So it's been a few months with my Chromebook and I have to say--I love this thing. If I could change one thing about it, it would be get one with a larger screen, since this is the only computer I use at home anymore...but then it would have cost more than $239 and would have to be an HP, and there's no way in hell I'm ever buying an HP again after suffering through burned legs from the stupid HP laptop.
At any rate, I'm finding Google Drive is a fine workaround if I need to create a new document, but when I had to work on a Word document that had a few embedded images, Google Docs wasn't a viable option since the images didn't come over in the Word-to-Google-Doc conversion. Rather than have to fire up the scalding HP laptop (pun accidental), I vaguely recalled that there was an MS Office web app and figured I'd try that first. That's how I discovered SkyDrive, which is a free Microsoft version of, basically, Google Drive, with free web versions of Word, Powerpoint and Excel. Score. You have to have a Microsoft ID, which you already have if you have a Hotmail account; if not, you just create one for free.
Using the MS Word web app to edit a document on the Chromebook is a little clunky--there's a little lag time when you place the cursor then try to backspace or add something, but it's easy enough to get used to. I didn't try Powerpoint or any other program, but was able to edit, save and send the Word document without any problems.
There is also a SkyDrive app for the iPad, but as far as I can tell, you can only open and edit existing documents. There is a Microsoft Office iPhone app, but no iPad app--apparently their way of trying to force you to buy their tablet. Ah, Microsoft. But I digress because we're talking about the Chromebook anyway, so yes, it is possible to create and edit documents in Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote and Word, for free, on the Chromebook.
The bad news is that now both kids want their own Chromebook for school work; the good news is no more having to pay for Word each time we get a new computer.
Another random thought about the Chromebook--because it's basically the same size as an iPad, I'm finding myself using it for things I used to use the iPad for...like taking notes in meetings using Evernote or playing Facebook games which are easier on Facebook then in the iPhone/iPad apps. If I had to choose to spend a fortune on an iPad or $239 for a Chromebook, I'm struggling to come up with a reason I'd need to choose the iPad.