Google launches Chromebook, Chromebox & gets it right

18 thoughts on “Google launches Chromebook, Chromebox & gets it right”

  1. I don’t remember seeing this before, so I’m going to ask. What is the EULA agreement for Chrome OS, specifically for enterprise/school installations? Will Google use business traffic to generate targeted ads? In a sense they can do this now when users point their browsers to Google and search. But if integrated at an ‘OS’ level, does this become more of an issue? How is it handled for organizations that use Google Mail and Docs?

    1. Really? What it is you’re looking for in a “linux distro” then? Apart from running the linux kernel underneath and a few common libraries that you aren’t really able to access, this doesn’t seem to resemble anything I would call a “linux distro”. Far too much baby being thrown out with the bathwater to qualify as a “linux distro” in my eyes.

      If you want another appliance platform, that’s fine, but it’s not got much to do with “linux distros”.

    2. Agreed, with Google behind this it stands to ultimately become something very usable. Perhaps in time Chrome OS can be included in the great debate of “Windows vs OS X vs Chrome OS.

  2. The Chromebox looks like a very interesting device, but it kind of sits in a weird place. It’s almost like a Mac mini, indeed, except it’s just a web browser. Who’s going to use 6 USB ports on a web browser, or 3 video ports?

    I wonder which CPU exactly “Intel Core” refers to, and whether there’s any space inside for adding internal storage. If it can reasonably be upgraded into basically a Mac mini, then I could see this being the next “Shuttle PC”. That would be very nifty. (I kind of doubt there’s any internal storage bay, though.)

    As it is, it’s kind of more like the Apple TV: no local storage, just enough power to present video off the network. With USB, Wifi/ethernet, and video ports which can easily be converted to HDMI, it would make a pretty nice HTPC. Unfortunately, it’s not priced for that: if you just want a Netflix box, an Apple TV is 1/3 the price (and doesn’t require an adapter for HDMI).

    My next thought was that they’re shooting for point-of-sale terminals, and that could be a great market (and ripe for disruption), but I’m not sure if it’s even competitive there. An iPad 2 is only $70 more, and doesn’t require you to already have a keyboard, mouse, and display, so it may end up being cheaper.

    The Chromebook is even stranger: at its absolute cheapest, it’s only $50 cheaper than an iPad 2, and the form factor definitely isn’t aimed at POS terminals. Getting the 3G version adds $200 to the price, making it even more expensive than the iPad, and they’re not clear on what the offline situation is.

    This looks like a nice netbook, but netbooks haven’t exactly been doing well against tablets, and I’m not sure it’s nice enough to make people prefer it to a tablet from the industry leader. I would buy a good netbook, but only one with a local OS and storage — otherwise, I don’t see the point of buying that over a tablet.

    If it was well cheaper than an iPad, like $200? Sure, deal. If it had an SSD and could run a full Linux distro? Sure, deal. But as it is now, I’m just not seeing the point.

    1. Jesse

      They don’t talk about what chip they are using and I cannot break into it and find those details. Sorry.

      As for rest of your comment, I think my post outlines how I feel about the device and the market it is going after

    2. Whoa. There’s a lot of misinformation you’re spreading there. $450 is not the “cheapest” Chromebook. It’s the most expensive. The cheapest is around $300. And 3G doesn’t add $200, more like $50. The iPad adds $100. It’s actually the device which charges the most for the addition of a 3G chip.

    3. I think the point of the Chromebox is for large organizations with thousands of old PCs running XP. They can keep their monitors, keyboards, and mice. They can ditch the dusty old PCs + Windows and all the maintenance costs that go with it. They can everyone into the cloud for a tiny fraction of what it would cost to upgrade to PCs capable of running a modern MS Windows + Office.

  3. “Screamingly fast”…”fantastically well” — these impressions are coming from someone who, what, uses a HP Touchpad for daily web business? A netbook launches cached software quickly: Area Dads Impressed. These breathless superlatives could really use a context.

    This is “not necessarily a review” — so it’s a kindasorta review. But it’s also not necessarily coherent writing. Maybe you were literally running out of breath when it came to “Microsoft which needs to sell a lot of these devices in order to [end of paragraph, sic]” and “Bottomline [sic]”. You finish it off with “The ChromeOS and the devices based on the OS have reached a point…It [sic, pronoun agreement] is also benefitting [no sic, just terrible usage] from the fact [of the reality that presently etc.]…”

    Let’s hope Om will be benefitting from a copy editor soon.

  4. I keep getting hung up on the fact that if the Chromebox were an ARM device it would cost under $100. Under $200 for the Chromebook. I don’t think it’s going to be popular until it hits those price points. But perhaps that’s the point for right now. They may not be prepared for a mass market device at this point. There’s also the matter of NaCl tying them to x86 instructions, I suppose. But that’s at least a solvable issue.

  5. New, more powerful chips and other improvements should make Chromebooks even more attractive to potential buyers. As more people adopt Chromebooks more will also want to use them to access their Windows applications, especially for work.

    One possible solution for this requirement is Ericom AccessNow, an HTML5 RDP client that enables tablet users to connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server, physical desktops or VDI virtual desktops – and run their applications and desktops in a browser.

    Ericom‘s AccessNow does not require any client or other underlying technology to be installed on end-user devices – an HTML5 browser is all that is required.

    You can choose to run a full Windows desktop or just a specific Windows app, and that desktop or Windows app will appear within a browser tab.

    For more info, and to download a demo, visit:
    http://www.ericom.com/RDPChromebook.asp?URL_ID=708

    Note: I work for Ericom

  6. I think the Chrome Box might well help propel us farther away from the days of the desktop PC, yet back to the days of mainframes and terminals. I work at a stodgy food processing company, margins in this business are 3%, and the plant is a museum of antiquated equipment. I have laptops that run DOS and Windows 3.1 because the needed apps will not run on later OS’s. Even so, my company saw fit to equip us with Citrix terminals at our work stations. Considering the environment, those Citrix systems do alright. These Chrome systems, with their minimal hardware, hit the right balance as work stations (as opposed to workstations), another solution where less-is-more is finding a receptive audience. I hope my company is far-sighted enough to equip us with Chrome Boxes, or their equivalents, when they finish the new plant in two years.

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