Final Words

At a high level, Chrome OS sounds like the most interesting thing to happen to the low end netbook/notebook market since we saw the first Atom platforms. The problem has never been hardware, but rather the software. At $299 - $399, for someone who is truly just going to rely on web based applications, I can see Chrome OS being a very good alternative to a netbook.

The integration of Qualcomm’s Gobi modem is particularly brilliant, giving every Chrome notebook a GPS as well as cellular data connectivity. The 100MB of free transfers per month for two years is just perfect for light users. Chrome OS or not, I’d like to see this sort of a setup on all notebooks.

Google does raise some very interesting points with Chrome OS. Although you can technically do more with a Windows PC, Microsoft still has to provide answers to the high security, hands off updating approach of Chrome OS. I suspect Redmond isn’t standing by idle while this happens, but I do wonder when we will see something from Microsoft.

Then there’s everything that’s happening in the smartphone and tablet space. Android, iOS and Windows Phone are all doing battle on their own, with goals contrary to that of the desktop players (Windows, OS X) and Chrome OS. Interoperability is important but something that many of these platforms don’t allow. Chrome OS at least allows it within Google’s browser, but outside of it you’re left with nothing. I’m not sure I like the idea of buying a different app for every single device in my possession.

The beauty of a new era is the diversity you get from the players involved. The downside is the chaos, the fragmentation. The players involved are absolutely huge. The industry hasn’t seen this sort of an environment since, honestly, before I was born. The leaders in computing in the 1970s and 1980s are mostly gone today, I can’t help but wonder who will survive as things settle into place.

I never understood people who liked to skip to the end of books until I started watching all of this unfold. This is one book that I’m too fascinated by to not want to skip ahead and see how things turn out.

Performance & ISA Independence
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  • Hrel - Monday, December 13, 2010 - link

    I thought Microsoft was going to do that Sandboxed browser/apps thing way back when Vista came out. I remember specifically reading that that was one of the features of Vista and why it was so important to make sure your CPU supported virtualization.

    Alas that never came to pass; now we're here in Windows 7 reading leaked info about Windows 8 and it STILL hasn't happened. For shame $soft, for shame.
  • rscoot - Monday, December 13, 2010 - link

    The "I'm not an idiot, so I don't need to run antivirus" opinion is horribly outdated. With as many 0 day exploits and drive by hijackings from legitimate websites you can't just say, "I don't search for horse porn and download warez I'm ok" anymore. Unless you don't use any PDF or Flash software (just for a couple of examples) on your PC, you are going to be at risk. Is your risk as high as the average user's? Of course not, but considering how cheap good antivirus software is (Microsoft Security Essentials is free and low footprint), the only reason not to run AV is to cultivate the smug attitude that you're better than people who choose to protect themselves.
  • TantrumusMaximus - Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - link

    To all of you who commented on the fact Google will house all your personal information... "I SALUTE YOU"

    I love my right, my personal right TO USE A CAPS LOCK key when I want to.

    I love my right on my PC - PERSONAL Computer to do things "I" want to do today without handing my data to big brother to review every last action I make.

    This world is soooooo moving towards the evil futures in many movies where the government makes all your choices for you, knows when you wipe your a$$, knows when you banged your wife, knows all.

    SCREW THIS. I hope it burns.
  • has407 - Saturday, January 1, 2011 - link

    Anand -- Thanks again for the food for thought. I too am impatient to get to the end of the story. But I think the trajectory is ordained; timing is the only question. (Timing, not trajectory, seems to always be the most difficult. I remember pontificating in 1998 that, "with 2MBps ubiquitous connectivity, I could jettison most of the weight, power and data storage I have to lug around with my laptop--which is always out of sync with my other machines--grrr. We should be there by 2004-2005". Hah! ever the techno-optimist. :)

    Will it replace everything else? No. But IMHO that is irrelevant. The relevant question is: Where will the growth be in the coming years? That growth will be--and demonstrably has been for some time--in services and apps that are web-based or anytime/anywhere (which is simply another way of saying "cloud-based"). That's where the developers and development $ will go, because that's what the vast majority of people want and expect (and will increasingly want and expect).

    Yeah, I'll still have my home-based Linux/Win/etc infrastructure, but for most tasks I don't need it, don't (and can't) want to have to lug it around when mobile. That's speaking as an individual... From a corporate perspective there are plenty of options, e.g., "hybrid clouds". But the hard facts are that most organizations--especially smaller organizations--can't provide equivalent SLA's or performance at equivalent cost as public cloud. The differences in economies are off-the-charts compared to what any but the largest organizations can achieve.

    See, e.g., "Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing":

    Maybe there will be a swing of the pendulum back towards something like "person clouds", but my crystal ball doesn't go that far out. :)

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