Who really needs a Chrome OS laptop?

Yesterday in comments, Betanews reader DaveN asked why anyone would make the sacrifices he believes necessary to run a Chrome OS laptop. "If you're going to carry around a device in the laptop format, why would anyone want something so limited?" It's a good question, that necessitates two answers -- one for now and another when the first units are commercially available.

On December 7th, Google announced a pilot program, distributing some 60,000 unbranded Cr-48 laptops running Chrome OS. I expect to receive one for review as early as this week. That's a helluva pilot program, which has me laughing. I don't hear anyone fussing about Google handing out laptops the way they did about Microsoft with Windows Vista. That's some double standard. Microsoft offered bloggers and reviewers free Vista notebooks four years ago this month. Happy Christmas! I publicly supported the Vista program -- "Microsoft's Laptop Giveaway is About Influence Not Bribery" -- even though I didn't get a computer; there was no conflict of interest in my support. Microsoft handed out the notebooks before Windows Vista released. How else were reviewers going to use and test the operating system? Google's situation is similar, with commercial units six months, perhaps more, away.

The ambitious pilot is necessary, but I wonder if it's big enough. Google's Android success is as much about lucky timing as good technology or execution. Chrome OS butts up against Windows and even Mac OS laptops and now media tablets like iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which runs Android. Then there is the fundamental concept of storage in the cloud and, for the immediate future, missing applications categories.


Google isn't shy about the risks or the lifestyle changes pilot participation might necessitate: "Chrome OS is for people who live on the web. It runs web-based applications, not legacy PC software. The pilot program is not for the faint of heart. Things might not always work just right."

Rain Falling from the Cloud

DaveN wonders who those web dwellers might be. He writes: "I can understand living with the limitations of a smartphone, iPad, or other tablet due to increased portability and easier use while on the go. But if you're going to deal with the inherent limitations of a laptop -- size, weight, keyboard -- why not have something that will run a real app, store data, play a DVD, sync your mp3 player, work without a network connection, etc?" It's a good question for the pilot and future commercial products. The pilot isn't just necessary. It's a necessity:

1. The Cr-48 establishes a base configuration for Chrome OS OEMs. I'm hoping that's bare-minimum config. As I explained in my 11.6-inch MacBook Air review, PC manufacturers need to pay attention to a buyer's initial reaction and ongoing product usage -- that starts with adjusting priorities so they're more about making the customer exclaim "wow" and less about trimming production costs. Windows Phone 7 shows the problem of setting a minimum configuration bar. Microsoft was right to do this, but how did OEMs respond? The first Windows Phone handsets adhere to the minimums and not much more.

2. Chrome OS is a development platform misnomer. Android is hugely successful, with Google now activating 300,000 phones a day -- 27 million a quarter -- and Gartner predicting the mobile operating system will catch Nokia's Symbian by 2014. Android runs on dumb phones, smartphones, ebook readers, tablets and TV settop boxes. There are about 100,000 applications already available. Chrome OS faces as much developer competition, perhaps more, from Android as Windows or Mac OS. If Google is going to credibly make a case for yet another PC operating system -- and one with a cloud-connected approach -- developers have got to experience it firsthand.

3. Google needs more applications. One of Microsoft's newest marketing slogans is "to the cloud," but the benefits aren't divorced from local applications. Google is more ambitious, by shifting computing to the browser, something Netscape wanted to do in the 1990s. Clouds exist to make rain, and right now there is a drought of web applications in some critical consumer and business categories. Google will need developers to fill these if Chrome OS is going to succeed. The Cr-48 pilot makes the case stronger, along with the Chrome Web Store.

4. IT organizations need to evaluate Chrome OS -- now if they're going to deploy second half 2011. Timing is important for another reason: More IT organizations are evaluating Google Docs against newer offerings from Microsoft. Google can make a stronger pitch by offering a more unified stack -- applications and operating system -- much as Microsoft does today with legacy applications stack Office-Windows-Windows Server. Gartner has observed a marked increase in enterprise adoption of cloud computing solutions. "Cloud computing heralds an evolution of business -- no less influential than the era of e-business -- in positive and negative ways," Stephen Prentice, Gartner vice president, said in a statement over the US Thanksgivng holiday. It's not a question of if enterprises are moving to the cloud but to which one(s)?

