on a Tuesday in the hope that I might be able to use it by Thursday. PCs suck.

Some people want NOT a PC.

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Re: Why?

I don't watch cat videos, I use my computer properly by erm watching Russian Deathcrash videos :(

"Yeah, because 98% of the population doesn't use their computer for Social Media and watching cat videos.....wait a minute"

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Re: Why? @AC 6:25

I think Chromebooks are a great thing for some people- though I'm not convinced by the "PCs get slower" argument. I've seen Android phones and tablets get slow over time, and I hear people say the same things about old IOS devices too, it's only less noticable because people are used to upgrading every 2 years. If anything, I'd argue it's more the other way round, given that people can use PCs for years, something unthinkable for phones unless it's a cheap dumb one.

Issues such as increased software requirements from the OS, apps or webpages apply to any platform. One of the biggest problems for Windows seems to be people who end up installing ridiculous numbers of browser plugins. If Chrome is immune to this, one could improve things by installing Chrome on any PC they use.

My biggest dislike of ChromeOS was how much of the apps in the Chrome Store didn't work, due to needing native plugins only available for other platforms(!) Still, I'm glad to see alternatives for low cost laptops, and devices with keyboards, rather than just tablets.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why?

Err... I completely disagree. It's absolutely good enough for 98% of the population. Even for a power-user like myself (ex-coder for a fortune 500 computer company, linux geek for 20 years, etc), it is good enough for 98% of what even I need to do.

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Mmmm.... ChromeBooks!

Or as I prefer to call them (after a short reinstall) - Linuxbooks

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Re: Mmmm.... ChromeBooks!

Yes, after a quick install of a FULL operating system they ought to work quite nicely. Just al long as they don't have the UEFI garbage.

Oh, does Microsoft get paid for computers that don't get windows installed on them??

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Does Microsoft get paid?

Probably not, as it doesn't appear to have an SD card slot and hence presumably has no reason to support the FAT filesystem, for which MS has been extracting licensing fees.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mmmm.... ChromeBooks!

UEFI is better than the old crappy BIOS crap.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mmmm.... ChromeBooks!

I don't know if the days when MS got paid a license fee for every computer sold or the dealer got cut off still apply.

Given MS's history, probably does.

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Re: Mmmm.... ChromeBooks!

There is nothing in the Samsung one stopping you doing a Linux install to the SD card. You can even do a software-reset to recover the original chromeOS.

As chrome is a Linux kernel you can even run a chroot linux environment at the same time and hot key between them. https://github.com/dnschneid/crouton

But since most of us here already have more PCs/laptops around the house than we have pairs of shoes. I leave mine as a nice lightweight instant-on web browsing machine - it's what its built for.

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Re: Mmmm.... ChromeBooks!

"As chrome is a Linux kernel you can even run a chroot linux environment at the same time and hot key between them. https://github.com/dnschneid/crouton"

This may actually be a pretty acceptable solution. A year or two ago, I ran a chroot linux install on a droid 2 global (much lower spec -- single 1.0ghz ARMv7, 512MB RAM). Just to see how things would run. Needless to say the screen on it is far too small since it's a phone and not some tablet or arm notebook, so I ran X over ssh to a remote machine and started some stuff up. It ran quite acceptably (although I'm sure it wouldn't have enough RAM to run a bunch of stuff at once; the Chromebook has 2GB though.) You could ignore Chrome if you want and run Linux, or use Chrome's browser and so on, but switch to Ubuntu or whatever to get things done that Chrome doesn't support.

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Re: Mmmm.... ChromeBooks!

@Yet Another Anonymous coward

I have one running a frankenstein off the internal disk (debian with CrhomeOS kernel because Samsung and Google violate the GPL and do not post sources for their handywork). "Most of us already have more PCs" - true, however most of us do not have one that can last 7h on one battery charge, cost 250£ and have 1360x768+ resolution. That is MacBook Air territory.,

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Re: Does Microsoft get paid?

Even if it idoes have (micro)SD there's still no reason to support FAT - I'm happily using f2fs on my sd cards

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Anonymous Coward

Netbook trash!!

Netbook trash all over again.......

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Netbook trash!!

It's about time for more netbook trash.

The wifi on my trusty eee 701 has gone flakey, I've recently had to re-solder the joints between the power jack back onto the motherboard, and the battery life is getting pretty poor.

I need another machine to stick gentoo linux on to, so I can carry on getting my fix of waiting 24 hours whilst it re-compiles chromium every time there's an update....

:-)

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Re: Netbook trash!!

I still adore my Eee901 with its better screen, keyboard and battery life, but still ultra portable.

