Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't Bet Against Chrome OS

Well, Google has taken the wraps off it's much anticipated Chrome OS, and it didn't go over so well.  In fact twitteratti and techtards everywhere were almost universally "meh" about it - oh and it's behind schedule too.....isn't that just super.  In case you weren't paying attention to the star in the east and missed the demo, here's the gist of it.  Chrome OS is essentially the Chrome browser, and isn't really what most people would consider an OS.  Google Chrome will be sold on a netbook like hardware platform that boots instantly right to an enhanced Chrome browser.  The tech press however, was looking for a Windows killer and a repeat of the Apple/MS wars.  That would have been a good story, but a glorified browser isn't exactly a "stop the presses" event.  I think however, that they are largely missing the point.  The important thing about the Chrome OS is that it isn't an OS.  I freely admit that the proposed platform has it's limitations, you won't be running Photoshop CS3 or Visual Studio on a Chrome machine any time soon.  Most people will want (or need) to have a traditional PC simply because Browser based apps are still pretty rudimentary compared to locally hosted OS based offerings (OS apps have had a significant head start).   Soon however, possibly even now, browser based apps and cloud services will be "good enough".  I would argue that video entertainment (games, video editing, photo editing etc)  is the most resource intensive task most people do with their home PC's.  Do I really need a dual core PC with a super duper video card and tons memory to do word documents and other office stuff? Not IMHO.  Is the average PC really suited for entertainment display? Not IMHO, the screen is too small and the speakers stink.  Hooking the PC to a large HDTV is a great way to go, and alot of people have already done that, myself included.  The trouble is, I already have two computers hooked up to the TV, namely the digital cable box/DVR and a game console.  Both of those "computers" are a lot less of a hassle to deal with than the PC/OS combo.  So, If I loose the PC with the OS, what am I giving up?  Seems to me, the answer is "not a heck of a lot", except for word processing and photo editing, both of which are or will be "good enough" in the browser in short order.  In my opinion, within the next 3-4 years, the only think keeping most people chained to a traditional OS/PC combination will be habit.  Come to think of it, the instant on chrome browser/network device combo makes a compelling case for those "Nettops" that have popped up here and there, one of those would make the perfect kitchen computer.


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