According to the Big Book of Journalism, the answer to any headline question is, "No." But, just this once, I'm going to break with time-honored tradition and say, "Yes." Chromebooks will speed Cloud adoption. Why? Glad you asked. It's because you can't run Windows programs on the damned things, that's why. And, yes, it does matter. Windows, for the moment, still rules the desktop. That moment is as fleeting as your misspent youth.
The Chromebook actually symbolizes everything that I've wanted to say about the future of desktop computing from the very beginning of this column. Alas, the only thing missing is someplace to connect to for a functional desktop operating system.
The idea of a Chromebook is very cool. It's light, it's agile, it's diminutive, it's fast and it's severely lacking in the ability to run Windows applications. Or, is it?
You can run cloud-based desktops using RDP on your Chromebook to give you the look and feel of hand-tooled operating system goodness.
The single downside of the Chromebook, however, is a major one. The downside is you, the consumer. If you don't understand how advantageous the Cloud is for you, then you probably don't want a Chromebook or a Cloudbook or an iPad or an iPhone or anything that stores data in the Cloud. The Cloud is evil, you know. If you have any doubt as to the Cloud's inanimate, yet evil nature, browse my other posts in "Virtually Speaking" and read the comments. You'll soon understand.
Under the hood, a Chromebook is a Linux system, customized by Google that runs the Chrome browser as its interface. That's your desktop--a browser. It's efficient and I use Chrome exclusively as my browser anyway. So, it's a natural fit for someone who uses Linux, the Chrome browser and has a keen interest in the Cloud.
I want a Chromebook. But, I have a laptop, a netbook, an iPad and a few servers so my desire might outweigh my need at the moment. But, the thought of having another totally agnostic client system with no data stored on it appeals to me. That, and the proposed price tag that's way higher than a netbook and about the same as a full-blown laptop. Seriously, if you want me to buy one, it will have to be cheap (Under $200) otherwise, I'll stick with what I have.
However, if you are looking for a new laptop and you enjoy using Zoho, Google Docs, other web-based applications or a remote desktop, it could be just the thing for you.
I do believe that Chromebooks will speed cloud adoption because there's no way to install full applications on it. You'll have to use Dropbox or another online storage provider to store your docs and files. Of course, Google wants you to convert to a full Google solution (GMail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, etc). That's understandable but not practical for a lot of folks who've accustomed themselves to other solutions.
What do you think? Are you going to buy a Chromebook when they go on sale tomorrow? Do you think the Chromebook with speed Cloud adoption? Talk back and let me know.
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