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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  • ant1pathy - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I'm interested in how much government subsidy might have gone into the network build out in Slovakia, and how much government control goes into the telecomms. While the large US providers make some pretty ridiculous profits, they also cough up staggering amounts of cash for infrastructure and the latest spectrum bid, which I don't believe European companies have to pay for. Different markets to be sure, and there's no doubt which one consumers benefit from, but I'm not sure what the effect on innovation and progress would be if everything was government controlled.
  • cubbs - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    "they also cough up staggering amounts of cash for infrastructure and the latest spectrum bid, which I don't believe European companies have to pay for."

    Believe what you will - the EU is not as "socialist" as you think. In most countries the telecoms are hardly subsidized at all, and pay, as you put it, _staggering amounst of cash for infrastructure and the latest spectrum bid_. However, when the companies make bids for the wireless spectrums they also accept the regulations that come with a license - ie. coverage of XX% of the population in X years with a certain SERV_QUAL level.

    I'ld rather say that the differences in the markets is the _competition_. Right here and now I can pick between 15+ cellphone/data carriers. Those who bid at the 3G licenses havent even recovered the full costs yet, and just finished bidding on the 4G licenses being rolled out next year.
  • mino - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link


    The (former) landline monopoly was making money even in the communist times and was sold to T-Com 10yrs ago, still making money (and screwing anyone they can as monopolies like todo).

    All three mobile networks (Orange biggest, T-Mobile/Com second and O2 third) are fully privately funded since inception.

    The plans I mentioned were from Orange which had made the biggest 3G (and now FTTH) push in vision for challenge T-Mobile. T-com is a bit (but a still competitive bit) more pricier. O2 is relative newcomer
  • mino - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Uh, and of course the spectrums (only 450/900/1800/2100) are sold too.

    The cost of network build-up in 5 mil mountainous country is priced in the licenses though. (For instance they to install several hundred base stations by helicopter.) So they are cheaper even on per-citizen basis.

    But the initial NMT/GSM licenses were awarded for free back in the day. Companies were "just" required to provide a certain minimal coverage within a given time-frame. AFAIR it was 90% of population covered within a year. Or something like that.
  • Penti - Friday, December 10, 2010 - link

    Lol, not even the former Soviet states have any subsidies for the private telecoms. In the wireless business at least. Funny how some Americans think sometimes. Mind you US has a lot of subsides for the old land lines and broadband connections. Not that it helps much there. The rest of the world isn't over-washed in subsides they simply do it better, and cheaper. And those in the US never see the full extent of their taxation as the money goes to private insurance and pensions instead, and school fees and so on. The labor cost for the companies aren't lower because the tax is lower then most of Europe, it's higher. But you don't see on your paycheck and you can't estimate it either how much goes to the health insurance, dental plan, pensions and other benefits that's payed through taxes in Europe. But in fact looking at the statistics you can see that your benefits costs more then the taxes for the same in European welfare states. But looking at statistics wouldn't come anybody to mind I guess.
  • DLimmer - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Do you really need more than 100MB / month roaming data?

    Maybe I'm atypical, but I do most of my browsing (and computing) at home or near free Wifi and wouldn't need to rely on the data plan for anything more than incidentals.

    This is a notebook, not an iPhone.
  • mino - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Well, 100MB is on the low side of my daily usage. Commonly it can become hourly usage.

    But you are right, maybe I am being a little "spoiled" by my options.
    (I have always thought) WWAN connectivity is there to keep me from hunting for hot-spots instead of accessing Internet and doing my work.

    IMHO 100MB is just about enough for checking mails on a phone.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    Well, given that I use email almost none, that would more than cover my email usage. But with ChromeOS being a different concept, where at least at the moment EVERYTHING has to come over the internet as there seems to be no access to local storage. Want to listen to music while writing? If the music were stored locally you could write for hours and use only a few hundred KB backing up your stuff, but if you are listening to Pandora that whole time make that a few hundred MB.

    At the same time, this isn't designed to be a primary computer, and users shouldn't necessarily need/expect to be downloading torrents or other high-bandwidth uses.
  • macandron - Monday, December 20, 2010 - link

    I must say I'm equally appalled at the data rates in the US. My god.

    I live in Finland and we can get any of the following deals:
    - limitless data at 1mbps for 10€/month (2-year contract)
    - limitless data at 15mbps for 14€/month (2-year contract)

    Flexible prepaid subscription (no contract) with following options:
    - 1 week prepaid limitless data at 4mbps, 7€
    - 1 month prepaid limitless data at 1mbps, 20€
    - 1 month prepaid limitless data at 4mbps, 30€

    In other words, for the same price Verizon offers an *extra* 3GB you can get 1 month of limitless prepaid data @ 4mbps :D

    And I bet Japan has even lower rates, with their incredible amount of phones and mobile services.

    It's like the US is 10 years behind in mobile data markets!
  • synaesthetic - Tuesday, December 21, 2010 - link

    It's ridiculous here... I use T-Mobile US, and I pay the LEAST for data among the Big 4. My plan is $65 US per month, and it gives me 500 minutes (unlimited nights and weekends, though), unlimited text and "unlimited" data which is really 5GB with a soft cap that drops you down to EDGE-ish speeds after you hit the cap.

    It's the cheapest absolutely. An equivalent plan from AT&T (with a lower HARD cap) is almost $90!

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