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So Google's Chromebooks finally made their long-awaited debut last week, complete with interesting leasing options for the business, government and educational markets. As Samsung and Acer put the finishing touches on their devices, the question on many tongues now is how these new machines will fit into the already-competitive mobile computing market. Over at ZDNet, in fact, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols went so far as to suggest that Google's new devices are "a Windows killer," and his sentiment has been widely echoed throughout the blogosphere.
I had hoped that ChromeOS would be the bridge to close the digital divide. The price point indicates that there is not a noble cause underlying the Chrome project. This cause is dear to me, and I am disappointed that "do good" was not in the Chrome mantra.
As far as the threat to MS...
I believe the cloud needs to evolve into a hybrid of local cloud and Internet Cloud for business. Besides the discussed bandwidth concerns, performance and security could be enhanced keeping some network services local to the network, not local to the machine.
MS real challenge is to drop their rivalry with Linux and start selling services to Linux computing devices. M$ is its own paranoid worst enemy. MS can buy cloud services the same way they bought applications to build Windows.
I agree. The local cloud is called the intranet, and most enterprises already have it, with web based enterprise info systems, data entry systems, webmail, CRM systems etc. This is what is going to make Chrome OS so compelling in the enterprise.
There are some things Google needs to add to it though - a single sign on for one thing with Google providing a hardware kerberos authentication server to allow authentication on local servers using the user's Chrome OS password, and which would also pass on tokens to Google's cloud services when required.
I think a good name for the hybrid system would be "Partly Cloudy"
I can do the maths.
$28/month X 12 months/year X 3 years = $1008
'It's Going to Go the Way of the iPhone' Martin Espinoza
I think it will in terms of desktop share with Windows PCs at 50% of desktops and Chrome OS at 30% of desktops.
I don't think Chrome OS will make an impact on either Android, iPhone or iPad. It is a Windows desktop competitor, not a mobile phone or ultraportable, and its main use will be with WiFi broadband rather than 3G. Its main successes will be for home users, large enterprises with server based data systems and applications, schools. libraries, Internet cafes and public access terminals.
'I Prefer Having Apps Locally Installed' Gerhard Mack
I'm sure you do, however most people won't care. All they will see is zero maintenance, seamless automatic data backup and updates, instant on Internet access and great Internet performance including 1080p video playback - Instant Internet in a box - no fuss, no muss.
Enterprise sysadmins will love the idea of no local apps - it gives them control of everything from the corporate server, and zero maintenance will save them huge sums now spent on desktop maintenance and support.
'The Sword of Damocles' Slashdot blogger hairyfeet
I can't vouch for how backward the US is in terms of broadband support, but in Europe and other parts of the world WiFi connected to a broadband back end is no problem. I suspect that is the case in the US too. The 3G option where provided is intended for emergency use only. Chrome OS's natural setting is at home or in the office connecting to the Internet through a WiFi router/firewall plugged into a DSL or cable Broadband connection. It would be always able to work because it will cache the log-on credentials if the Internet isn't available, and it will be able to cache web apps like Google Apps and run offline until connectivity is established. In a home/office environment, it will be able to access local servers on the WiFi network - media servers, office application servers, information servers, print servers, and Windows desktops or virtualised Windows desktops running on servers. In this environment which is Chrome OS's natural environment, it is no less functional when the Internet goes down than a Windows desktop.
"That's $1,008 over the 3-year life of the contract" Barbara Hudson
I think some basic numeracy skills are lacking here. How does $28 over 3 years add up to $1,008? Why is the hire purchase cost, the cost of anti-virus software and updates, the cost of a Windows update subscription, and the cost to the user of of time spent on program installation, maintenance (driver installs, software updates, defragging the disk etc.) not included?
'How Is Google Lock-In Any Better?' Barbara Hudson
I hate to break it to you, but you don't have to use any Google Apps with Chrome OS. There is a little box at the top of every browser window where you can type any URL you like. If you want you can use Zoho Office or even Microsoft's Office 365. You obviously are a Windows user used to Microsoft's lock-in, and simply assume all others behave the same way. Google is promoting the open standards which is not the platform for anyone interested in lock-in.
'The Monopoly Will Be Gone' Robert Pogson
I don't think Microsoft will be gone, but certainly I believe their monopoly will go. Whether Microsoft is capable of competing and surviving without abusing their monopoly to their benefit remains to be seen.
'Leasing Works for Business' Robert Pogson
Not just for business, but for schools, libraries, and the public sector. It is a way of saving massive quantities of real money, mainly on desktop support and software.
Thank you. Very helpful and intelligent. Made my morning coffee. Used cr48, It's great. But will always have Linux box on the desk. Used and trusted Google for years. Never a problem. OH!!! yea, e-mail was down a couple years ago. OOOps gotta go my Penguin's chirpin.