I'm relatively new to Chrome-OS. I started two years ago, initially on my Acer 15 (approx $150...which happens to NOT be a tablet...i.e., it does NOT have a touch-screen, but rather has just a built-in keyboard & touchpad. I use a bluetooth mouse with it... currently, a Logitech M535.)

Very recently, I went 'all-in' on Chrome-OS, and bought a true 'hybrid' Chromebook...i.e. the Pixel Slate (approx $700). I'm calling it a 'hybrid', because it is both a tablet (i.e. has a touchscreen), and yet can also have one of several keyboards (one choice of keyboard does NOT have any touchpad, and another choice of keyboard DOES have a touchpad). I got the latter...one called 'G-TYPE - Brydge' which connects via bluetooth. (It needs to be charged separately, also via it's own USB-C port). I use a bluetooth mouse (a separate one than on the Acer, so I can have both Chromebooks active in the same room). Currently, the mouse is (also) a Logitech M535. Note: Since I'm having some weird symptoms when using the keyboard and mouse, I plan to try a dongle-based wireless mouse (later today), fit into my "USB-C to std-USB" adapter, so as to accomodate the mouse-dongle. (The dongle looks 'glommy' hanging off the tablet's USB-C port, so I'd very much prefer to end up using a bluetooth mouse.)

My question/issue is that I need help understanding aspects of Chrome-OS's desktop look-and-feel. Ok, I see/understand the 'shelf'...i.e. where launch-buttons for a potentially-large bunch of all my apps can be placed, in any order. (Right-clicking on it allows you to set the shelf to be positioned on any of left-edge, bottom-edge, or right-edge of screen, as well as setting it to auto-hide or not, etc.) One drags/drops any of the installed app-icons onto the shelf. (The shelf is reminiscent of Mac-OSX's shelf...and I like it!)

At front of the shelf is circular-button, which reveals a half-screen panel containing the 'Google-assistant'. Below that input-box are five (5) of my installed apps in a horizontal row. At very top of the panel is an up-arrowhead, which when clicked, takes you into one or more screenful(s) of your installed apps. (Each screenful appears to be able to contain potentially 4 rows of 5 shortcut-icons each. I currently have either 2 or 3 screenfuls of installed icons, depending on the hour of the day or the day of the week, or whatever.)

So, here come some issues:

(1) These installed-apps screens have apps in NO particular order. (I'm guessing maybe they're in 'installed order' initially.) But, (unlike on Android), they're NOT in alphabetical order. Why not??? Is there some way to sort them?

Ok, I HAVE figured out that I can manually drag/drop them into other areas of the screen they're on, and even onto the other of my 2 screens. I CAN put them into some semblance of sorted order. But, they don't STICK to where I place them! (If the rule was to keep them sorted, then the system could maintain their placement.) But, I haven't found any way to specify a placement rule.

(2)What's even worse, on my new Pixel Slate at least, I'm seeing vacant 'holes' where some installed-app once appeared. At first I thought the holes were because I had right-clicked and un-installed a few apps, but testing reveals that that is NOT the cause of the holes. So, how/why are the holes getting there??? Furthermore, I AM able to tighten up to get rid of the holes by manually dragging the bottom-most up into a 'hole'. But, again, the system won't maintain the new arrangement. So, it must have some other un-written rule about placement.

(3) Both of my chromebooks are running same version of Chrome-OS. And both are using my single Google account. But, I'm confident that Google's cloud can distinguish between the separate models. Hopefully, it that is is NOT designed to clone an app that I install on one chromebook over to the other one. True??? {The reason I'm asking this, is because I AM seeing apps being installed onto the new Slate without my knowledge, and I need to understand whether to be concerned.)

(4) And, hopefully, I can safely 'powerwash' either of them independently, without affecting the other one. And, that I can have one of them on 'BETA' channel, and another on 'STABLE', or 'DEV', etc.

(5) "Tablet-mode": Ok, back to the 'hybrid' model distinction...the Slate has a touch-screen and the Acer chromebook not. My research, while reading of a posting on a 'problem-list' at Google-support, makes mention of a real distinction between such CB types. It refers to (a tablet-model) as being in either in 'tablet-mode' or not being in 'tablet-mode'. (For example, it mentions that only when in 'tablet-mode', that a new button appears at far-right end of the shelf...it is a soft/screen-based equivalent of the physical-key with the "3-box-edges" that is above the '4' key.) Yes, I DO see that extra soft-key on my new 'Slate' (but NOT on the Acer). But, testing on the Slate, that soft-key button does NOT disappear, even when I power-down the bluetooth keyboard, and carry just the tablet itself to another room. My extra UI-concern regarding this elusive 'tablet-mode', is that when I switch between what I think is and is not 'tablet-mode', I'm not finding any clear always-visible UI-CHANGE that tells me which 'mode' I'm in. (???) [That said, I AM mysteriously finding times when, with the keyboard and mouse in use, that when I reach up to the screen and touch something, that I get NO response. Like the 'touch-ability' of anything on the screen has been locked-out. "Is this a bug or a feature"? ]

(6) Ok, back to that horizontal-row of (5) shortcuts that appear just below the 'assistant' input-bubble: Who/what is deciding which of my apps are gonna live there, and how to I remove/replace one with another of my choosing???

