Google has released revamped versions of its Chromebooks that were first reported on Geezam by Kelroy in Chrome OS and Chromebook – Simplicity, Security and Speed. The more recent updates announced now include better hardware for the 17.1” Chromebook priced at US$449.00. There is also (new-ness alert!!) an alternative PC version, called the ChromeBox, rolling in at US$329.00, somewhat reminiscent of the Apple Mac Mini that is BYOMKD (Bring you Own Mouse, Keyboard and Display).
- Multi-window support (Linux Distros had that a long time ago!)
- Scaling of screen sizes for easy connection to external Screens e.g. a 27″ Apple iMac
- An app launcher
- Option to pin favorite/most used apps to the launch bar.
- Customizable Backgrounds
- Ability to view Microsoft Office documents both online and Offline
- Improved support for other file formats support for dozens of file formats
- Support for Google Drive support with suture support coming for synchronization of online and offline modes with Google Drive
- Offline Editing of Google Docs
- Improved media player, photo editor and File uploader
This time about, it not just updating the Chrome OS with Secure WiFi (802.1X) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) as last noted in Kelroy’s article Chromebooks get Secure Wi-Fi, VPN and other updates. Those updates took place in 2011AD, with December being its one Year Anniversary since its debut in December 2010AD. This time around, the updates to this futuristic concept for a NC (Networking Computer) that has its head firmly in the Clouds are significant and could be a disruptive to Microsoft.
For those who came late, the Google Chrome OS is the Cloud-Based OS that was launched by Google that is based on their Chrome Browser. Effectively, it turns the Browser into a Cloud-based Operating System, with you programs being reduced to mere Web Apps in an interface reminiscent of Google Chrome. In essence, you have to have Internet access all the time in order to use this device.
With your files residing in Clouds Servers as I had dreamed of in Digicel’s Cloud Backup Services – A deep Analysis and Digicel Cloud Telephony to Make Switched Voice Extinct, with the above improvements bending to the desires of early beta testers for Offline support and better hardware. The first sets of laptops built around this concept were code-named Cr-48 and made their debut on 7th December 2012AD. The chemical symbol and atomic mass number for chromium, forty eight (48) being the total number of Protons and Neutrons in the element Chromium.
As an interesting aside, Chrome is actually an alloy of Magnesium and Steel with trace amounts of Chromium and Magnesium. If one is symbolically inclined, can be seen to represent Google and its partners Acer, Samsung for the hardware and Intel for the processor! Even the Chrome’sBrowser logo, whose source code is the basis for the Chrome OS, if you are chemically inclined, is Di-Chromate, which is Cr2O3! A good thing if you already used to working online all the time, and thus great for those of us who are Tele-working as described in Jamaica’s 100MBps Internet Silver Lining – Tele-commuting Workplace is coming. Also, it heralded much hope for the Open Source Community as well!
If the Chromebooks performed as promised, Linux OS flavours such as Ubuntu and my personal favourite Fedora and even browsers such as Mozilla Firefox could make partnerships with computer hardware companies to make their own versions of Networking computers tethered via Wi-Fi, 3G or LTE (Long Term Evolution) Internet.
Frustrating if you like having your files for offline work, albeit with the recent improvements in offline working support mode as well as multi-format support, this headache should no longer be an issue. Thus these recent improvements should make Microsoft and their soon to be launched Metro-themed Windows 8, the second most talked about launch in the Blogsphere, begin fretting anew.
This as the trend towards Cloud Computing gathers momentum, not only is it slowly making Gaming Consoles obsolete as suggested in my analysis Console Gaming’s Downfall – Future is up in the Clouds, and Google Chrome to do Console Gaming – OnLive and Steam in the Cloudy Post-Console Era but combined with the Apple iPad, the Apple iPhone and the motley crue of Google Android-powered Tablets and smartphones, it’s also making everything else that uses Windows obsolete, even in the Corporate World.
Microsoft better beware, as aside from Facebook in the Social Networking World, RIM in the smartphone and Tablet World and HP in the Printing world, they too are facing extinction as the ENTIRE World slowly goes Mobile Computing. Microsoft’s Browser is being slowly overtaken by the silently rising juggernaut that is Google Chrome on Ultrabooks, Tablets and smartphones and now on Chromebooks….which is really hardware to host an OS version of Google Chrome. Albeit Chromebooks are more expensive than Tablets, they are still a significant threat.
The Tablet Wars, by themselves from 2010AD have claimed HP Palm, RIM (Research in Motion) as casualties. Smartphones by the way are half of the mobile phone market according to fresh February 2012AD stats from Nielsen, with about 50% of that now mainly Android, according to stats from Comscore. So if you are in the market for something that not quite a Laptop yet not quite a Browser, the much improved Google ChromeBook and its cousin the ChromeBox is the herald for the always- connected future of Mobile Computing in the Clouds.