Google Chromebooks are great — unless you don’t have an internet connection; then they’re essentially useless. (Other colorful descriptors I’ve heard include “suck,” “blow,” “fail” and so on). Now Google is taking steps to address the problem with offline access to Gmail and, very soon, Calendar and, most importantly, Docs.
According to the Gmail blog:
Gmail Offline is a Chrome Web Store app that’s intended for situations when you need to read, respond to, organize and archive email without an internet connection. This HTML5-powered app is based on the Gmail web app for tablets, which was built to function with or without web access . . .
Google Calendar and Google Docs let you seamlessly transition between on- and offline modes. When you’re offline in Google Calendar, you can view events from your calendars and RSVP to appointments. With Google Docs you can view documents and spreadsheets when you don’t have a connection. Offline editing isn’t ready yet, but we know it’s important to many of you, and we’re working hard to make it a reality.
When Google Docs works without a connection that will be a giant step toward making Chromebooks truly a viable laptop replacement. All of this is generally applicable to WiFi only tablets as well.