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Chrome Google Portables Hardware IT

At $250, New Chromebook Means Competition For Tablets, Netbooks, Ultrabooks 283

Posted by timothy
from the very-cute dept.
Google's new ARM-powered Chromebook isn't a lot of things: it isn't a full-fledged laptop, it's not a tablet (doesn't even have a touch screen); and by design it's not very good as a stand-alone device. Eric Lai at ZDNet, though, thinks Chromebooks are (with the price drop that accompanies the newest version) a good fit for business customers, at least "for white-collar employees and other workers who rarely stray away from their corporate campus and its Wi-Fi network." Lai lists some interesting large-scale rollouts with Chromebooks, including 19,000 of them in a South Carolina school district. Schools probably especially like the control that ChromeOS means for the laptops they administer. For those who'd like to have a more conventional but still lightweight ARM laptop, I wonder how quickly the ARM variant of Ubuntu will land on the new version. (Looks like I'm not the only one to leap to that thought.)
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At $250, New Chromebook Means Competition For Tablets, Netbooks, Ultrabooks

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  • by Dzimas (547818) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @06:55PM (#41724675)
    Unlike previous iterations of ChromeOS, this version allows at least a semblance of being able to work offline - there's an offline email client and you can use Google Docs without an internet connection. That said, I'm not sure it matters much because I suspect that very few typical users actually work offline much. Access to the web, email and social media pretty well requires a connection.

    The really cool think here is that we're seeing the impact of Moore's Law in new direction. ARM-based hardware in its various guises (cheap notebooks, tablets and smartphones) has ushered in a wave of inexpensive machines that has been made possible by the availability of incredibly cheap chipsets that are just good enough for the task at hand at prices that are absolutely astounding (I remember carrying a work-issued laptop in 1996 that cost almost $3,000).

  • by bostonidealist (2009964) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:05PM (#41724717) Journal
    Evidently, the new Chromebooks don't have a physical dev mode switch (the old ones used to break a lot), but can be put into dev mode via a firmware switch [google.com]. The price and combination of expansion ports (USB 3.0, HDMI, etc.), make this a pretty appealing target for hacking, although the ARM architecture means that lots of software will have to be recompiled, as the original post mentions.
  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:08PM (#41724729)

    ... and unlike netbooks, It's unlikely Microsoft will weasel in with a version of their OS for this hardware ... although with WinRT, I guess it is possible. At least it will force the price down. I kind of like the idea of this in general as a maintenance-free laptopn, but I really don't understand why people don't just install Ubuntu or something. They'd get almost all of the safety, but with a full offline OS.

  • by goruka (1721094) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @07:58PM (#41724965)
    Remember 2008, when the future was supposedly going to be Web Apps? Back then, we were to believe that native development was going to die and the future was applications programmed in HTML5, running on JIT-based JavaScript interpreters inside the web browser.

    Since then, App Stores materialized and proven to be highly successful. Developers have again and again refused to develop their apps in HTML5 and clearly preferred to go native.
    Apple, added an App Store to OSX, Android and Blackberry did the same and Microsoft is also going the same way with Windows 8.

    So, ChromeOS is based on a premise that didn't really catch on. I can't blame Google for insisting on this since the web is their main source of revenue, but at this point they should just adapt the highly successful Android OS to handle the Desktop metaphor and forget about Web Apps. It didn't work.
    Same should apply to Firefox and their Firefox OS..
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:25PM (#41725111)

    I know a couple uses for it. One of them, is essentially a remote terminal, assuming it has Citrix or other receiver support.

    For typing stuff and general business/IT stuff (remote logins), it is a lot easier to do that with a keyboard than on a tablet, especially when dealing with a number of screen or text sessions.

    Also, if the Chromebook gets stolen/seized, it is "just" a hardware loss except for saved browser preferences. An attacker might be able to tell what sites were visited with Chrome, but there would be little to no sensitive data physically on that device.

