The whole thing revolves around bloatware -- yes, bloatware. On a Chrome OS device. Unheard of, right?
It was -- until now. When Samsung first announced the Chromebook 2, the company said it would be preloading a "productivity suite package" on the computer. If you use Android, you probably translated that pretty quickly to "junk you don't want and may not be able to uninstall."
For Chrome OS in particular, the notion of a manufacturer preinstalling stuff seems surprising. By its very nature, Chrome OS is simple and consistent; aside from the occasional custom wallpaper, there really isn't much that separates the software experience from one device to the next.
Well, put down your pitchforks, gang: I'm here to tell you that in actuality, the bloatware on Samsung's Chromebook 2 is far less troubling than it may sound.
So let's end the mystery, shall we? Here's all it is: The Chromebook 2 has two apps preinstalled from the Chrome Web Store. You've got Wunderlist, a to-do list utility, and AirDroid, a tool for remotely managing Android devices. They're exactly the same as what you could install from the Chrome Web Store on any Chrome-based system, and they show up just like any other shortcuts within the Chrome OS app launcher.
The only difference here is that the first time you open either app, it offers to upgrade you to a year-long subscription to the premium (and typically payment-requiring) version of the service. If you don't want the apps on your device, you can uninstall 'em with a couple of clicks, just like you would with any other app that you wanted to remove. Easy peasy.
(Samsung says there's a third preloaded program, by the way -- an English-learning app for multilingual students called Little Bridge -- but I see no sign of it on the laptop I'm reviewing.)
If you've read any of my Android reviews, you know I hate bloatware as much as the next guy. Heck, I've been griping about it for years. But in the grand scheme of things, the situation on the Chromebook 2 is really a non-situation. If you want to use those apps, great: You've got a year of free premium-level access. If you don't, no big deal; just uninstall 'em. That's all there is to it.
Long story short: Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.
My full Chromebook 2 review will be online soon.
More Chromebook coverage:
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