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Google Netbook Specs Leaked

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  • 10" screen?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @10:03AM (#30581566) Homepage
    Though the idea sounds cool, I'm wondering what benefit having a solid-state drive with a 10" screen will be other than for those few road warriors who have to write long proposals while on an airplane flight.

    At the same time, having a bundled deal so that one gets phone service with the netbook isn't that much of a benefit, IMO. You can already do this with a HTC Hero/Android device or even an iPhone.
    • by FauxPasIII (75900)

      > what benefit having a solid-state drive with a 10" screen will be

      Perfect silence, negligible random seek time and I can lob it onto the couch without worrying about data loss.

    • by Eil (82413)

      I'm wondering what benefit having a solid-state drive with a 10" screen will be other than for those few road warriors who have to write long proposals while on an airplane flight.

      That is actually one scenario where you wouldn't want Google's netbook. Chrome OS requires an Internet connection to do anything useful. Not only is wifi access not available (or hideously expensive) on a plane, but extensive document editing is going to be painful in the extreme on such a cramped machine.

      Google's netbook is meant

  • by Luthair (847766)
    Why would a computer which only uses web applications need a 64GB SSD?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alen (225700)

      HTML 5 supports offline caching and I think even Google will allow it. other than that 64GB SSD's are probably the smallest you will find next year

      • Last year I bought a 16GB SSD for roughly $140. I wouldn't be surprised if a 64GB SSD (even next year) would be as expensive as the rest of the chrome-book's components put together.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by alen (225700)

          Toshiba just doubled the density of their NAND chips. flash memory prices are plummeting on a per GB basis, just like hard drive prices 10 years ago

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jhoegl (638955)
      Porn
    • The plan has always been for ChromeOS to have Google Gears/HTML5 style offline storage for those webapps; but 64GB seems quite ambitious. Perhaps the aggressiveness of the offline storage component is greater than commonly believed? They must have some reason to be doing that; because SSDs are modular(so they could easily have chosen a smaller size with pretty much zero re-engineering cost) and, even if you stick to the cheap seats, 64GB of flash is a real punch in the BOM compared to just about anything el
  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @10:11AM (#30581618) Homepage Journal

    Orwellian Society was beginning.
    User: What happen ?
    Router: Somebody set up us the banners.
    Computer: We get wi-fi signal.
    User: What !
    Operator: Main screen turn on.
    User: It's You !!
    Google: How are you gentlemen !!
    Google: All your browsing history are belong to us.
    Google: You are on the way to spam.
    User: What you say !!
    Google: You have no chance to hide make your time.
    Google: HA HA HA HA ....
    User: Download every 'Linux Distro' !!
    User: You know what you doing.
    User: Install 'Linux Distro'.
    User: For great justice.

  • ...it really appears that Google is going to be pushing into new spaces in the next few years.

    Sorry for being a smartass (blame it on me being at work for one day during the holidays...) but, really, who didn't already know that? Especially if you're even a casual reader of slashdot. It's clear that Google is an expanding company who's focused on a wide offering of products and services that are internet- and information-related. Anyone who doesn't know that Google is planning on pushing into new market segments hasn't been paying a hint of attention.

  • it really appears that Google is going to be pushing into new spaces in the next few years

    You could have said this at any point in Google's history. It's almost to the point that all Google stories should be marked dupe.

  • Very interesting. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @10:28AM (#30581754)

    This can be interesting, why:

    • This would become a non-Intel platform, which means Windows doesn't run on it. I'd really like to see how well it sells when Windows is simply not an option. If it takes off, MS is going to be hit hard, if only because alternative OSes become a serious alternative all of a sudden. Instead of being a niche product.
    • Price of under $300, but still subsidised: where is the money coming from? Normally e.g. a mobile phone is subsidised because you are going to pay money to the mobile phone provider (calls, data, etc). I have never paid Google anything, other than for ads that I asked them to place. But not for any of their regular services. So either ad-supported, or only sold together with mobile data plans or so? The first is easy to get around: just install another OS or so.
    • Opening up the processor market: if this netbook takes off, we could start seeing really lots of non-Intel compatible computers around, first of all of course ARM based, and maybe a revival of the PPC in the consumer market. I think that would be the best effect of this. Not just because Windows doesn't run on it but because there is so much more than Intel. And I bet there will suddenly be more room for competitors to AMD and Intel: they do not need to license any microcode or so. And porting Linux/*BSD/Chrome to those architectures, if not done yet, will be relatively easy.

    IMHO one of the core reasons all consumer PCs come with Intel compatible processors is that Windows runs on them. Equip them with other processors and you can not sell your product with Windows. And that is an absolute suicidal business plan at the moment. Google may get this going, get non-Windows and non-Intel computers to the masses, opening up a lot of space for competitors.

    And if it doesn't work, well we can always continue dreaming.

