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What Will The Expanding World of ChromeOS Mean For Windows? 263

Posted by timothy
from the if-only-it-was-more-useful-sans-network dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Hewlett-Packard is the latest PC manufacturer to jump into the Chromebook game, whipping the curtain back from a 14-inch device loaded with Google's Chrome OS. Powered by a dual-core Intel Celeron processor, and touting roughly 4.25 hours of battery life, the HP Pavilion Chromebook follows in the footsteps of other Chromebooks released by Acer and Samsung over the past few months. While these manufacturers continue to produce devices loaded with Windows, the growth of Chrome OS could spark some worry among Microsoft executives, who have become used to their hardware partners operating as Windows-only shops. But is Chrome OS a true threat to Windows, or just a way for manufacturers to gain some additional leverage in negotiating with Microsoft over licensing fees and other matters?"
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What Will The Expanding World of ChromeOS Mean For Windows?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    For the reasons stated in the summary, from the manufacturer's standpoint it just doesn't matter. The effort to port ChromeOS, measured in engineer hours, could easily be paid for by a 50 cent drop in the per laptop licensing fee for Windows. It's a good gamble. It's a win either way.

    Personally though, a Nexus 10, with all those pretty pixels, and a bluetooth keyboard seems to fill this niche better than anything I've seen with a hinge.

  • Windows 8 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schneidafunk (795759) on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:34PM (#42786121)
    Windows 8 is the true threat to windows.
    • Re:Windows 8 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:44PM (#42786223)

      MS aren't doing themselves any favours. If Windows 8, Windows Mobile, Surface and the planned changes to Small Business Server are anything to go by, it appears their new hobby is committing economic suicide. That's a pretty big threat to Windows and I know a lot of Windows server administrators who are starting to get nervous.

      • Re:Windows 8 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Agares (1890982) on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:51PM (#42786307) Journal
        I agree with you say, and that is why I try to learn as much as I can about every peice of technology I come into contact with. That way I am not tied into a single thing that could eventually die off some day. Nothing lasts forever everyone knows that, and that is why I think knowing just Windows, Linux, or Mac OSX is a bad idea. You are putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak.
        • I do exactly the same thing - I work on a helpdesk that supports both Windows and Mac. I'm also teaching myself Linux on the side, although where on earth do you start figuring out basic Linux desktop support in an environment so fractured and chaotic?! Loving CLI servers though ;)

  • LiveBook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spacemky (236551) * <{moc.ifyra} {ta} {kcin}> on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:34PM (#42786123) Homepage Journal

    Introducing the new Microsoft LiveBook. Boots right in to Microsoft's cloud-based OS. Skydrive, Skype, Office365, Bing search, Hotmail. Coming your way in 2015 or sooner.

    • by fermion (181285)
      My issue with MS is licensing and the time it wastes, as well as version support. For instance, on a Windows 7 machine I use, which is licensed, a dialog keeps popping up telling me my software my not be genuine. Why do I want to waste my time with this. I buy a computer to be productive, not fulfill someones else marketing scheme.

      So far Google has not been so bad in focusing on end users. It's development of current product, like Docs, has been disappointing but these are still useful in a limited ba

    • Introducing the new Microsoft LiveBook. Boots right in to Microsoft's cloud-based OS. Skydrive, Skype, Office365, Bing search, Hotmail. Coming your way in 2015 or sooner.

      The problem is that this cannibalizes Windows to an extent that I don't Redmond is prepared to accept. They could just simply offer a cheapish tablet with features like this without it necessarily being a direct threat to Windows.

      • That shouldn't be a problem. Either your cannibalize your own products or your competitors will do it for you. Better to the control it methinks.
  • Evolutionary Niche (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StoneyMahoney (1488261) on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:35PM (#42786129)

    It seems that Chromebooks are trying to slide into the market slot that Netbooks are currently vacating. I'm not entirely sure I understand what's going on there, netbooks were well refined products that seem to have gone out of favour and everyone is designing Chromebooks from scratch. Considering these are effectively the new dumb terminals, you'd have thought they could've done better than a Celeron and 4.25 hours of battery life - netbooks were rather more capable than Chromebooks appears to be, cost about the same and had far superior battery life.

