I am still playing around with the April 2012 Chromium build by Dell which I installed on a 4 year old Dell Mini 9 (Inspiron). One of the great things I have found is the offline collection in the Chrome Web store. All of these apps will run offline, which is handy since I use the Mini 9 on my commuter train and have no Web access.
Many of the initial apps I installed have remained. I have swapped some out though as I’ve come across better or offline versions of apps that do the same thing. My short list right now:
- Google Apps offline versions: Offline Google Mail, Google Docs
- Mindmeister (mind mapping)
- Chrome Remote Desktop Beta (VNC-like Chrome-to-Chrome capabilities)
- Google Scratchpad (offline text editor, syncs to Docs)
- Pixlr Editor (nice graphics editor), part of a family of useful graphic tools
One thing that caught me out with Docs and Scratchpad was that you need to setup and authorize the apps to work before they’ll work offline. I realized this while sitting, waiting for the train, and being unable to do anything with either app. Although offline editing has been promised for Google Docs – and the purchase of Quickoffice is probably a step in that direction – Scratchpad does fine for basic editing and has more features than the ultra-basic offline editors.
I have tried another handful of apps to see how they work but nothing really stuck – the apps were interesting but not compelling in a Chromebook. One fun app I had hoped to use, because it has an offline version, is Angry Birds. It doesn’t run on Chromium, prompting you to download the latest versions of Chrome and Flash instead. Otherwise, I think I now have all the tools I need to work offline and they are all activated so I won’t be caught out when I am actually disconnected.