Ah Gentoo - 24 hours of compiling to spent 2.4% more time in the idle loop :)

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Re: Netbook trash!!

get one of these and put linux on it.. bit more pricey, much better though...

http://reviews.cnet.com/tablets/asus-transformer-book-t100/4505-3126_7-35827544.html

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I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

USB offers a tiny amount of power compared to a brick. Even with the brick laptops take a couple hours to charge, you'd be lucky to get a charge off USB in 12 hours!

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Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

So you think you have to charge a mobile phone via a computer's USB port?

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Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

Did you not read the article? My post had nothing to do with charging phones via a computer's USB port.

The article says they're going to charge the Chromebook via a micro-USB port. The USB spec only allows it to deliver a very limited amount of power, so it will take a long time to fully charge the Chromebook's battery. An AC charging brick typically sends 5-8 amps at 12v and thus charges over an order of magnitude more quickly than USB specs would allow. Phones that charge via an AC->USB charger adapter (like Android and iPhones do) charge rather slowly because of the small amount of power that USB can deliver, and they have batteries far smaller than the Chromebook.

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Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

True plain USB power is just 500mA but later specifications allows the device to negotiate with the controller what power it really requires, so if your latest tablet/phone needs 1A or more then the host can tell it what it week provide safely. If in doubt then it stays at 500mA.

Remember the 'USB condom' article the other week? It works by having a small device sit between the host & device which then passes the power negotiation through but nothing else, allowing higher power charging but no data. A cable with just the power lines won't do as the device will just stick at 500mA.

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Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

Not saying that it is the case but it could be the same trick that Asus did on their TF line.

Extra powerful usb charger and modified usb cable. Once the charger realised that it was connected to the TF it would bump the power to 2.5 amps. Failing that, anything else connected would only be served the usual 1 or 0.5 amps.

Smart solution though not very elegant. The charger though usb nominally still was needed for the TF to charge in less than an eternity.

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Pint

Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

Just as foolish: "...so you can carry a single charger to power up your Chromebook and your phone, tablet, e-reader, and other devices."

Has the writer ever actually travelled with several gadgets? The e-reader probably won't need charging for weeks.

If one brought only a single charger for several gadgets (chromebook, tablet, phone), then one might have to wake up at 2am and again at 5am to switch the "single charger" from one gadget to the next.

If one would like to sleep through the night, then one would want to bring moire than one charger.

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Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

Extra powerful usb charger and modified usb cable. Once the charger realised that it was connected to the TF it would bump the power to 2.5 amps. Failing that, anything else connected would only be served the usual 1 or 0.5 amps.

No, you've got that the wrong way around.

The charger always makes the full 2.5A available. The device has to detect that the charger is capable of delivering all that current before trying to draw more than the basic 500mA (so as not to damage power sources that cannot supply a higher current).

If you connect a normal, non-negotiating, low-power device to the TF's charger it will only draw 500mA, which is fine because the charger has that and more available.

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Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

I think the point here is that the hardware inside these Chromebooks is more akin to a mobile phone or tablet than a regular laptop.

The Samsung Exynos-based Chromebook had a battery capacity of around 4000mAh, which is less than the 4600mAh that my Galaxy Note 8 has, and that charges fine using a microUSB charger (about 3 hours). I'd imagine the HP Chromebook has a similar sized battery to the Samsung.

I have several 2A USB chargers, and I'd expect they'd all charge this Chromebook perfectly reasonably, and the benefit of not having to tote around a power brick is very compelling for me.

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Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

"If one brought only a single charger for several gadgets (chromebook, tablet, phone), then one might have to wake up at 2am and again at 5am to switch the "single charger" from one gadget to the next."

Haven't you ever seen a multi port USB charger? I've one that can charge 4 USB gadgets on the go, and it's still much smaller and lighter than the average laptop power brick.

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Pint

Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

So three or four gadgets with ~4000mA-hr batteries each, plugged into one 2A charger. 12,000 to 16,000+ mA-hr/ 2,000mA = six to eight+ hours to recharge (assuming all the gadgets are turned off, a false assumption). It might just work, if you get to bed early enough (another false assumption).

I'd rather just drop a couple more changers into the gadget bag. The commonality of USB charging is better applied in terms of providing back-up charging options.

Also, one might wish to have one gadget (smartphone) bedside for BBC On-Line listening pleasure, while the other gadgets will need to be spread around the desk.

My point remains valid - proposing to bring only a "single charger" is not really a sign that the author is an experienced multiple-gadgets traveler. I am (very much so, carry-on bag brimmed with gadgets), and I think it's a daft suggestion to bring only one "single charger" because it might just barely be feasible given many false assumptions.

