With all the focus on the Chromebook’s web-centered features, it’s easy to overshadow the fact that many of the so-called “web” apps work without requiring internet access. Google has reportedly made this possible by their increasing conversion to new HTML5 coding, which provides better caching performance among other improvements.
If you’re thinking about getting a Chromebook, but are worried you won’t be able to use it without a constant internet connection, don’t worry — there are already hundreds of apps for Chromebooks that support working offline, and many more are adding offline support in preparation for the June 15th launch. It’s already been confirmed that major apps such as Gmail, Calendar, and Google Docs (which allows viewing and editing of Microsoft Office documents) will work without requring the user to be connected to an internet signal.
Of course, apps you would already expect to work offline (popular time-killing games, including Angry Birds, Robot Unicorn Attack: Heavy Metal, and many more) will work. In addition, there are many more with offline support including the NY Times, an offline Wikipedia reader (!), Graphicly Comics, 3DTin (a 3d modeller), Springpad, and Ajax Animator.
Some of the over 600 Chrome apps that are already confirmed to work offline are:
- The Huffington post
- NPR for Chrome
- Super Mario Bros. Crossover
- Good Food
- Vector Paint
- Offline Dictionary
- iScribe Tools (a suite of editing, HTML, and paint tools)
- Read Later Fast (saves web sites for offline use)
- 8-Bit Hits
- Solitaire Online
- Zoho Writer
These are just a few, and the list is growing every day as more apps convert to the new HTML5 coding. In addition, the Chromebook’s built-in media player will be able to play music and video files you have stored on a portable storage device like a USB drive or an external hard drive. We mentioned it already, but because it’s a definite concern to many people, we want to make it clear that Google Docs will allow you to view and edit microsoft word, excel, and other office documents without requiring connection to the internet.
There are also some very handy apps (like Read Later Fast) that will allow you to save and view any web page on your Chromebook whenever you want, even without a connection. Futhermore, it should be noted that offline access is mainly a concern with Wi-Fi-only models, as the Samsung and Acer Chromebook 3G models can stay online anywhere there’s a 3G signal.