For all of their technological genius and massive resources, Google sure doesn’t know how to make hardware. It’s a problem that has plagued them for years but it seems to be best highlighted with the Chromebook Pixel.
Over at CNET, they were focused on one of the major bugs with the laptop – the challenge the device has with connecting to cameras. There’s good and bad that comes with having an operating system that is designed to be light and shareable. One of the bad parts is that you often miss some of the common accepted notions that other operating systems (and their users) take for granted.
Because it runs on what is essentially a souped-up browser, Chrome OS faces the kinds of difficulties that don’t plague other operating systems. The regular updates can be a two-headed coin. Changes are made regularly and the browser OS gets better more often than not and on-schedule. But it also means that if the browser’s performance is off during an update cycle, you’re stuck with that hit.
There are sacrifices that people are willing to make in order to get the proper size and portability they want out of mobile devices, but this is one that crosses the line. There’s no delete key. There’s no way to hack your way into having a delete key. There’s no caps lock key either (replaced by a persistent search button), but at least that can be fixed in settings.
It isn’t that the delete key is all that important. It only takes a few days of steady use for someone to get used to it and start using the backspace key for all of their error-correcting needs. That’s not the point. It’s about changing a paradigm by replacing it with greatness rather than reducing it with poor decisions. Google is one of the few companies that can and should change the way we operate technologically in this world. The Chromebook family should be an absolute gamechanger the way that many of the Apple devices have been in the last decade. Instead, they have a dud. The lack of a delete key isn’t the end of the world for its users, but it’s enough to point to a fundamental flaw in the way that Google handles hardware in general.