Your point about multiport chargers is a valid backplanation, but it is not recommended.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

I just bought a cheap charger from Amazon which is no larger than a lot of phone chargers and has two outlets. It can charge a 7 inch tablet and a phone together at acceptable speed.

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Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge? @JeffyPooh

6-8 hrs to charge!?

Well, if it's wrong to assume it's wrong to assume that gadgets would off when charging (fair enough), why do you assume that every single one of them would be drained down to 0 and needing the full monty to re-charge!?

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Re: I wonder how long it takes to fully charge?

Come on, the only backplanation here is you changing the scope and having 4 4000mAh batteries to charge in one night, rather changing the rules a bit. It is also fairly unlikely that you'd have to charge all 4 devices from empty every night, though I do accept it's a possibility.

When I recently went on holiday with my family, we took 2 USB chargers. One was a 4 port USB charger, and the other a single port USB charger. Yet we managed to keep the following devices charged:

1 iPhone

1 iPad

2 Android Phones

2 Android tablets

The largest battery by far was in the iPad, and that usually used the single port charger. The others all used the 4 port charger. Keeping everything charged wasn't an issue. Yes, I had two chargers, but that was 2 chargers spread across 6 devices, and was perfectly sufficient.

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Too long to charge?

My macbook air pulls in about 30 watts while charging.

Most microusb chargers are 1amp at around 5 volts. At best, 5volts 2amps. Thats 10 watts best case scenario. So at least 3 times slower to charge :/

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Who had the idea anyway

that USB is a power supply? Per specification it provides 500mA @5V.

And then people use a 7-port passive hub in the office, because they charge their mobile with that and plug in their USB-powered desk fan and their USB-powered speakers and their USB-powered moodlight and their USB-powered webcam and their USB-powered cupwarmer and their USB-powered WiFi stick. And then ring and ask you why their camera, mobile/cellphone, cigarette lighter (oh, yes) doesn't work.

I'm waiting for the day that someone asks for an USB-powered jump starter for a diesel Range Rover.

I'll tell them that they're all Bluetooth now.

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Re: Who had the idea anyway

So, you're against doing away with a dedicated power brick for a device that needs a DC supply?

I agree that USB is probably somewhat underproportioned for this kind of thing but the battery is only 30Wh so only a little bit bigger than most phones so charging shouldn't be any worse than it is for a phone. But I do wish the industry would come up with a USB+ standard which would support higher current draw for this kind of thing.

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Pint

Re: Who had the idea anyway

"... come up with a USB+ standard..."

'The nice thing about Standards is that there are so many from which to choose.'

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Holmes

@ Charlie Clark - Re: Who had the idea anyway

> . . .

But I do wish the industry would come up with a USB+ standard which would support higher current draw for this kind of thing.

<

You didn't get my grudge against this: I'll make it clearer.

It's Universal Serial Bus, not Unlimited Sower Bupply.

Has anyone ever wanted to run a HiFi of a RCA socket? Does an antenna plug provide the power for your radio*? Do you expect your router to get it's power from the ADSL line? You wouldn't expect your smart TV to run off power-over-ethernet, would you?

It's a data connection, albeit with a bit, a little bit, of supply for a flash drive or so.

Not a power outlet.

* Yes, I know; crystal sets and the like. Different thing.

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It's an ARM...

Regarding power to run this thing, it's an ARM. It probably won't charge all that fast, but to get 6 hour battery life, I think the battery is also very small so it may not take as long as you'd expect. The power use of these would be very low compared to what you are expecting. Some Atom netbooks (with GMA500 GPU) were down to 5W, with ones with regular intel graphics over 10W. Typical portables will ship with 10-30W CPUs. This ARM uses a watt or two under full load, and can actually halt and go to under 0.1W usage idle (some x86 chips do this, others "idle" while still using several up to 10 or so watts of power.)

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Re: It's an ARM...

So: 1amp charger, at 5 volts = 5Watts of power

10 - 30 Watt CPU means 5 - 25 Watt deficit...

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lenovo tablet 2

My eBay bargain Lenovo charges over micro-USB. Even using the supplied 2A charger, I don't get anywhere near a full charge during my typical 8 hour night of sleep. Nice to only have to put one charger in my bag for my stuff and be able to easily charge off a 12v cigarette lighter adapter.

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Would make a nice Linux machine but...

1360x768 res?

When mid-range phones have better res than a laptop it's a fail.

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Re: Would make a nice Linux machine but...

Well, maybe, but mid-range phones have high resolution screens for bragging rights, not actual usability. The point of this is that it's large enough to have something actually readable on the screen.

Though I agree it's depressing how few affordable laptops have screens with a higher resolution, particularly at 13".

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