Posts Tagged ‘Chromebook’

I thought about making the title of this post “I’m Right – They’re Wrong.” While I like the cloud for data everywhere and for syncing of data, I don’t believe in data ONLY in the cloud. There has been a lot of press around putting everything in the cloud. The Chromebook is one attempt at this. On the surface, my techie side gets excited. I hear cheap, long battery life, one data set and a unified experience across devices. The major thing I hear is low upkeep. Someone else does most of the application updates and makes sure things work. This last part, however, sounded hauntingly familiar. Then it hit me. This was the promise of thin clients. A long time ago in a different computing world, thin clients were going to save companies lots of money. The clients themselves would be cheaper. Falling PC prices killed that as a major selling point. The second thing was ease and consistency of software maintenance. The problem was that the world went mobile. People couldn’t afford to lose software access when they weren’t on the corporate network. In the end thin clients failed. Fast forward to today. The same issues apply to the Chromebook. Why get a Chromebook when a netbook can do so much more? Then there is the issue of connectivity. What happens when there isn’t a WiFi hotspot around? Are you thinking 3/4G? Think again. Look at today’s data plans and their capped data. Most people can’t afford to have everything they type, every song they play, every picture they look at and every video clip they show go over the network. Local storage can solve some of this but then you have independent data and the programs to access that data on the local machine. In other words you are back to managing a PC again.

Currently I am visiting my sister in Mobile, AL. I realized I needed to freshen up my blog and waiting till I got back home would be too long. No problem I thought. I have my iPad with me and it will be a chance to learn the basics of Blogsy. That’s what I’m doing now but it has been an enlightening experience and is the genesis of this post. What you need to know is that my sister’s house lacks WiFi. Since she and her husband spend a lot of time traveling in their RV, they use a Verizon 4G modem plugged into their laptop. That works for them but it doesn’t help me unless I go sit on my brother-in-law’s laptop. Of course there’s no need for that since my iPad has 3G. Oops! One big problem – the connection is unreliable. Here I am in Mobile, AL, a few miles from their regional airport and I can’t get a reliable data connection. I could launch into an AT&T tirade but that would miss the bigger picture. Mobile, AL is a major city. If I have problems here then what about more remote places? What about other countries? What if I were using a Chromebook? Right now I am writing this post. I will upload it when I have a better connection. I just can’t see buying into a usage model that demands 24/7 connectivity. For that reason I have no desire for a Chromebook. The Chromebook will fail.

Transparency of use is still coming but it will happen in a way that takes into account the issues I have just raised. Apple’s iCloud will sync data and leave a copy on each device. Microsoft Mesh does the same. I still believe that a modified version of this together with the Chromebook approach will win in the end. The difference will be that the modified Chromebook (phonebook?, Plattbook?, iBook?) won’t connect to the internet directly but will be a peripheral device for the phone. Your phone will be your wallet and as such always with you. It will also be your primary data device. It will sync with other devices through the cloud and be backed up to the cloud but interactive data access will be to the phone.

I didn’t publish anything Monday or Tuesday. I was busy digesting what was coming out of WWDC and E3. I won’t regurgitate the standard stuff covered better by sites such as Engadget. Rather I want to comment on what people missed or only put down as a footnote. However, I do need to go through a few big items. First, WWDC is notable for no new hardware and few surprises. Little made me go WOW! The cloud is taking on more importance. However, a lot of this has already been done by Microsoft and Google. What Apple brings, get ready for it, is better transparency of use. If you are willing to buy into the Apple ecosystem then you get data transparency in return. The same goes for Microsoft and Google but the Apple approach is more automatic and, here is that word I overuse, transparent. This is an ecosystem war. Who gets left out? Well, I’n not buying any stock in RIM.

Everyone is talking about what the cloud will do. Here is what it won’t do. Right now no one has it syncing apps or present device status. That means when you move from one device to another you don’t just pick up where you left off. Your data will be there but you will have to open an appropriate application and load the data. If you don’t have an appropriate application installed, for example Excel, then well… it won’t be installed. So, all of the new stuff  coming out is a step in the right direction but just a step.

I liked Apple’s Match announcement but it just highlights the bandwidth limitations that make a pure cloud existence less than thrilling. The bandwidth issue is one of many reasons I am less than thrilled with Google’s Chromebook concept. Also, you will have to be careful with iCloud to make sure you really have your photos backed up since they only remain in the cloud for 30 days. In the end the cloud is great for syncing and sharing but i don’t want it to be my only data storage location.

As far as E3 is concerned there was the usual plethora of game announcements. On the hardware front Nintendo showed an early version of the Wii U complete with graphics generated on Xbox 360 and PS3. Yes, you read that correctly. Some of the example graphics were actually generated on competitor’s platforms. What’s notable about the Wii U isn’t the fact that it has a faster processor or 1080p graphics. The big deal is the new touch screen controller. It lets you play without using the TV set or if you do use the TV, have a second display. Wait, isn’t this just like what I was suggesting for Apple? Oh yeah, the Nintendo controller includes accelerometers and gyros just like an iPhone. Nintendo is on the right tract. However, Apple, Google and Microsoft are all coming from stronger positions if they will just see it and actually attack this space.

Did Intel read my blog? Interesting posts about Intel here and here and here.

Of the Android tablets, the Xoom was the first to look reasonable but the iPad 2 made it look dated. The first real iPad 2 challenger appears to be the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Don’t confuse this with the thicker 10.1v. Engadget has a good review here. They also have a review of the HTC Flyer posted here. While not as positive as the Galaxy Tab review, I think the integration of audio and notes on the Flyer has a lot of promise.

Does anyone else think Microsoft buying Nokia’s smartphone business is a bad idea? That would make Microsoft like Apple but still trying to be like Google. Pick an approach! If Microsoft tries to straddle the fence then they will fail. Why should HTC or anyone else make a Windows Mobile phone if their direct competition on the Windows Mobile space will be Microsoft. Microsoft could wind up being the sole manufacturer of Windows Mobile phones. At that point I give a big advantage to Apple.

I haven’t talked much about Chrome and the Chromebook. A good article on them is here.

If you are following what I am saying about transparency and convergence I suggest you read  Sarah Rotman Epps’ Blog.