    • Except I doubt most people would buy these as desktop replacements. They expect the limitations of the device because it's small and portable. But on their desktop or full size laptop people expect more functionality and software options.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        No, not desktop replacements. But they are close to that in terms of power: the only things I can not do on my EEE-PC (1st generation, Linux) are because of the limited storage space, and the small screen size. I'm not a gamer by the way, except online card games which don't need much in the way of computing power. Modern computers have plenty of that, the slowest on the market is fast enough for most of the tasks we do. Remember "winmodems"? Where the emulation was done on the processor? It became possible

    • by alen (225700)

      and how will these things do all the things people expect of a normal computer? import photos, family movies, download music and movies, video chat with family, games, etc?

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        My 1st generation EEEPC running Linux can do all that (I know it can: I've done all that and more). Also doesn't run Windows. So I wouldn't see any difference when that would have been a non-Intel platform. Except for Flash maybe.

    • by linhares (1241614)

      I have never paid Google anything

      Selling a soul to the devil is free. For some time, at least.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Locutus (9039)
      the subsidized price is from 3G network connectivity contracts so the device can get on that Inter web thing people keep talking about. I think Google needs that Inter web thing around. And it might not be so easy as putting another distro in it. Reports have said that Google wants this thing booting in under 10 seconds and that elimination of the standard BIOS is one way to shave a few seconds. It's not impossible but it won't be as easy as using a standard LiveCD.

      I'm all for opening up the playing field t
      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        There's bucket loads of potential and capabilities in ARM on netbooks but Microsoft will not let that grab hold if they have any say in it.

        Exactly, they will try and defend their monopoly with all they have (like any sensible business would of course). And that is why I see it as interesting that Google is behind it. I don't see much direct leverage from MS against Google: making Google's apps not work on Windows computers will give MS a lot of backlash, Google is just too big for that kind of tricks.

        Google's software services are platform-agnostic already, for being Internet-based. That is their advantage. Netscape was dependent on Windows,

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      PPC is alive and well in the consumer market, just not in the general purpose computing market...
      PPC is currently dominating the games console market, and such devices are very much targeted at consumers.

      Speaking of which, Sony could have done much better pushing the linux options on the PS3 - if setup with a good linux distro it would make a good browsing/mail/im platform that could have satisfied most people's computing requirements.

      • and of course letting an installed Linux distro access to the graphics chipset would also help.

    • Opening up the processor market:
      I ran Debian's ARM distro on an NSLU2 a couple of years ago and running on ARM was identical to running on X86. I would argue, ARM viability has been there for quite a while. Nokia's N800 is an ARM device. Now that Google's name is attached to it (for now) it benefits from the Google Reality Distortion Field.

      we could start seeing really lots of non-Intel compatible computers around, first of all of course ARM based, and maybe a revival of the PPC in the consumer market.
      The

    • And porting Linux/*BSD/Chrome to those architectures, if not done yet, will be relatively easy.

      With high probability, it's already done. For most applications, a simple recompile should do.

      See for instance http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_supported_architectures [wikipedia.org] and https://buildd.debian.org/stats/ [debian.org]

      You might have to write a bit of arch-specific code to get Linux running, and fix a few portability bugs in some applications, but it should be easily doable to get something going.

  • FTFA: "However, in some countries like the US, Google will tie up with one or more network operators and sell it as part of a bundled 3G plan"
  • by tekrat (242117) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @11:49AM (#30582550) Homepage Journal

    Okay, let's see if I've got this straight...
    #1) Google will SUBSIDIZE the cost of the netbook (aka NetPC, which was hacked out of existence).
    #2) Unlike NetPC, they won't be using an intel processor, locking out Windows.
            --- so when joey or jane try to download and install their favorite game or chat client, it will fail.
            --- so when grandma can't load in her quickbooks document for the church, it will fail.
    #3) As someone who has lurked in many a netbook forum, I can tell you the number one question will be "How do I install Windows XP on it?"
    #4) Someone will figure out how to install alternative OSes on it, maybe even write some kind of intel CPU emulator, or real-time recompiler, and then hack Windows into running on it, and then the lawsuits begin.
    #5) As soon as people get bored with it, into the trash heap it goes.

    Google will lose money on this deal. Chrome will not take hold, in fact, most early adopters will be spending their time trying to get Chrome off of it. When the masses get it they will be disappointed by it's lack of backwards compatibility, and start searching (ironically using Google) for websites to show them how to "jailbreak" the thing into running what they want. Adblocker apps will appear as will other hacks to thwart Google, so people can feel they got a "free netbook".

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      If i remember well, it will be able to "fix" itself if some rogue app gets installed. Probably something in BIOS will check integrity of OS, and undo changes if something got modified, and that probably includes installing another OS. Also will have automatic OS updates, making this even harder yet.

      About trying to run applications, is supposed to be an internet device, no local applications, just the browser and most that runs on it.

      But will be 2 potential problems:
      - Games meant for internet, with local/nat
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Tubal-Cain (1289912)

        - Plugins. Ok, you surely will have flash...

