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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  • Roland00Address - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Netbooks are routinely $300 or less now. $300 for a 6 cell, 160 gb hard drive for the everyday price of a Netbook in a retail store. If you wait for a sale the price is usually $249 to $279, and on a mega sale like black friday you can get a netbook for $199 (though usually a 3 cell battery). You can get a dual core atom n550 netbook for $329 to $349 (not on sale, the normal everday price at a retail location.).

    The cost of a Windows 7 Starter license is between $45 and $55
    http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/06/micr...
    http://www.sunrainet.com/windows-7-starter-edition...

    Google is expect there chrome netbooks to be $300 to $400. Sure part of this cost is the obscene cost of a Gobi modem (which you can get for about $100 retail) but this obscene price for a Gobi modem eats away the microsoft tax and more.

    ------

    I am just trying to see the value of Chrome as it currently is implemented. I understand it will be virus free and feel faster than a typical netbook. The problem is you will be hard pressed to sell this to the normal individual. Furthermore with the upcoming AMD Brazo (Low Power fusion) coming out in q1 2011 and retailing in the $300 to $500 range netbooks are going to feel less slow then they do now. Thus the only real advantages is it boots faster and is virus free; what you lose is all the productivity that current windows offers.

    Right now Google is offering an all or nothing for $300 to $400 bucks you can have a windows netbook something you already know and understand or you can have a google chrome netbook, something that is new and at first glance to a "normal individual" looks more limited.

    Personally I think Chrome would make more sense as an add-on to existing netbooks. If google dropped the Gobi modem requirement, then all OEMs would have to do is add a few gbs of flash memory via a mini pci express slot. You can have your windows as well as your linux operating system that boots very quickly, feels faster, and has all these free google apps. Google will still get their fabalous data mining and advertising engine and they will get it into more people's hands and thus more eyeballs.
    Reply
  • gr00 - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    I agree on the pricing calculation. In my book for such a device hardware-wise and software-wise should feel like a natural evolution of netbook. Therefore should cost the same since they offer same or trade-off features.
    Most mobile phones could do these things if there was need.

    The biggest strength of Chrome OS is the unification of tendencies during the last year or two: netbooks + web apps + cloud + ssd + new OS.
    It imho bases a new idea of casual un-personal trustfull computing which will soon become a rival to todays PC computing.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I personally removed the Caps lock key from my work keyboard - it did more harm than good. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    IT WILL HELP THE INTERNET FOR OBVIOUS REASONS Reply
  • Exodite - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Win of the day. Reply
  • racerx_is_alive - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Removing the Caps Lock key is one thing, replacing it with a search button is something else entirely.

    Instead of having to go back and erase a few all caps letters, you get a brief lag while it brings up a search box? A browser window? Something that steals the focus either way, and keeps you letters from going where they are supposed to be.

    I'm not sure that's progress.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I need it on my home machine for games, though. Reply
  • mino - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    $20 for 1GB ? Reasonable ? Are hope you are not serious.

    wait, there is more:
    $50 for 5GB ? WTF ? and ZERO unlimited plans ? Are you joking ?

    OK, to be clear:
    I had $20 2GB plan in 2004(!) with USB EDGE modem in plan
    - mind you, it was in no way subsidized, they made big money on these)

    Now, I have, $15 plan, with 5GB FUP and no overcharge, USB 3G modem in plan
    - FUP == 64kbps after you go over it

    I can also upgrade to 20GB plan (FUP, no oevrcharge) for $30, just for kicks of it.

    All this in Slovakia, a VERY mountainous country, with 40% rural population (think <3000 villages), with 90% 3G/99% EDGE population coverage and ~$10k average yearly gross income.

    Why am I saying it ? Because from long-term mobile user experience 2GB plan, while OOK in 2004, is a joke in the time of YouTube. Hell those 5 gigs are barely there (so the FUP really helps me here).

    In the end they are selling a $400 "notebook" that is pretty much useless without $50 monthly "monopoly tax".
    Sound a real bargain up from here ...

    /sorry but I had to write this rant.
    The idea of respected journalist believing $20/GB rates are reasonable in 2010 is just SO WRONG.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I agree that data plans are way overpriced, my praise is really due to the free 100mb per month and no contract requirements. Those two make me happy, but yes I'd like to see an overhaul of the rest of the pricing structure.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • mino - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    In my experience 100MB is about 1/2 a day of conservative browsing so it is more of a teaser that anything.
    Well is actually the single good thing that no-agreement part. Otherwise this looks a pure cash cow for Telcos.
    Reply

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