One More Thought on Chromebooks and Single-Purpose Devices

One of my favorite devices is the Sansa Clip. It’s the perfect MP3 player for the gym. It’s cheap, it’s tiny, it’s lightweight, it has a super long battery life. Everything about it just works. Maybe the best thing about it though is that it’s not my phone.

While any modern smartphone is more than capable of being a MP3 player, it comes with several disadvantages. If you break it, you break your phone. If you lose it, you lose your phone. It’s most definitely heavier and bigger. It uses your phone’s battery. And you can get interrupted with phone calls while working out.

To me, it’s well worth the $39.99 for the Clip. Case in point – I lost my original Clip about a month ago. It was probably three years old. I spent a few minutes looking for it but when it became evident that it was probably permanently lost, I just hopped on Amazon, ordered a new one, spent 15 minutes adding music to it when it arrived, and I was back in business.

I feel much the same way about the GPS in my car. While I could use my phone, it just seems simpler and more convenient to have a dedicated device just for navigating me around. Not to mention that a good GPS now a days is under $100.

Tying this back to my last post about the Chromebook: if the Chromebook was a $99 computer it would begin to make sense for everyone to have one…just because it’s a $99 computer. I’ve noticed that I treat my CR-48 totally differently than I do my laptop. It’s less valuable to me so I’m more willing to use it in situations I probably wouldn’t use my laptop: outside, on the train, while I’m eating, to read recipes while I’m in the kitchen cooking, etc. If all MP3 players like the Clip were $100+ I probably would just suck it up and use my phone. The low price point makes it expendable, which in turn makes it an awesome device. With a $99 Chromebook all of a sudden you overlook it’s shortcomings and see that it has a 3G connection, long battery life, and boots up almost instantly, and it becomes a pretty attractive device to have around just for the sake of having it. If Google doesn’t do it, someone else eventually will. ASUS has a $200 computer on the way. It’s just a matter of time before prices dip under $100.

7 comments on One More Thought on Chromebooks and Single-Purpose Devices

  1. Tim says:

    Very interesting post Adam, for a number of reasons.

    The point about the GPS I agree with, the only exception I have is a recent development for me. I’ve been driving in the DC metro area a lot recently and the traffic overlay that comes from 3G on my phone is an enormously helpful tool in avoiding the 1 hour 5 mile drive. Otherwise I rely on my cheap little Tom Tom for basic navigation. I suspect if I bought a better navigation unit it would have the traffic overlay, but I didn’t so it’s nice to have the option on my phone.

    Regarding the Chromebook, I think it would be a player at $199 I would consider it at that price, but $500 is just a little too steep for a machine with very limited function at the moment. I’m not one who needs to have the latest “it” toy, but I could totally see having a chromebook as a backup machine or just for very light work. The problem I have is I typically need at least one speciality application to get work done and operating exclusively from a browser would make it a pain. At $500 it’s a joke to me.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      At $500 itโ€™s a joke to me.

      I suspect that’s the way most people feel.

      Regarding the GPS, to your point I actually think that the Navigation on Android is better than almost any other GPS unit I’ve tried. The traffic overlay you mentioned, as well as the ability to speak an address or a destination with pretty high reliability. The reason I don’t use it is because it would drain my phone battery or I’d have to plug the phone into a charger, and it doesn’t mount easily, and also the phone itself then becomes more of a distraction if I’m getting texts and calls on the same device that is guiding me.

  2. Darrin says:

    I totally agree with you. I carry a iphone, 2nd generation ipod, and laptop with me when I leave the house. Yes the iphone trumps all three devices but if I lose or break it, I just lost my phone as well.

    All I need is a GPS. Google maps on your phone while driving is not safe. At all.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Darrin – sorry for the delayed reply, your comment got stuck in my SPAM filter for some reason.

      Yes, then there’s the safety issue of using your phone while driving. The Android Navigation is a little safer in that you can speak a destination to it, and it will guide you with directions…as opposed to Google Maps on the iPhone which (the last time I tried it) does neither. Still, there’s a safety issue involved in setting it up and then figuring out a place to mount it…and the distraction that could come with getting a text or call while doing all of this.

  3. Nev says:

    I’m leaving on a trip for Vancouver on Thursday…and tomorrow morning I’m gonna buy one of these Sansa clips.

    Love my little iPod shuffle….but simply adding/syncing songs is too confusing. I just wanna dump them on there with a USB connection.

    Thanks for the recommendation ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Awesome glad I could help Nev. It’s also great for dumping podcasts on there as well. You can use a micro SD card to add more storage too so it’s really flexible. You’ll have to let me know how you like it. Enjoy your trip!

  4. […] regularly, and partly just to say I did it. So I packed up a backpack with my CR-48 (another great use-case for a cheap computer), including the charger and a mouse, my lunch, plenty of water, and the usual safety stuff you […]

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