    Or has everyone (finally) just realised that 10" is really not that comfortable a form factor?

    • by Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:51PM (#42786311)

      Chromebooks are going to be a big hit in education. I work in schools and am testing a Samsung right now. The battery life on it is rated at 6 hours, which will get you through a school day with no charging. Add to that, many school districts are taking advantage of Google's free Apps for education domains, which gives you the same version of Google Apps that businesses are paying for.

      For as low as $250 on some models you get a device that does 95% of what students need to do with it, lasts all day without charging, has a screen big enough to satisfy most kids and has a full keyboard.

      What's not to like?

      • Ah, now it starts to make sense. It's a play by Google to wean the office drones of the future off Office. And I guess 6 hours is okay for education when you can charge them up at recess.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Chromebooks are going to be a big hit in education. I work in schools and am testing a Samsung right now. The battery life on it is rated at 6 hours, which will get you through a school day with no charging. Add to that, many school districts are taking advantage of Google's free Apps for education domains, which gives you the same version of Google Apps that businesses are paying for.

        For as low as $250 on some models you get a device that does 95% of what students need to do with it, lasts all day without charging, has a screen big enough to satisfy most kids and has a full keyboard.

        What's not to like?

        The other 5% is the killer.

        That pitch sounds good to people who don't understand that computers are tools. To paraphrase the sentiment with a different tool: "instead of buying a screwdriver with interchangeable heads why not spend 2/3 as much on one that can only be used on the most common size of screw?"

        The answer is of coarse: "I need something that works on more than one type of screw. Just because that type is a minority of the screws I work with does not mean I can ignore it, and buying two screwdrive

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Considering these are effectively the new dumb terminals

      Thats the problem.

      These aren't dumb terminals. The web sucks with dumb terminals. Turn off plugins and javascript, THAT would make it far more like a dumb terminal, though not completely.

      Chromebooks are just a halfassed attempt to make you think its a dumb terminal. Your Chromebook still has to run the browser, display graphics, render OpenGL, process sound and apply effects and tons of other stuff.

      A TV with a keyboard attached to the network sending key strokes to the server who then updates the display

    • by Uberbah (647458)

      I'm not entirely sure I understand what's going on there, netbooks were well refined products that seem to have gone out of favour and everyone is designing Chromebooks from scratch.

      The storyline that I've heard is that Microsoft killed the Netbook with their licensing requirements for Windows. To qualify for cheap copies of Windows, the hardware had to stay shitty. 2 gigs of ram, slow and small hard drives, weak CPU's and GPU's.

      So, for the consumer, why would you want to pay $300 for a laptop with 3 ye

    • by DrEldarion (114072) on Monday February 04, 2013 @03:30PM (#42788043)

      you'd have thought they could've done better than a Celeron and 4.25 hours of battery life

      Look at the newest Samsung one, then: ARM processor and 6-8 hours battery life. I have one and it's a great little piece of equipment. ... and the 10" form factor was terrible. Screen too small for keeping at arm's length, and don't even get me started on the reduced-size keyboards.

  • by rs1n (1867908)
    Chrome OS is a threat in that it enables users to easily make use of Google's applications. As far as operating systems go, Windows 8 is the biggest threat to MS (in the sense that it is probably causing a lot of users to steer away from MS). But as a platform for using Google's services, MS definitely will have to worry seeing as how many of Google's applications (e.g. Google Docs) eat into Microsoft's profits.
  • For casual use, content consumption, sure. It fills the same niche as those netbooks of a few years ago, and tablets (for the most part) now. But for content creation, they need apps that are currently only ported to Winders and OSX. So, will Chrome OS be a threat to Winders? Don't ask me, ask the developers. I couldn't possibly care less what OS the device is running. I'm only concerned about what I can do with it.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Monday February 04, 2013 @12:57PM (#42786389)

    I'm not really sure where ChromeOS is supposed to fit in. For people who want to do heavyweight stuff, it's no substitute for a full-fledged OS, and people who just want a content consumption device have mostly already switched to smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android. I sort of see where it fits into Google's marketing strategy – it's an OS for people to live their entire life "in the cloud" – but is there any actual demand for that? One thing we should have learned from the WinRT and WinPhone fiascos is that just because a company thinks a product is strategically important doesn't mean that its customers are going to agree.

