For anyone considering getting a Chrome OS device but feeling put off by the lack of powerful applications like LibreOffice and Open Office there’s now a new Cloud based Service called RollApp.
RollApp is a web service that allows you to use popular Desktop Apps like the Linux staple Office suite LibreOffice along with some other popular Linux applications.
RollApp has a few Chrome web Apps in the Chrome Store like the full LibreOffice & Open Office suite, The Gimp and Inkscape image editing tools. but on the RollApp website there are loads of Applications that can only be run from the website (No Chrome web apps).
RollApp comes in two versions free with Ads or for $6.99 (approx £4.17) Ad free, or you can subscribe to individual apps for $0.99 (approx £0.59), or for $1.99 (approx £1.18) you can subscribe to individual recourse hungry applications.
RollApp can connect to various Cloud Storage services including Google Drive which is ideal for Chrome OS users.
I’m currently using the free version of RollApp to add LibreOffice compatibility to my Acer C720 Chromebook.
LibreOffice Writer looks and behaves as a native Chrome OS web app, and looks and behaves like it does natively in any other OS. There is one down side to using RollApp is that the service has a signal strength meter and if the signal strength is low you’re unable to do anything.
RollApp seems to be a little temperamental as regards to the signal strength. Once the signal strength drops from green to red the applications lock-up and you can’t do anything. I don’t know if this is down to the newness of the service, or whether it’s the developers of the service are promising something that they can’t simply provide due to bandwidth or there are simply too many new users that want more powerful applications on their Chromebooks.
Before anyone suggests that it could be down to the signal strength of my WiFi. My router is a dual band one and I’m connected to the net using the 5GHZ radio in the C720, also from my position in the living room I’ve got full signal strength as the router is at the other end of the living room, my connection speed from my ISP is 8.27Mbps down and 0.39Mbps up (using speedtest.net).
The RollApp service in principle is a good idea, but until the developers can get the service to be more reliable and accommodate the increase of users that they’ll now get from Chromebook users then I’d stay away, especially if the free service is anything to go by. If the free service has been deliberately crippled to get people to sign-up to the paid service then it’s not doing them any favours, but since you get 14 days of the Premium service for free when you sign-up to the free service I can only conclude that there is a bandwidth issue ether from their ISP or on their servers but it’s spoiling what could be a great service for Chromebook users.