Chromebook Access to Google Play Store a Big Deal

Carl Weinschenk

The move by Google to enable all Android Play Store apps to work on Chromebooks – which was announced last week – is a really big deal, according to Computerworld’s JR Raphael:

Think about it: With Android apps in the equation, Chromebooks will gain the ability to offer things like Microsoft's full suite of Office utilities. They'll have a variety of powerful image editors along with a fully functioning Skype client and a wealth of other tools that'll eliminate many of the holes in a Web-centric environment. If it's available on Android, it'll be available on a Chromebook as well.

More specifically, he sees the move as redefining Chromebook’s possibilities, the creation of what in essence is a new device, strengthening the Android Play Store, and creating intriguing possibilities for the future.

An Oldie But a Goldie

In the early days of the cable industry, insurgents would try to go into business against the entrenched provider. These companies were called overbuilders, and their schemes rarely worked out. Indeed, in many cases, they were simply looking for a “greenmail” payday.

That ancient history is somewhat relevant again. A condition of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) approval of Charter Communication’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks is that the newly enlarged company provide broadband speeds of at least 60 Megabits per second (Mbps) to a minimum of 1 million homes that are already served by a provider offering 25 Mbps service.

In other words, the government is demanding that Charter get into the overbuilding business. Another bit of arcane cable history is that cable operators, safely ensconced in their own franchise, never overbuilt each other. That professional courtesy led to the industry’s success. (It also led to its unpopularity, since companies with no competition act that way.)

That tradition is holding. Ars Technica reports that Charter will only go after telcos, not other cable companies.

It goes beyond courtesy. Charter says that it is easier to win telco customers than cable subscribers. The other – and perhaps real – reason is that the move protects its future. Writer Jon Brodkin points out that another reason is that the FCC is not likely to approve the acquisition by Charter of a company with which it competes. Charter may want to snap up some cable companies in the future, so only going after telcos keeps as many avenues as possible open.

Intel Makes a Move Toward IoT, Connected Cars

Intel is acquiring Itseez. Acquisitions, of course, are good breadcrumbs for figuring out a company’s strategic direction. Itseez offers products that are applicable to the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous vehicles.

The company clearly wants to move in that direction, as part of its transition from a company that sells PCs to one that focuses on “smart-connected computing devices.”

Covering South Korea with the IoT

South Korea, a densely populated country with a hyper tech savvy population, is often at the forefront of innovation. That legacy is still alive: TechCrunch reports that Samsung and SK Telecom will build a Long-Range Wide-Area Network (LoRaWAN) network that blankets the country.

The plans are extensive. The network will be available throughout the nation by mid-2017. More immediately, it will roll out next month in Daegu, South Korea’s fourth largest city. It will be well utilized. TechCrunch says the network…

…will connect hardware for self-driving cars, renewable energy, cloud platforms, healthcare big data analytics, as well as streetlights that collect air pollution information and automatically adjust brightness based on weather conditions.

A Scary Telework Rationale

There are a lot of rationales for telecommuting. Here is the scariest: People will need to work at home because their offices will be closed due to an outbreak of a super bug that is fatal to those who catch it. A better work/life balance this ain’t…

The bugs are apparently possible. Continuity Central has a post on the emergence of antimicrobial resistant infections. The piece has a lot of scary figures on how many people could die. The desire to work at home – or, more likely, hide under the bed – will be great:

Imagine the scenario: an employee comes to work sick, within days she has died from an untreatable infection and a substantial number of her work colleagues have contracted the infection and have a high risk of suffering the same fate. The business facility is empty due to official quarantine rules and production has ceased.

In such a scenario, industry and commerce would grind to a near halt. But work that does go on, however, would be done at home.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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