Trevor Pott, over at El Reg, makes an early entry into the “Doesn’t like this new-fangled world” competition with his piece on how “Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus“. Pott’s demand of a machine – all-day battery life, a multi-tasking OS – aren’t outlandish, but his stalwart rejection of, basically, anything that isn’t a netbook running Linux marks him out as someone who really doesn’t understand the new world of “just works” computing.
Consider, for example, his rejection of the Chromebook as an option:
“Google could make Android a serious contender as a ‘good enough’ netbook OS in a very short timeframe. The web giant won’t because it views Android as its touch-based consumptive tablet and phone OS, and ChromeOS as the desktop replacement. ChromeOS is entirely reliant on internet connectivity and keeps you trapped into doing everything using SaaS apps; great for Google because it can ruthlessly invade your privacy in order to sell more advertisements. Bad for us because it cripples the OS in order to achieve this goal.”
Where to begin with this? Aside from the “ChromeOS is entirely reliant on internet connectivity” error (it’s not), saying that ChromeOS “keeps you trapped into doing everything using SaaS apps” is a bit like saying Windows “keeps you trapped into doing everything with Windows apps”. And there’s no compulsion on you to use Chromebooks with Google services: mine happily works with iCloud and Microsoft Online services (yes, including Office web apps).
And of course, the iPad also fits Pott’s bill…
Ian Fogg on why “Cloud” is the Missing Ingredient for a “Third Device” iPad Strategy:
“For iPad to really fly, preferences, usernames, passwords, and content should transfer automatically across the different devices that Apple intends consumers to use together: PC, phone, and iPad. Apple should use a consumer cloud to do it. Consumers should not have to think, all of this should just work. Tethered sync is a twentieth century product feature.”
Ian is right, and I’d go further and say that syncing files of all types should be part of the iPad experience.
With an iPad with 64GB of storage, there’s no reason why every file on my iDisk can’t be stored on it and synced wirelessly. I could then access documents with iWork and other applications, and the iPad would be a real netbook replacement. If I have to be tethered to my Mac to get files in sync, that will be a very much second-rate experience.
(Image from AJStarks)
Daring Fireball: Maybe Instead of Two Cars, You Just Need a Car and a Bicycle:
“The idea of a computer that does a lot less — leaving out even things you consider essential, because you can still do those things on your other, primary computer — is liberating. That’s the opportunity, and that’s the idea behind Chrome OS and Litl and even Android and iPhone OS.”
The idea of it is liberating, as I’ve found out with my experiences with netbooks over the years. The problem is that while the idea of it is liberating, the actual reality of it is less so.
While my MacBook Pro takes up a larger bag, I’ve carried it around with me much more lately because it really doesn’t weigh that much more. And the rest of the time, I have my iPhone – a constantly-connected device which lets me take notes, write short documents.
Chrome OS is an interesting experiment, but in the long term the trend is still towards more power on the desktop – and in the lap.
Oh dear. According to OS X Daily Apple is effectively killing off support for Intel’s Atom processor in OS X 10.6.2.
The biggest consequence of this is, obviously, that anyone who wants to roll their own netbook running OS X is going to have to stick to either 10.5 or 10.6.1 – or, for the hardcore, hack future versions of OS X to run a stock 10.0 kernel.
Of course, Apple is under no obligation at all to support hardware it doesn’t use. But some will undoubtedly take this as a sign that Apple wants to kill off the Hackintosh community.
I don’t buy that, for a couple of reasons. First, the netbook market is probably the one which Apple has the least actual interest in. When someone runs OS X on a £300 netbook, they’re not doing it to replace a potential Mac purchase. Lost revenue to Apple from netbooks is probably as close to a rounding error as you can get.
Second, no sane company would tinker with the kernel of its operating system just to disable something of no commercial consequence. It’s one thing playing around with iTunes to stop the Palm Pre syncing. It’s quite another to mess around with code which you absolutely, 100%, need to be reliable.
It is, however, a shame.
UPDATE: Well, it looks like support for Atom is back. Which rather puts the kibosh on the conspiracy theories, I think.
UPDATE 2: And it seems like it’s definitely out again. Oh well.
“It’s unclear how Microsoft will deal with customers who have already pre-ordered Windows 7E and paid the upgrade price but were told they would receive a full-package edition.
Ironically, the users who may be most affected by the return of two-tier pricing are those who use Macs, but want to run Windows in a virtual machine. While PC owners typically upgrade from an older OS to a new – and so can get by with the cheaper upgrades – users who run Windows in a virtual environment often create the ‘machines’ from scratch, and so require a full-package version.”
One of the ironic things about Microsoft throwing a bit of a tantrum and not selling upgrade versions was that it actually simplified the product line and made it easier to understand. I pre-ordered a copy of Win7 which I’ll use on my MacBook Pro’s Boot Camp partition, because it was a full version – otherwise, I’d have stuck with XP (all I use it for is a couple of legacy apps and one game).
In fact, I was about to order a second copy for my netbook – but we’ll see whether it’s still going to be a full version rather than an upgrade. If it’s an upgrade, I won’t bother. Ubuntu Netbook Remix or Moblin will go on there instead.
More from the analyst’s meeting with Steve Ballmer:
“Ballmer told analysts there would be a new class of “ultra-thin” PCs” — or high-end netbooks –coming this year that would combine the light weight of netbooks with high-power and high-performance of traditional PCs.
‘When I talk to many of our customers, they say ‘I love the Netbook but can I get one with a bigger screen?” Ballmer said.
Those new ultra-thin PCs, the first of which will be coming later this year and, presumably running Windows 7, won’t be as cheap as $299 or $399 netbooks, Ballmer admitted, but they will combine netbooks’ portability, with some unnamed but higher-sounding prices that will make shareholders, analysts and Microsoft happy.”
I don’t know about you, but I think that someone already makes something rather like that. Maybe it would be better to buy now, rather than wait to see what the other guys come up with?
“Launching a new PC OS is not easy even if your target is a cloud. Targeting netbooks in 2010 isn’t the answer either. As I’ve pointed out, netbook are laptops with a pivotal axis of price. We’re seeing netbooks with 12″ screens, full sized keyboards and 300gb of storage. Does anyone think that netbooks aren’t going to evolve further? Consumers have overwhelmingly rejected Linux flavored netbooks for Windows capable machines that they could actually accomplish things on, such as run PC applications.”
While I disagree about netbooks being only about the price, Michael is completely correct to point out that customers have generally rejected Linux-based netbooks in favour of Windows ones. Although I think there’s a lot of mileage in improving the Linux experience on netbooks (and Moblin/UNR are already ahead here), given the choice I would expect the majority of people to buy Windows.
Of course, the key question is whether they’ll continue to have that choice, given Microsoft’s transition to Windows 7. But given the date of Chrome OS’ release, which isn’t until some time next year, we’ll know the answer to that question before Chrome comes out.
Another thing to note: Chrome (the browser) has had almost no success in gaining market share. And a whole OS is a much more difficult sell to consumers than a browser. If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on Chrome OS getting more than single-digit market share any time soon.
Posted via web from Ian Betteridge’s lifestream