Ronnie05's Blog

Chromebooks (Part IV): 10 reasons why Chromebooks haven’t really won a lot of admirers out there! (Not Yet!)

Contd from earlier posts: The cloud kisses the laptop, Subscriptions that might have changed the industry standards and Google’s own iPad Moment.

With Chromebook, Google has redrawn the boundaries of desktop virtualization. However, there apprehensions, the biggest being, Netbook as a category is loosing out to the Tablets. While Chromebook has the Cloud edge, could Google have done better with ChromeTab. Listing out a few neagtive thoughts and reactions behind the Chromebook…

1. While, Chromebooks can connect with external devices such as cameras (via USB) and headsets,it is maimed by the exclusion of Apple users. The millions of existing iPhone, iPad and iPod owners cannot use the Chromebook with those devices. That is one task the Chromebook can’t perform, and it is unlikely it ever will. Google will be looking at convincing Apple product owners that they need to switch, or forget the Chromebook. That is a huge unreachable market for a brand new product. (ZDNet).

2. Chromebooks retail at $349 at the least. Will people want to pay as much for such a light client device as they do for a fully loaded notebook running a traditional OS like Microsoft Windows? The Chromebook Series 5 is powered by a 1.66GHz dual-core Intel Atom N570 processor, and has a 16GB mSATA solid-state drive and 2GB of RAM. Those are netbook parts in a machine that’s priced at the level of low-end notebooks. (PC Mag)

3. As the recent Amazon Web Services outage demonstrated, cloud services can fail and customers can lose data (Information Week). Google itself has faced loads of Gmail incidents loosing valuable user data.

4. With Cloud centric OS’es, the race will be towards stealing access credentials, after which, it’s game over. Who needs to steal banking accounts, when you have Google Checkout? Or, who needs to monitor passwords, when they’re all nicely stored into the Google Dashboard?…Earlier today, I got asked by a friend- ‘How is Chrome OS from a security point of view, better or worse?’ I answered, ‘It’s better, but much worse. (Software Security at Kaspersky)

5. Google’s foray into hardware products have not really been successful. Need to look beyond the Nexus One and Nexus S? Has Google learned its lessons from its cell phone debacle? We’ll see.

6. We’d be forced to stick to a browser for hours. Is it not worth to wait 15 to 20 seconds for Windows 7 to boot on Netbooks and have the flexibility to work with any application? Microsoft came under heavy fire for taking advantage of its Windows operating system to promote Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer, even though you can download any browser using the IE. Now how about sticking to the Chrome browser for the entire life cycle of your Netbook! That’s really not a good Idea. People often criticize ‘Apple’ for crippling their devices off the features and for controlling the third party applications to generate more and more revenue. If that is bad, then have a look at Google’s business model. They have outdone Apple in terms of crippling the usability. Google wants you to buy a Netbook with nothing but a Chrome Browser onboard. All the applications you’d run would be within the browser; all your family photos and videos would be directly saved on Google’s server, multitasking is out of question (yes, there will be a new tab but that doesn’t count as multitasking), and it will update automatically without giving you the option to decide whether or not you wish to download and apply the update.

7. There’s much to recommend the platform, we can confidently say it’s still years away from the replacing most business machines. Google offers ways of working around the platform’s limitations – it just unveiled a new local file manager, and Citrix is providing a desktop virtualization tool for running legacy applications – but these tools can take you only so far. Usability for instance without internet connected is short, and though HTML5 and Open standards platform address this issue, it still is a drawback that needs to be addressed. Aregister

8. The Chromebooks aren’t suited to things like video editing, and they’re quite limited when it comes to most multimedia or design tasks. But the problem goes beyond an inability to run certain applications. In many cases the ease of usage and a friendly interface is lacking and will take some time to come up on its steam.

9. Your computer has no hard drive. You can’t download them and move them somewhere else. You can’t change services. You have nowhere to go. That’s a lot of power to give one company, isn’t it? (SearchEngineWatch)

10. The Chromebook for all its cloud related advantages is not as trendy and path breaking as the iPad or the Android tablets. Could Google have been wiser to have worked on a ChromeTab as against a Chromebook. We will see that.

A survey by British website, Inquirer, asked its readers: Would they prefer to store their documents and data locally instead of surrendering it to a Google Chromebook and its cloud storage? Only a small minority of readers are tempted by the devices, vindicating my thought that netbooks in terms of form factors are not anywhere close to the Tablets. The result of the survey was that
7% prefered a Google Chromebook because they thought it would be useful for their purposes, just browsing the net.
4% liked it because it is ‘an inexpensive laptop’
16% would rather buy a tablet
47% prefer to keep personal documents on PC/Laptop, suggesting that perhaps the cloud, or at least Google’s cloud, has little appeal.
26% respondents didnot know what a Chromebook was. The 26% is a good number, because it means that 74% respondents know the Chromebook.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are skeptical. However, It’s worth remembering that the iPad similarly met with a barrage of criticism and did change how we think about computers.

Chromebooks (Part III): The cloud kisses the laptop (Would have been glad if it would have been the Tablet)

Continued from an earlier post.

The idea of a computing device with most of the computing systems outsourced to the cloud is a novel one and has been around for a while now. Here are the reasons on why it is ground breaking?

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Chrome OS simplifies the operating system by putting most all applications and data inside the browser, and in doing so, it takes a multilayered approach to security, restricting each application to its own sandbox and introducing a verified boot sequence that seeks to identify malware at startup time.

