Not Japan-related per se, but…
As some already know I am extremely excited about Google’s upcoming Chrome OS. The prospect of a laptop that turns on instantly and “just works” like the iPod Touch give me a warm, tingly feeling. I’ve recently come across some articles that tie together some of my thoughts on the subject, so here goes:
- This stock writer has the right idea, I think:
Why Chrome OS Is a Game Changer
Historically, open-source operating systems and applications have had a rough time attracting consumers. For example, Microsoft completely dominated Linux in netbooks. But Android proved that the Google name resonates with consumers and manufacturers looking for something fresh to push. Companies that bet on Android — such as Motorola (MOT) and HTC — are seeing that gamble pay off. Android has basically paved the way for manufacturer adoption of Chrome OS.
The primary criticism against the Chrome concept is that it’s almost entirely Internet-focused and doesn’t have much use when not connected to the Web.
However, I don’t see how that’s a bad thing because, for most consumers, all computers are bricks when they’re not online. Google wants eyeballs on the Web — not on desktop applications — so it has a direct incentive to push Web-centric devices. In the late ’90s, Internet appliances were big jokes, but that’s all computers are these days — a way to get on the Internet.
- Some more details on how the OS is coming together from TechCrunch, with some good signs that it will include at least one OS essential – mindless video games.
- One potential drawback – the relatively high specs Google is demanding from PC makers (solid-state hard drives, HD screens) might make Chrome notebooks a bit pricey.
My ideal machine would be a “convertible laptop” with a screen that can swivel into a tablet. If someone can pull that off (so far all the convertible laptops I have seen are atrocious) whatever OS it runs could work.
Is anyone else as interested as I am? I wonder if Chrome OS could take off in Japan. Maybe if they come out with Chrome tablets…
28 thoughts on “Excited about Chrome OS”
I’m waiting for a laptop that works in two parts and lets you remove the screen portion and use it like an iPad for basic stuff like movies and internetting but is fierce enough to work as a desktop replacement when in one piece.
I’d like an iPad for watching downloaded TV shows, etc. but for me it doesn’t seem like a suitable piece of hardware for someone who writes, takes serious notes, etc.
I don’t see how it would take off in Japan considering how little wireless Internet access there is. You could only ever use it at home.
Casey, you must mean “free” wireless access. There are lots of wireless service providers. Walk into any large electronics store and they’ll be happy to sign you up for one, including WiMAX by UQ Communications and many others.
Only one thing concern me about Chrome OS. What do you do with your computer when you don’t have any internet connection?
Have you seen Microsoft’s concept tablet? It is sort of like two iPads connected with a hinge to form a notebook–an “iPad DS” if you will.
I currently pay Y315 a month for Wireless Gate, which gives access to Yahoo and Livedoor hotspots. The connection is usually kind of spotty but lets me check email and Twitter at Tokyo station on my ipod touch for less than I’d pay to access with my keitai.
Also my local Starbucks gives 10 minutes of free access per day from Flets. And sometime soon Softbank/Yahoo will offer connections there as well. Who knows, maybe theyll start offering unlimited free wireless like they started to do in the States just recently
I am staying away from 3G/Wimax type plans because they are too damned expensive and I just don’t need to use the net outside of my apartment that much.
Joe – thanks for the heads up on that one. Looks like it has been canceled, but at least we have evidence that the imagination to eventually put something like that out there is gaining some critical mass.
In any case, it is better than my suggestion above – you could always hook up a USB keyboard to something like that.
“I just don’t need to use the net outside of my apartment that much.”
That goes for me as well.
Well, I believe there are several options for using a hard keyboard with an iPad — you can link a Bluetooth keyboard to it, or buy a special keyboard dock from Apple. The problem is that it’s kind of awkward in combination with the touchscreen. If you are operating solely with a keyboard and mouse, you can leave your hands in the same general region of the workspace indefinitely, but replacing the mouse with a touchscreen means constantly having to move your hands back and forth.
“I believe there are several options for using a hard keyboard with an iPad—you can link a Bluetooth keyboard to it, or buy a special keyboard dock from Apple. The problem is that it’s kind of awkward in combination with the touchscreen.”
All true. However, it seems that as with many of its products, Apple goes out of the way to get you to buy its pricey peripherals while preventing you from using some of the most easily available computing hardware. If I were in any university, office, manga kissa, or library, there would be a USB keyboard kicking around that I could use with an ideal device right out of the box.
My biggest concern is that the iPad is essentially a (pricey by today’s standards) laptop but not one that you can easily, say, edit a track changes Word file with. I’m hoping for a future where I don’t have to buy a work machine and then something else that costs just as much to make watching TV on the bus more comfortable.
I am also really looking forward to Chrome OS. I have been using the Chrome browser since it came out and I love so I am sure the OS will also be awesome. I am curious how some of the $100 Chrome OS tablets will perform.
