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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  • dustcrusher - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    I'd like to see some of the developers and designers at Opera come up with an Opera OS concept, just for kicks. It'd be an interesting read.

    Opera seems to be less...obnoxious about wanting user data than Microsoft, Google, or Apple do- I can't really back it up with facts, but it just seems like they wouldn't be as hellbent on getting as much marketing info on their users as possible.

    The real question (which you indirectly suggested) is would they be the same if they were able to release OperaOS, and the answer is probably "only slightly less so."
  • gr00 - Friday, January 14, 2011 - link

    Haha I was thinking the same thing when I heard about ChromeOS. Opera is my browser of choice.

    How are opera different? Take a look at security concerns with google that everyone just seems to have forgotten by now. First googlemail, than chrome browser, then ChromeOS. And it's evolution of google's idea of privacy and what of your data actually belongs to them. Google is way above Microsoft and Apple in this respect. And now you put all your data on their servers, without the option to use only local storage. How is this better than a virus?
  • nitrousoxide - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    So Chrome OS is gonna use very little computing power, right? What level of computing power does it require? I guess a GPU capable of hardware acceleration is essential 'cuz we got lots of HD videos on Youtube today. Won't Ontario APU be a good choice? Atom is just uncapable of handling that.
  • ckryan - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I hope Chrome becomes a true netbook alternative. I like the developer version seen in the pictures. I hope the lack of branding and silly aesthetics are left out of the final designs. The pictured netbook looks awesome... simple, and while I like my function keys and ctr/alt keys, I like the restrained keyboard design. Can't wait to see how it shakes out.
  • Kamen75 - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I would hope that Google would build a Gaming service like OnLive into these netbooks or just use OnLive itself. With all the heavy lifting being done by their own servers today's standard $299 Atom or better based netbook would work for this service. Add in hdmi output and you could possibly have a console grade gaming device at no additional cost. Just buy some controllers and subscribe to the service.
  • Ratman6161 - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Lets put this idea of a "Microsoft Tax" to rest.

    At $299 - $399 for chrome based netbooks, they cost the same as a Windows 7 based netbook such as the HP Mini's. Obviously Microsoft must figure they are making some money off of the deal somehow, but where ever it is it isn't passed on to the customer since the prices are the same.

    So whee is this mysterious "tax" I keep hearing about if I pay the same for either one?
  • Akv - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure, I don't know but Google may be engaging in a gross missunderstanding.

    I mean since it is based on Moblin Linux, why not get a netbook with a light Linux that would let me install anything, retain full control on my files, access anything on the web, and even... access Google apps online if I wish ???
  • GeorgeH - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    Beyond the giant middle finger to Microsoft and possibly Intel if ARM takes off, what is Google getting out of this? Are you going to be locked in to Google services (Google search, Gmail, etc.) or will Bing and Hotmail work too? Does the OS include "anonymous" user tracking/profiling for targeted advertising like other Google services?

    Basically, what's Google's game here?
  • skjef - Thursday, December 9, 2010 - link

    From what I can tell so far, you _need_ a Google account just to boot the thing up. You'll be automatically logged into any Google services you use like Youtube or search, which track your activity anyway.

    The default email/docs/search is all Google, which most people won't bother to change. Google makes all their money on advertising, so it seems like their game is just to get more people browsing the web faster. More page views = more advertising dollars.
  • GeorgeH - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - link

    I've gotten the same lame "Voice Five" popup (not a separate window, just slapped over the content) twice today, and only on Anandtech so I'm pretty sure it's on the AT side. Is it new AT policy to allow popup advertisements?

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