The State of the Chromebook

Carl Weinschenk
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The Chromebooks in the field are both commercialized products and radically extensive proof-of-concept trials. The concept, of course, is the idea that a device can support minimal functionality internally, while relying on the Chrome browser and operating system to carry out many of the functions that formerly would be performed by a traditional operating system.

The Christian Post reported last week that three Chromebooks are on Amazon's top ten list. GizmoCrave mentions a couple: The Acer AC700-1099 Chromebook at number four, and the Samsung Series 5 3G Chromebook in the last top ten spot.

Larry Press takes a Chromebook out for a spin. It's a bit unfair - check out all the programs, applications and services the InformationWeek writer is running on the device. It seems that the device isn't ready for corporate prime time, and Press says that it is primarily focused on the educational and consumer markets, though he does point out that it is being pitched to businesses as well. His point is that the Chromebook, as it is now, is limited - but this may not always be the case, however:

Things will change. A future Chromebook with a rapid connection to the Internet, a terabyte of flash storage and more CPU and RAM power isn't hard to envision.

That's when a net computer like the Chromebook gets interesting. Eventually, network-based programs will be as fast and powerful as today's installed applications. So unless new desktop software raises the bar significantly, I'd be willing to foresake Windows. The price needs to be right, though.

It's true. Time marches ahead quickly and the Chromebook will evolve. For instance, last week Synaptics said that the Chromebook is using its ClipPad touchpad technology, which seems - at least according to the press release - to be pretty advanced. The point is that the Chromebook of today is just the start. Proof of concepts always are rudimentary compared to the fully fledged product.

The state of the Chromebook and the Chrome OS is nowhere better illustrated than by Tom Wolverton at Mercury.com. He does a good job of describing the positives and the negatives, and he does so within the context of the overall concept Google is introducing, which is offloading almost all the functions generally done within the device onto the Internet. Indeed, all the user sees when starting a Chromebook is a browser.

At the end of the day, Wolverton - who delivers his views both in the article and via a linked-to video - suggests that the shortcomings at this point are too great to make the Chromebook more than a secondary computer. That's not a great place to be over the long haul, however, due to the many choices folks have today.

The upside, however, is clear: Significant progress can be made, perhaps adding a few more functions to the device and creating a richer online infrastructure for the browser to utilize. Indeed, it seems likely that the Chromebook is a long-term project that is just about where Google wants it right now.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jul 24, 2011 5:28 PM Adam Adam  says:

One factor that might delay adoption of Chromebooks by business is the lack of access to Windows apps.  However, that can be overcome with a new solution by Ericom.  Ericom AccessNow is a pure HTML5 RDP client that enables Chromebook users to connect to any RDP host, including Terminal Server (RDS Session Host), physical desktops or VDI virtual desktops-and run their applications and desktops in a browser.

Ericoms AccessNow does not require Java, Flash, Silverlight, ActiveX, or any other underlying technology to be installed on end-user devices-an HTML5 browser is all that is required.

AccessNow was selected by the City of Orlando as part of their rollout of 600 Chromebooks.

For more info, and to download a demo, visit:



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