EDIT: Btw, I should mention that I do PLAN to put the new Slate onto the 'Dev' channel at some point, but decided for now to stay on 'Stable' Also, (either I or Google) did a "powerwash" on the Slate. It might have been me, because I started to switch it to 'Dev', but then almost immediately after a reboot, I set it back onto 'Stable' before anything noticeable ever happened...i.e. I saw nothing at my end with any updates upon rebooting. But 4 or 5 hours later, a 'powerwash' kicked in. [ I'm comfortable with powerwashes and switching channels. And eventually, I want to put the Slate onto 'Dev', when "Fuchsia" becomes available. I'm assuming that maybe my old Acer won't/can't get Fuchsia, so I'm staying on 'Stable' there.]

(7)(EDIT:) Ok, this morning I'm seeing a new VERY CONFUSING symptom, which I think relates to this notion of either being or NOT being in "tablet-mode". The symptom is that, with both the keyboard and BT-mouse connected, the mouse POINTER moves around visibly on the screen, but when I click on things with the mouse, nothing responds. So, the 'work-around' I found, is to just use my finger on the touch-screen, instead.

Is that the EXPECTED behavior? (I didn't expect it!!!) Is that behavior the UI-feedback/indication that the Slate is now in "tablet-mode"??? At any rate, I do NOT LIKE/WANT this! I've been expecting that I could always do EVERYTHING using just the keyboard and mouse, when they're attached...i.e. that I would never NEED to be touching/gesturing on the screen. Please clarify how it is SUPPOSED to behave!

Please post comments here, if you can help on ANY of my questions/concerns.


Ok, I'm going to answer some/all of these myself, over time. (I contacted Google support by PHONE, and got answers to some.) (Also, I'm posting suggestions in their chromebook-support-community for some others of these point and will ask individual questions there, as needed.)

Their answer to #3: Yes, they say it's ok (it is supported) to have multiple Chromebooks and use them from the same account, as I'm doing with my Acer 15 and Pixel Slate.

To #6: That horizontal-row of (5) shortcuts that appear just below the 'assistant' input-bubble: Those are your 5 MOST-RECENTLY-USED apps (not 'favorite' apps). I posted a suggestion that they put some small text on screen next to them, saying that.

5 and #7: The 'tablet-mode' issue and confusing behavior on my Pixel Slate:

The answer given verbally to me on phone is that both my bluetooth-keyboard AND a bluetooth-mouse are "NOT CURRENTLY SUPPORTED". (I almost fell out of my chair on this answer. And, I'm still questioning/wondering whether that info is correct. I may call back in a few days, get a different tech, and see if I get the same answer. And, I'll do some further testing of that, in a few more days/weeks, to see if I think I'm still having issues.) Meanwhile, my (temporary, hopefully) workaround is to do what I was contemplating above: i.e. I'm inserting a USB-C to std-USB adapter in one of the two USB-C ports on the Slate, and putting the USB-wireless-mouse dongle in it, for my dongle-based wireless mouse. That of course works, and I dont see any scary side-effects.

When I re-visit my choice of keyboard (i.e. the G-TYPE Brydge bluetooth...$140), I DO now see where it is not OFFICIALLY Google's recommended keyboard. Their 'primary' choice/recommendation for a keyboard is their slightly more expensive ($200) model, which is NOT bluetooth, but rather physically/electrically snap-connects, to the tablet itself.

[ Since another company (Brydge) makes the bluetooth keyboard, I'm guessing maybe that Brydge did software/driver, as well as OTHER logic within Chrome-OS, and checked it in to sources for Chrome-OS on GitHub. That's a "swag" on my part...a "Scientific-Wild-Ass-Guess", based on fact that Chrome-OS IS OPEN-SOURCE. ]

EDIT (update, as of 20-SEP) Ok, my thread in Google 'chromium-os' support community, seems to be narrowing the problem to the Logitech M535 mouse-driver. See: https://groups.google.com/a/chromium.org/forum/#!topic/chromium-os-discuss/wTw5yp81QEU So, can anyone suggest an alternate supplier's bluetooth mouse that is known to be robust on Chrome-OS??

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