        Not on ARM. Which is probably why Google is moving towards HTML5: the single most popular flash-dependent site on the interwebs is YouTube. Moving it from flash to the video tag will give ARM a chance.

    • #1) Google will SUBSIDIZE the cost of the netbook (aka NetPC, which was hacked out of existence).

      Something will be subsidizing it, yes. Probably a required monthly fee for the 3G.

      #2) Unlike NetPC, they won't be using an intel processor, locking out Windows. --- so when joey or jane try to download and install their favorite game or chat client, it will fail. --- so when grandma can't load in her quickbooks document for the church, it will fail.

      People who want those things will most likely be informed at some point that this machine can't do that. Macs aren't failing, and they can't run Windows software. Neither are smartphones, which can't run Windows software. So long as it isn't marketed as a generic PC, it's not really an issue. It's targeting a limited audience, yes. This won't be replacing all laptops everywhere. It wasn't intended too.

      #3) As someone who has lurked in many a netbook forum, I can tell you the number one question will be "How do I install Windows XP on it?"

      The people who go

    • Somehow I get the feeling with Windows 7 Microsoft is ready to "swap" the platform instruction code/assembler compiler in their kernel to include support for 3rd vender, after Intel and AMD. Microsoft is simply waiting for the market response. So this hurts Intel more than Microsoft.

      Remember that MS already has the experience of building a platform for XBox 360 with PowerPC yet they built a platform for game developer to port the game between PC and 360 with relative ease (dispite the fact that most ma
    • by alteran (70039)

      I think you make excellent points, and may actually be proven right-- but I happen to disagree with your conclusion that this is doomed to failure.

      This thing is a netbook. Gramma can't even see a screen that small, much less aspire to getting frustrated because it won't install Quickbooks. Moreover, since it's a netbook, the vast majority of people will be using it as a secondary surfing/email device.

      Sure, some cheapos will be dumb enough to try and use something with a 10.1 inch screen and a reduced size k

    • by Eil (82413) on Tuesday December 29, 2009 @08:15PM (#30588992) Homepage Journal

      #1) Google will SUBSIDIZE the cost of the netbook (aka NetPC, which was hacked out of existence).

      If they're targeting the sub-$300 region as TFA says, they won't have to subsidize much, as similar netbooks (albeit with more expensive chipsets) already sell for less than that. And, uh, it's Google. A company run by hackers doing interesting things with cheap hardware. They're expecting a certain number of them to be hacked or repurposed. Also, they're not selling a separately-purchased subscription or anything with it. All they want is for people to keep using the web and this netbook helps them achieve that.

      #2) Unlike NetPC, they won't be using an intel processor, locking out Windows.
      --- so when joey or jane try to download and install their favorite game or chat client, it will fail.
      --- so when grandma can't load in her quickbooks document for the church, it will fail.

      This won't be marketed as a general-purpose computer. The things that you mentioned won't work on a Linux netbook either and that hasn't stopped netbooks from being shipped with Linux preinstalled. (Dell Mini 10, HP Mini 110, Acer Aspire One, MSI Wind, etc.) Most people just want a web browser, an email client, and instant messaging. That's the market that Google's netbook targets. Whoever buys this thing expecting to put their Windows XP Pirate Edition on it instead, deserves whatever complete lack of support they get.

      #3) As someone who has lurked in many a netbook forum, I can tell you the number one question will be "How do I install Windows XP on it?"

      An the #1 answer will be, "You don't. You just use it like it is." Not so hard, is it? Again, it's not meant to be a general-purpose computer. It's a specific device with a specific job: getting you on the web. Asking how to install Windows on it will make about as much sense as asking how to install OS X on a Nintendo Wii.

      #4) Someone will figure out how to install alternative OSes on it, maybe even write some kind of intel CPU emulator, or real-time recompiler, and then hack Windows into running on it, and then the lawsuits begin.

      Uhhh, what? The only "alternative" OS that a hacker can port to ARM is Linux or maybe one of the BSDs. Emulating an x86 CPU with any reasonable speed is simply not going to be feasible. And if it were, where would the lawsuits come from? Microsoft does not care what kind of computer you install Windows upon. And I highly doubt that Google will include an Apple-esqe EULA stating which kinds of software you can and cannot install.

      Also, the Chromium OS is open source, is very well documented [chromium.org], and Google encourages external hacking and development [chromium.org].

      #5) As soon as people get bored with it, into the trash heap it goes.

      If you get bored with it, you either didn't need one in the first place, or you're just bored with the Internet in general. I don't think there's a lot that Google can do to prevent either of those.

      When the masses get it they will be disappointed by it's lack of backwards compatibility, and start searching (ironically using Google) for websites to show them how to "jailbreak" the thing into running what they want.

      The whole thrust of your thinly-veiled argument is that nobody will want it if it can't run Windows. What you fail to realize is that:

      1. With the notable exception of hardcore PC gaming, there are really not many computing tasks that absolutely require windows any more. Despite Microsoft's best efforts, Internet content these days is very much OS-independent. We're to the point where most people can do e

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