Interested in this too. I would really like some kind of laptop/tablet that had the power of a laptop. The iPad just doesnt cut it. I’m a pretty heavy gamer, and the item needs to also have abilities like people have mentioned and programming capabilities too (eg Python).
I would like internet access outside of the house, but as Adamu has pointed out it’s too expensive to justify at the moment. It would be nice if the internet providers also branched out and provided a mobile plan that you could add on to your normal internet account. For example, pay 6000yen for hikari fibre to the home, and an extra 1-2000yen for a mobile plan. That’s something I’d be prepared to look at.
I believe E-Mobile sells ADSL in addition to its 3G data plans.
M-bone: USB devices are powered though the USB connection. It’s simply not a viable solution for a portable device to provide even a small amount of power through the USB connection.
While Apple’s recent proprietary headphone choices (iphone, new shuffle) are a bit frustrating, I’m not sure you can argue that Apple requires expensive peripherals. The iPad allows for bluetooth keyboards, if I’ve understood correctly. Other than headphones, I’ve never encountered a case where I couldn’t use the cheapest peripherals in the shop.
Adam, et al:
I’m not on board with the tablet/laptop device, though I remember seeing one on TechCrunch not long before the iPad debuted. Unless someone has a better idea about how to do it, all I can picture is a tablet that syncs hard disks with a laptop, and then functions as a low quality monitor.
Lemme correct myself a little for clarity. MOST USB devices are powered through the USB connection. I’ve never seen a “wired” battery- or AC-powered keyboard. My understanding is that adding bluetooth to a keyboard is now a near trivial cost (well under $1), so if you’re gonna require batteries, it may as well be wireless.
“It’s simply not a viable solution for a portable device to provide even a small amount of power through the USB connection.”
You can do it with a $250 netbook and get 3-4 hours out of the battery.
As for the bluetooth – sure, but that means you have to lug a keyboard around (or mess around with someone’s). You can only count on finding a USB one if you want to borrow. If you are taking an iPad and a keyboard, you are better off just taking a netbook/light laptop.
To buy an iPad with 1/3 of the memory of a middling netbook and enough stuff (overpriced keyboard, Apple’s official prop up, etc.) to use it for work, you are looking at close to $1000. For that, you can get a beast of a laptop. The iPad is a fine gadget, but I can’t see many circumstances where it would be suitable for work and Apple’s “a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price” sales pitch is just funny.
Don’t even get me started on apps….
“It’s simply not a viable solution for a portable device to provide even a small amount of power through the USB connection.”
Incidentally, isn’t this the same argument that Jobs makes about Flash?
One of the things that I don’t like about Apple is the tendency to take use options away from the user – what business of Apple’s is it if I want to empty the battery in half an hour? The extreme case is the various cases of content censorship that they have been involved in.
I would certainly not mind having an iPad for use as a fancy ebook reader, but I really can’t see myself using it for much else. My iPhone is perfectly adequate for the amount of web browsing I want to do on the average day out of the house, and if I’m going to need to do anything serious with a computer while not at home a real keyboard and probably some multi-tasking of web browser and word processor is going to be required. Which my eeePC is far better suited for. So, while I would love to have a nice ebook reader with a color screen, it’s far, far too expensive for me to actually justify getting one for that, but maybe for $200 or so I would have a different opinion.
The iPad has its niche. It’s a machine designed for consuming information, not for creating it.
Among lawyers, it seems to be gaining a lot of traction among litigators. They love it because it can hold all their documents and legal references in one place, because it’s easy to use surreptitiously in a courtroom, because they can easily present images and data to judges and juries with it, and because they tend to do much more reading and editing than writing (the iPad supposedly has really easy-to-use document markup software, though I haven’t tried it).
For transactional guys, who have to do a lot of email, contract and memo writing, there’s much less appeal: they basically need a hard keyboard. For translators, who absolutely need to have robust document creation, formatting and multitasking capabilities, it’s nearly useless. But there are upmarket devices like laptops which meet these needs pretty well already.
I have no need for an iPad either. I could see myself getting one if I had a more senior job where I was constantly traveling or going into meetings, delegating most of the heavy lifting (like report writing) to subordinates. In that case, my priority would be getting lots of information with minimal fuss, and the iPad is excellent for that. As the subordinate who gets all the heavy lifting, it’s better for me to have a desktop or laptop.
Thanks for the info on how they are being used in the law world. It is really a wonder that the document camera / PC / projector combos that are standard for lecture halls have never become a must in courtrooms.
Roy – I’m holding out for something that can switch between e-ink and color. The iPad is comfortable in the hands, but is just as hard on the eyes as a laptop.
Without going too fanboy: I think Joe sort of bridges the gap between M-bone and me.