    No, it isn't a game machine, but if I needed something to take out with me on a vacation trip where I had to log from remote, it would be immensely useful.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by darkmeridian (119044) <william...chuang@@@gmail...com> on Sunday October 21, 2012 @08:55PM (#41725259) Homepage

    This is correct but you forgot VOIP. Many businesses are using VOIP or a PBX. Losing Internet access would mean losing the phones. I am a lawyer with my own small office. If my Internet went down (and I didn't have my smartphone) then that means no phone service, no Westlaw access for legal research, and no email. Internet access to me is as important as electricity service. I believe that I'm not an outlier.

  • 10" ARM Android netbooks are retailing from $100-150 in China, so I'd say Google have a bit of room to earn money on their Chromebooks.

  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @10:23PM (#41725587)

    It's a race to the bottom.

    They make the revenue by giving up your location and what you do. After all: this is Google we're talking about. Between Adsense and Google apps you use, there are no secrets. At.All.

    People pay for your secrets, so buyers get a nebbishy netbook wannabe, and think they're getting a deal. Yeeeesh.

    Like smartphones, they can sell it at or under cost and make money on the back-end.

    Race to the bottom is just how capitalism works. Its why Apples [who make siri useless with advertising] market share in phones continues to drop. Google will never give away your secrets, because it is not a good business model. They sell advertising space.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @10:45PM (#41725677)

    My Dell Inspiron 8600 from years ago still lasts 8.5 hours on a charge, and with a power-sucking a 1920 x 1200 screen.

    The bulk of the power isnt consumed by the number of pixels.. its consumed by the backlight. Want a high contrast ratio so you can see it in direct sunlight? Suffer a significantly reduced battery life.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Khashishi (775369) on Sunday October 21, 2012 @11:13PM (#41725793) Journal

    Wow, the PHB shows quite a bit of acuity.

  • Netbook (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BeaverCleaver (673164) on Monday October 22, 2012 @12:00AM (#41725963)

    For $200 if bought a 10.1 inch netbook that seems like good value.

    • Dual-core Atom CPU
    • Long battery life (at least 6 hours)
    • Full-HD playback with HDMI-out
    • 320 GB hard drive for local storage (ubiquitous unmetered wifi for cloud use would be lovely but is still pretty rare in .au)
    • USB and SD card slots

    It works great for watching movies on the bus/train when on vacation (or in a hotel, thanks to HDMI and VGA out), occasional work when commuting, and of course sitting next to the couch to fact-check the rubbish that passes for TV news. It's an Asus eeepc "Flare" that I bought right off the shelf at Best Buy. When I get the chance it'll need some more RAM, so I might have to spend another $20.

    I can see the value of these things for large companies or schools that can remote administer and secure large numbers of machines, but for home users these would seem to be a fringe item.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday October 22, 2012 @05:36AM (#41726905) Homepage

    Ahh someone that has zero experience in IT chiming in as an expert. Let me fill you in there kiddo so you undeerstand how the big boys play IT. Goog's business services works great. ALL our CRM systems are web based already as well as other data systems so moving them to cheap disposable chrome books is a no brainer. What is wasting their time is Giving them Windows Laptops. Having to have IT service them, deal with AV issues, etc...

    Chromebooks work great for all of them. PLUS it give them more connectivity as we are buying a large data pool for all the laptops to be connected everywhere. Before the sales guys had to find a wifi location OR use their cellphone. Now they are "always on" and always through our Company connection via VPN.

    Works great. Maybe you should look into how it all actually works.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 22, 2012 @08:38AM (#41727951)

    Chromebooks work great for all of them.

    LOL. Sure they do. Yet another clueless geek who has decided that "these are cool, therefore everybody needs them, and will love them, and will never have a problem using them."

    For what it's worth champ, I work IT for one of the largest financial services companies in the world. I know how the big boys "play IT," and Chromebooks are not how they do it, and never will be. The operative term in your statement is "play" - Chromebooks gives you something new to *play* with. Your users will hate you, and your company's investment in Chromebooks will fail - remember this post in 2 years when you're getting laid off, will you?

    Also, bee-tee-dub, if you're using "Goog's business services" - you're not working for "the big boys," sorry.

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