All OS updates, including security fixes, are automatically pushed down to the device over the web, and since virtually no applications or data files sit on device itself, it’s easier to set up a machine – or move to a new one when it is lost or stolen or bricked. What’s more, Chromebooks – equipped with flash drives – offer unusually fast boottimes.

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With a Chromebook users won’t wait minutes for computers to boot and browsers to start. This provides access to email in seconds. The Chromebook provides automatic access to updates which will get faster over time.All individual apps, games, photos, music, movies and documents will be accessible from wherever the user is and the Chromebook will provide freedom from hassles like worrying on loss of computer and data backing up. Just because the back end systems are lightb and easy, Chromebooks will last a day of use on a single charge. With optional 3G, accessibility to web is direct. Chromebooks have many layers of security built in so there is no anti-virus software to buy and maintain.

The MAJORITY of Internet Users are people who only go onto the PC for four activities: Email, Shopping, Online Banking, Facebook. The fact remains that do not users get Dual or quadcore, 4 GB of memory, DDR2, DDR3, Photoshop, Video Editing, Access, Excel and Word is MEANINGLESS to most people who are not Professionals. Add to it the need to buy AntiVirus, Firewall Protection, OS maintenance and the hardware purchase turns onerous. Users just want to Log in, Look at their email, post to Facebook & Pay a bill. Beyond that, the the most strenuous task they’ll ever put on their laptop might be streaming a HD Movie.

Although it remains to be seen how well Chrome OS works when deprived of internet access, the potential for Chromebooks to slash both IT support hassles and the amount of money spent on hardware and software is very enticing. We will get to know the response to Chromebooks in a while. But for me i think the idea of a ChromeTab is much more attractive and enticing.

Chromebook (Part II): Subscriptions that might have changed industry standards

Google has smartly aimed it squarely at the enterprise and the education system. It will be sold to consumers, too, and that’s the market segment that may give Google the most fits with the Chromebook.

Google will charge businesses $1,008 to use netbooks for three years. The subscription requires a three-year contract, and it includes not only continuous software updates but also a web-based management console, Google support, and hardware replacements.This translates into a $28 per user subscription plan for businesses and it can be an affordable way for small businesses to provide laptops to its users, but to really satisfy enterprise users, Google needs to woo its IT decision makers. The value here is that enterprise and education customers can count on a dramatic decrease in costs from a maintenance standpoint.

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Secondly, Google will provide 100MB of free 3G data each month through its partner Verizon wireless. Interestingly, the deal ends after two years (rather than lasting for the life of the product).

Three years is an awfully long time, particularly when you’re dealing with a comparatively low-spec machine such as the ones announced from Acer and Samsung today (both of which will ship June 15th). But for businesses and educational institutions, is it good enough? It’s also worth noting that Google considered shorter contracts (with higher monthly fees), but it found during market research that most institutions never upgraded their machines before three years, anyway. Given that data, it just made sense to offer lower monthly rates and on a refresh cycle that fit nicely with what they found.

According to a recent Gartner Research survey, typical businesses spend between $3,300 and $5,800 on each of its desktops. The subscription model for Chromebook will ultimately save a hefty portion of these dollars because the machine is both easier to administer and more secure than traditional machines.

Google’s subscription plan, reduces the total cost of ownership to less than half what enterprises see right now. The Chromebooks would be launched 15th June and it would be interesting to note which way is it headed. Google on its part is firing all cylinders to ensure its success.

Chromebook (Part1): Google’s own iPad moment

Google’s IO conference had its share of moments with Google Music Beta service, The Ice-cream Sandwich, The Android Open Accessory development tool kit to bridge over the fragmentation and multi-device conundrum that they have had so long and the long awaited ChromeBooks. I had 2 years ago blogged about Light and Zippy Oss that would power the Internet computing world. That day it seems has finally come. Here’s documenting the Chrome powered Chromebook’s, Google’s Internet Netbooks.


Outstanding intro video for the Chromebook

The web-only laptops fundamentally reinvent computers. Chromebooks are built and optimized for the web, where users are already spend most of their computing time. The Chromebook essentially enables a faster, simpler and more secure experience without all the headaches of ordinary computers. Google and its vast server farms take care of apps, backup, security, maintenance and support.

The Chromebook is powered by the Chrome web browser and uses the HTML5 and other open standards platforms. With Google providing offline support, which now lets users access their Google Docs, Google Calendar and Gmail accounts without an Internet connection, the product story is well stacked. This will certainly alleviate the concerns of those who may want to work on their Chromebooks on a plane, or at locations where there is no Internet connection. Caching documents on local storage is not an issue, as all Chromebooks implement data encryption using tamper-resisting hardware to protect against the theft.

Google thus marries the prowess of centralized processing or cloud computing to lean machines. The machines featured are Samsung and Acer. Samsung’s notebooks have 12.1″ displays, Atom Dual-Core processors, 16 GB solid state drives, weigh 1.48 kg and get 8.5 hours of continuous usage. They’re similar to the Acer notebooks, which have 11.6″ displays, a higher resolution, but only get 6 hours of usage. Some of the notebooks include 3G support, while other notebooks are Wi-Fi only.The onboard processor is an Intel Dual Core Atom, coupled with 2 GB RAM. Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n is going to be a standard for all Chromebooks. Variants with 3G module would also be available. Chromebook would usually sport 2 USB 2.0 ports and a memory card reader. Unlike the Samsung s line up, Acer will have a Chromebook with HD-out feature. Both companies will be releasing two or more variants with minor differences.

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