The Chromebook's Influence Is Here to Stay

Carl Weinschenk
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The jury still is out on whether Google's Chromebook will succeed or not in the marketplace. That is, of course, the most important thing to be determined about the new device. But it is not quite the whole story.

The Chromebook is essentially a mobile device with one application - a Chrome browser. That means, in essence, that it is a thin-client device that relies on intelligence elsewhere - in this case, the Internet, for the applications and storage that users want to use.

To most people, taking the well-known concept of distributed intelligence into the world of mobile devices was the biggest leap taken by the Chromebook. There is another, however. Though the description quickly evolves to a point where it is best understood by security experts, Kurt Marko at InformationWeek makes the point that security advances on the Chromebook are valuable wholly aside from the fate of the project itself.

After the long and fairly complex explanation, Marko makes a simple point:

While the Chromebook may well turn into a market flop, it contains a number of innovative security ideas that should influence the design of future mobile devices.

It seems that the Chromebook - and, by extension, the concept upon which it is based - is here to stay. No, the device is not taking the world by storm, but it is possible to say that it is doing reasonably well considering that the both the device and the idea upon which it is based are both new.

Armando Roggio, a reviewer from Practical eCommerce, took a close look at the Acer AC700 Chomebook in the context of whether it "can be used to complete nearly any e-commerce, business-related task." Roggio had several fairly significant caveats to that overall assessment, but, at the end of the day, he was a thumb's up.

Likewise, TechRepublic offers three things that Google should do to ensure the future of the Chromebook. The list - fixing Web incompatibilities, supporting offline activities and the ubiquitous desire for a lower price tag - don't seem too serious within the context of the new approach to mobile computing that Google and its partners are suggesting.

With some exaggeration, it's similar to saying that the biggest caveat about the first generation of automobiles was that the seats were too narrow or the tires too fragile. That would have made the pioneers of that era happy. The same optimism could be voiced about the fairly good sales of the Chromebook and the early reaction of professional observers. And, in another positive sign for the device, developers are paying attention.

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