    • It's a tablet with a keyboard.

      • It's a tablet with a keyboard.

        Right now it doesn't even have touchscreen; it has more in common with your standard desktop. I personally would like ChromeOS to come touchscreen with a little android compatibility thrown in :)

        • by gstoddart (321705) on Monday February 04, 2013 @02:32PM (#42787337) Homepage

          I personally would like ChromeOS to come touchscreen with a little android compatibility thrown in :)

          I can't for the life of me figure out how you'd mix a keyboard and a touch screen and have that make sense.

          Ergonomically, it would suck to have to reach up to your monitor from typing ... it would look like hitting the carriage return on an old typewriter or something. :-P

          On my desk, my monitor is about a foot or more behind my keyboard, I'd need to lean forward to even touch it.

          Either I'm suffering from a large lack of imagination, or all of these people clamoring for a keyboard and a touch screen haven't thought this through. It seems more like you'd get a bad compromise of both.

          • I can't for the life of me figure out how you'd mix a keyboard and a touch screen and have that make sense.

            I use a keyboard and mouse for 3D shoot'em action; A Joypad for Platform ....and touchscreen for RTS. Why would you want to be confined to the one form of input.

            • by gstoddart (321705)

              Why would you want to be confined to the one form of input.

              It's not that I wish to be constrained, I just can't figure out how having my desktop machine have a keyboard and a touchscreen would work from an ergonomics perspective.

              I would need to extend my arm fully and lean forward six inches to reach my monitor -- so I can't even begin to think of how this would be usable.

              Even in a laptop, it seems like it would be weird, and it seems like it would be harder to do anything with the touchscreen than the mous

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2013 @01:01PM (#42786431)

    People just want something that works and requires little to no maintenance to maintain stability. That's why Android phones and tablets have been very successful globally. On the other hand, just performed a clean install of Windows 8 Pro and while it's noticeably less laggy than Vista it still brings the headache of instability.

  • People and systems need Windows, I don't think we'll reach a point where we can finally sever the birth cord to it, no matter what at some point there will need to be a windows computer running. Microsoft might see sales drop off a bit but they wont, at least for a long while, need to really worry.
    • I don't need Windows for anything except as a platform to run certain applications on. Games, Office, Photoshop, Lightroom and TaxCut are the key actors.

      As soon as something without the monkeybusiness that Windows exposes me to (i.e. needless churn) like this Windows 8 malarkey is available I'm no longer a Windows user.

      I don't particularly see it happening any time soon, but who knows, we might get lucky.

  • by zoid.com (311775) on Monday February 04, 2013 @01:04PM (#42786463) Homepage Journal

    I've been using Chrome OS for over 2 years since google sent me a CR-48. I use it daily to catch up on news, emails, comics, facebook .... It sits on my nightstand is perfect for how I use it. The OS is really nice and easy to use. I would no hesitate to buy one of these devices for my dad, aunt, etc where I have to be "tech support".

  • K12... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Monday February 04, 2013 @01:10PM (#42786539)
    In North America, Chromebooks are largely an education (K12) play. The "traditional" OEMs are seeing tremendous market share erosion to iPads in schools - So this provides them with something to sell. The schools struggle with iPads because they're expensive (next to no edu-discounting from Apple), fragile, difficult to manage and are theft targets. It's also difficult to create content (such as writing and essay) on iPad.
  • A piece of hardware that boots very fast to a browser and is semi-useful when connected to the Internet.

