I can't wait for Google Chrome OS

I can't wait for Google Chrome OS

Summary: Timing is everything in this business. Tech trends are like surfing, where you can hit the wave too early or too late. In terms of Netbooks like my HP Mini, this looks late.

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My take on the Google Chrome OS, announced on Google's blog last night, is fairly simple.

When.

When?

Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010.

Timing is everything in this business. Tech trends are like surfing, where you can hit the wave too early or too late.

In terms of Netbooks like my HP Mini, this looks late.

A mainstream OS has to make it in the channel. It has to be available at Fry's. And, to repeat, there is a price lower than free.

Netbooks are different from laptops of any weight in that they have no moving parts. Like phones, they're just chips and a screen. CompuTex showed that storage will no longer be a limitation on Netbooks, with units holding 64 GBytes of chip storage available this Christmas for a price of around $300.

Once we get past that main criteria -- no moving parts -- what else should a Netbook have and do?

  1. It needs to look for network access immediately, on start-up.
  2. I want a usable keyboard (yeah HP) and a usable mouse (boo HP).
  3. It must sync with online resources, and through them with your handheld.

The main difference between a Netbook and a phone is the position of the user. You use a Netbook seated. You use a phone standing up. Beyond those interface issues they should be the same thing, and the Internet is the glue that makes this possible.

My iPhone shows me what's possible, and how far we have to go in getting there. I can sync my contacts, but I can't yet sync my calendar. I should also be able to sync my music, my settings, all forms of messaging, and basic online data like my stock list, maps, and notes.

(Oh, if Apple would do a Netbook OS.)

If Chrome OS can do all this, and get into mainstream distribution channels, it can do well. Frankly Windows is not suited to Netbooks because it's a memory hog, it takes too long to boot, it requires expensive add-ons (especially for security), and the cost is way out of line with that of the hardware.

But some work still needs to be done on the Chrome browser itself. It does crash, still. I often find it hard to change pages within tabs -- I have to hit the enter button repeatedly and hard.

Google enters this market fight with serious open source street cred and an online lead. But that may not be enough.

I'd give it two cheers.

Topics: Operating Systems, Browser, Google, Hardware, Mobility

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6 comments
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  • Not Yet

    You wrote: "Netbooks are different from laptops of any weight in that they have no moving parts."

    I believe the vast majority of netbooks still come with (rotating) HDD, not SSDD, hence that statement is not correct.
    Economister
    • Depends on the Netbook Specs, Economister

      All of our Netbooks are running solid-state drives, b/c I didn't want a spinning drive that could go kaflooey the first time a Netbook got dropped or set down on a table too hard. (Yes, I've used laptops and iPods with spinning hard drives - and while most of those have lasted a good long time, a few spectacularly haven't.)

      Sure there isn't nearly as much space with a solid-state Netbook drive (4, 8 or 20 GB as opposed to the 120 or 160 GB of spinning drives), but we use our Netbooks mainly for Web surfing, e-mail, basic office tasks like word processing and spreadsheets, simple games and maybe watching a couple movies converted to H.264 on an external thumb drive or SD card. We don't store libraries of music, photos or videos on our Netbook - and if we ever wanted to, that's what external travel drives are for, right?
      drprodny
  • The Blob

    What is fueling the growth of Linux?: The Cloud.

    Google tossing their hat into the PC O/S arena is symbolic of a number of things:

    1) An as of yet unmet need for efficient Client Cloud Devices (notice I didn't use the word Netbook) for consumer, business, science, education, the digital divide and the world's disenfranchised.

    2) There's plenty of room for Linux based solutions to grow and flourish in the Cloud--almost limitless and unrestrained when compared with traditional IT infrastructure build out.

    3) Google knows Linux--they're business depends on it for all of their internal servers (and Desktops).

    4) The World Economy is depressed and Cloud Computing offers low cost solutions which fuels the Cloud and indirectly use of Linux and Open Source.

    Is Google Chrome OS going to radically change how we use computers?

    I am going to speculate that GChrome OS will 'agglomerate' or 'glob' or be absorbed into that amorphous state that now exists for Linux at large in the Cloud.

    As momentum increases through time, technology will flow and follow that inertia to where demand is ultimately needed, with all of the combined effects of entrepreneurial Cloud Computing put together--The Blob.

    The Blob is coming to get you Microsoft and you can't stop it. It will ooze through the cracks and crevices and assume shapes and forms that serve the public well, better than any other O/S.

    Google Chrome O/S is yet another Linux Distro, if you will, with a global community of competent open source commiters at the ready to develop it along side of all the other fine Distros that exist today.

    Don't rule out the work of others who have seen the potential of the Cloud and are putting Linux to work there--with viable products and services. Note as recently as last week the announcement by Canonical of their foray into Cloud Computing Services, <a href="http://www.dtschmitz.com/dts/2009/07/ubuntu-enterprise-cloud-new-in-ubuntu-904.html">Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud</a>.

    So, we now have Google to add to the 'Blob'--that lends a lot of credence to the value of Linux for its Freedom of Choice Open Source capabilities to make the world a better place in which to live.

    Linux is practically unstoppable now.

    Watch out Microsoft!

    Thank you Dana.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz
  • Dana: Correction.

    "You use a phone standing up"

    Should read

    "You can use a phone standing up"

    Whereas you're unlikely to use a netbook standing up, even though you can.
    fr0thy2
    • You need to catch these edits before FINAL draft

      nt
      Dietrich T. Schmitz
      • Or label the posts beta.

        nt
        fr0thy2