When I talk about the iPad, I’m not envisioning grinding away on text-based work. I’m envisioning sitting in a cafe and relaxing with a book or a movie or a simple game. I could imagine using it to write emails or look at the internet while my desktop is playing a movie. If you’ve used one, you know it’s pretty amazing at each of those things. (Flash has never been an issue for me, but I’m sure it is for some people.)
Rather than the iPad, I’ve never understood the place for a netbook. Unless you have a favorite Porter bag that you wanna squeeze a computer into, why not go for a laptop instead of an underpowered machine that makes reading text a chore and watching movies a trial? 4 hours of battery life is the exact opposite of a selling point to me.
Laptops can be a pain to lug around (like walking for 3km with one or lugging one around an airport for 8 hours). Netbooks are perfect for things like library and archival note taking and business trips / conferences where you are not sure if you are going to need a computer. Also, the main selling point for me is that a $500 laptop (which gets you a 17 in screen, 250 gb hard drive, Word and whatnot) AND a netbook that gives you wireless for those cafe situations and a good backup (in what I admit are circumstances somewhat unique to a profession) can be had for about the same price as a (stacked) iPad. The iPad gives you a 9.7 inch diagonal for movies and netbooks average 10.1 so it wouldn’t be that bad (if I seriously cared about the picture, I wouldn’t be watching it on a 10 inch screen anyway).
The bottom line is that I can’t see iPad like machines as the future if they are going to run nearly twice as much money as something that actually lets you compute and have your fun too.
Also, Natem are you in Japan? Three or four of my colleagues (not in Japan) have had MacBooks stolen (one had it taken from his bag while in a small group at a bar and nobody noticed, one snatch and grab, one targeted break-in). There are signs up all around the subway stations near where I work that iPhone (named) grabbing is common. Outside of Japan, I don’t think that an iPad – an even more attractive target – would be worth the stress at this point. That’s another advantage of a netbook – nobody would ever care to steal one!
Should also have mentioned that I got my netbook for free when I signed up for an internet plan in Japan. Probably wouldn’t have bought one otherwise (ie. would bite the bullet and lug the damn laptop).
M-Bone: Most courtrooms are rigged for PowerPoint these days, but it isn’t really necessary when you have an audience of one to twelve people, and many people find it easier to have the visuals in their hand rather than on the other side of the room.
“Rather than the iPad, I’ve never understood the place for a netbook. Unless you have a favorite Porter bag that you wanna squeeze a computer into, why not go for a laptop instead of an underpowered machine that makes reading text a chore and watching movies a trial? 4 hours of battery life is the exact opposite of a selling point to me.”
I have a gigantic powerful desktop machine with both a 24″ and 17″ monitor in my apartment that I use for most things, but I also have a 10″ eeePC that I got for two things – travel and working on writing at school or cafes or whatever outside of my house, and it has been perfect for that. It’s small enough to be in my backpack without slowing me down at all, but also cheap enough so that I don’t have to feel particularly paranoid about it while back-packing (and save all of that paranoia for my precious digital camera and lenses instead…) The iPad would be handy as a travel browser, but pretty lousy for typing all the notes and whatever I have to do, not to mention the fact that it’s also going to be FAR more fragile than the clamshell design of a netbook that keeps the screen safe even while bouncing around. And of course, the iPad would be no good as a word-processor around town.
As neat as it is, I just can’t an iPad replacing either my iPhone OR my netbook for 90% of the things I use either one for. The only exception, and it’s a big one, is reading things. I do very much want a good ebook reader, useful for both mono text and color pages.
As for portable video, it’s purely a personal thing, but I just don’t care. Anything that demands a decent screen I’m happy to wait to get home for.
BTW natem, I don’t see how reading text is a chore on a netbook. The screen on mine is quite fine, and about the same size as that of an iPad. It can’t really play back a video even as high-res as 720p, but that’s actually larger than the screen itself, and normal DVD resolution works fine.
I’m not here to fight off the barbarian hordes or anything. If you like netbooks, you like ’em. For me the sweetspot between smartphone and laptop is not “small, low-powered laptop”.
M-Bone: I’m in Japan so, yeah, theft isn’t really an issue. Though it seems sad to think that one has to avoid highly desirable products because they are highly desirable.
Roy: Reading on any backlit LCD screen kinda sucks, but reading on a fixed screen with comparably low resolution at awkward angles sucks more. The iPad and other tablets are still backlit LCD screens, but otherwise they are more like books.
BTW, if you’ve never used it, I find spreeder.com a much more pleasant way to read English language text on-screen.
“BTW, if you’ve never used it, I find spreeder.com a much more pleasant way to read English language text on-screen.”
This is fascinating. Don’t know if it is fascinating “good” or fascinating “bad”, but it certainly is fascinating.
Update on corporate iPad use here.
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