    When the Internet is not available, you have a useless metal brick.

  • If Chromebooks are a hit, it's evidence around how much backwards compatibility is important; or in other words, how it might be unimportant. Windows is full of bugs, which don't get fixed, or have really nasty work arounds, because somebody has a crappy written piece of software that they tell the Windows team that they can't live without. So Windows merrily, goes along shimming, or not fixing existing bugs. Perhaps a successful Chromebook would show the Windows team that the type of customers who refuse t
  • Except for those with the near monopolies...
  • Microsoft should be scared shitless. I've done ONE test install of Windows 8, HATED it. I've been installing Linux Mint xfce edition (x64) all OVER the place. Love it. Same functionality as XP, more stable, quicker boot, better software selection out of box.

    The ONLY problem with mint atm is that skype is not quite as good (go figure). If google steps up the game and gets google hangouts as good or better than skype and/or gotomeeting (the screen sharing in google is totally unusable right now), I don't

    • by goruka (1721094)
      lol
    • by elucido (870205)

      Microsoft should be scared shitless. I've done ONE test install of Windows 8, HATED it. I've been installing Linux Mint xfce edition (x64) all OVER the place. Love it. Same functionality as XP, more stable, quicker boot, better software selection out of box.

      The ONLY problem with mint atm is that skype is not quite as good (go figure). If google steps up the game and gets google hangouts as good or better than skype and/or gotomeeting (the screen sharing in google is totally unusable right now), I don't see Microsoft as having a chance at all in any market.

      At least not amongst the IT educated who see all the other options.

      And Mac? How can any shop justify the pricing? LOL

      Our sysadmins are all on nagios/android now with anag in particular. Most of us aren't even using linux except when we're doing the actual installs. Everything is android now. And the prices keep dropping.

      It's game over. Microsoft and Apple are done, and I'm not going to miss them at all. Corporate scum bags should've been put out of their misery years ago. Especially apple with their drm crap. When I explain to apple users how they've been screwed by apple.... Which is not hard to do, they relook at my jellybean phone and tablet, realize that both of them TOGETHER are cheaper than an iphone, and instantly vow never to buy apple again.

      I don't know a single person who has any feelings about Windows 8 other than abject hatred. NOBODY is switching to that here. Even on calls where a client got a new machine, their question is always, "How can I downgrade?" For the majority of them (non-gamers in particular), I convince them to use Mint xfce edition, and they couldn't be happier. Now with Steam growing it's library on Linux? The gamers are next. As soon as Civilization 2 comes to steam, I won't even need my old microXP VM any more!

      These are good times for Linux, for open source, for human freedom, and for the tech industry. I for one welcome our new open source overlords.

      PS Not to be an unabashed google fanboy. I disable google now everywhere I go (battery chewing spyware), as well as killing all the maps background data processes, etc.. Google is great, but only if you install android fresh and turn off all their spyware.

      FLStudio still only runs in Windows. They still have a monopoly on that. They also have gaming.

      • by crhylove (205956)

        My larger point is that this is becoming the exception rather than the rule. And I addressed gaming directly. Steam is a huge part of the gaming market, and it's on Linux now, with titles being added almost daily. Then of course, all the nintendo emulators work great in linux... :)

    • TL;DR: This is the year of the Linux desktop!
  • Samsung Chromebook (Score:3, Informative)

    by elliott666 (447115) on Monday February 04, 2013 @02:43PM (#42787475)

    I just picked up a Chromebook yesterday and am fast at work getting Ubuntu running on it. It's a great little machine, fast, light, great battery, cheap as heck. It's perfect for just getting online fast.

    These things are going to really slice away at the low cost PC market which in turn will take a real dig at Windows. When I see the market share numbers for where Windows is at I see most of it as just people picking up the cheapest thing they can find to get online. These Chromebooks are perfect for that and undercut the price by a huge amount. This Samsung was $215 from Best Buy. All the Windows 8 machines they had there were several hundred dollars more.

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.

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