Google’s Chromebook has come in for some serious stick from the press, analysts and observers but, says Robin Tapp CEO of Molten Technologies, it is part of a revolution as dramatic as the introduction of Kodachrome into a black and White world. Could it be that we are looking at it in monochrome? Get ready for the rainbow.
I have been looking around and I have struggled to find a single positive review of the Google Chromebook. There are complaints about everything from the keyboard to the price, but the biggest and most common complaint is that it “struggles to wipes its own nose when off-line”. The implication almost seems to be “you are better off with a PC”, but surely that is missing the point. The Chromebook is a shamelessly on-line device and, looking at the proliferation of connectivity over the last decade, it is about time too.
We have lived with PCs for so long now, that we are in danger of seeing the world in black and white; devices are either full PCs or they are not. We are aware that thin-client devices are used in some niche business situations and we have got used to accessing our emails on our mobile phone, but real work is done on a PC, right?
The iPad was massively misunderstood in the days leading up to its launch. Technically, it was just a big iPhone; how great can that be?
The point that many of us missed is that the iPhone is actually a very capable device, the thing that keeps it from prolonged serious use is its size. Provide a bigger one with a longer battery life and it becomes a real player. It has enough local capability (especially with such a plethora of Apps) to do the basics and you can connect it to a virtual PC, effectively using it as a thin client, when you want the full-fat Windows experience.
OK, but the iPad doesn’t have a keyboard or mouse, so it can’t be a serious business device, right? Wrong again, it accepts the very neat Apple Bluetooth keyboard, if you really want and the mouse is more a factor of our PC-imprisoned minds than a real criterion. Anyway, Asus have fixed both of those problems with the Eee Pad transformer which is an Android tablet that plugs into a keyboard to do a pretty good physical impression of a laptop. Or what about the Motorola Atrix, which is a smartphone with a laptop-like cradle? The list goes on.
There is a huge wave of new products hitting the market right now converging on the end-user device space from all directions; from phones, PCs, tablets and gaming machines. The thing that has really unleashed our creative juices is almost ubiquitous connectivity. You no longer need a physical PC, because you are rarely truly off-line, so you can live with limited local processing and a connection into a world of power and data (through VDI for example). These devices may all meet in the middle at some point, but in the meantime we have a broad spectrum of choice where once we had only PCs or phones. We all have different working habits and behaviours, so choice is good, right? Let’s not decry their lack of local processing power, lets enjoy the rainbow.