Who Is It For?

That's the "now answer" to DaveN's question. But what about the future? "If you're going to carry around a device in the laptop format, why would anyone want something so limited?" There is a market for such a device, or underpowered netbooks wouldn't have sold so well over the past two-and-a-half years. Price and size are compelling attributes. Then there is the tablet surge. Gartner predicts that tablets will displace about 10 percent of PC shipments by 2014. I predict that's a way-to-conservative estimate.

Still, DaveN has a point. The Cr-48 is a 12-inch laptop running an Intel Atom processor. By the specs, it's not exactly a sportster. Still, Betanews commenter Neemobeer sees an audience for Chrome OS portables:

Most people on here are not typical computer users. If you think of it from the typical user perspective this is an amazing OS. Think of all the people you know that are average computer users; what do they do 90 percent of the time? Web, email, maybe a little bit of docs and pictures. This is perfect for those people and a great and probably afforable way for them to get in the technology train.

PC_Tool answers: "'Where is Works?!? Where are the MSN and Yahoo! messengers? What? You cannot even install them???!? Where's my Windows Live Mail client? Why can't I find anything on this thing?!?!' Yeah. The average consumer? Doesn't handle frustration well."

Steven Watson (aka swattz101) answers:

Where is Works -- probably an icon to Google Docs on the interface. Where are MSN and Yahoo Messengers -- there are web based versions, and I expect versions to show up in the Chrome App Store. Windows Live Mail client -- there is a link to Gmail where you can have a unified inbox. You can still access your webmail clients, and I would not be surprised if there is eventually some sort of email app added to the Chrome app store. I think something like this would be great for my wife. All she does on our computer is Facebook and Yahoo webmail over our home WiFi network. I doubt she would even use the 3G option much, so 100MB would proabably do ok for her.

This exchange among Betanews readers is enough to show why the Cr-48 pilot is necessary and to wonder about what market niche Chrome OS might fill. The answer to DaveN's question is another and another. Will Chrome OS even be relevant in six months? What about a Chrome OS tablet? Google's operating system kind of made sense when announced two years ago. But in 2011, with smartphones better offering cloud-connected apps, Android crushing rival phone operating systems and tablet sales soaring, will Chrome OS be irrelevant before its official debut? That's a question I hope to answer while testing the Cr-48 over the next couple of months.

52 Responses to Who really needs a Chrome OS laptop?

  1. gawd21 says:

    The only person that I think will get anything out of this, is my mother, and she will not be happy that it is so small. She does nothing but play Facebook games and check her email. Oh, and look at cooking sites. Yeah, this might work for her, if we are able to hook up her mouse, keyboard, and monitor to it, also, hook up her wired connection. That is about it. I really hope that I will find more uses for my test unit, when it gets here.

    • Jeffisagenius says:

      It seems everybody is forgetting some of the more impressive features of Chrome OS. How long does your laptop take to boot up? If it takes longer than 7 seconds than Chrome has it beat. Also because it lacks file systems and other current operating system standard technologies it uses FAR less battery. In fact, seeing as how the boot time is so fast instead of putting it to sleep you can just turn it off.

      TLDR; Chrome OS devices will have either insane battery life or incredibly small batteries, potentially making them lighter than any currently comparable device. (Seeing as how the battery usually adds a large portion of the weight.

      • PrivateOne says:

        I'd rather wait 7 minutes and have a file system.

      • gawd21 says:

        I do not have this problem, but I would rather have to boot my PC, go make a pot a coffee, have half a cup drank, type my pw, and sit down and wait for a few more minutes, at least I would have all of my files here. No concern about internet speed and server load or the security of my files.

      • PrivateOne says:

        My PC boots in a minute or two.

        I was just making the point that I would wait 7 in order to have a file system.

  2. Neemobeer says:

    To Steve Waton all those apps are available in Chromium if you are familiar with VMWare Player you can download a build of chromium here http://chromeos.hexxeh.net/

    • Jabberwolf says:

      You kinda made the point against Chromium by only needing it as a virtual machine.
      Which I use.
      Frankly I'm hoping for the stand alone XenClient so I can have a virtual group of desktops that arent riding on top of another.

    • swattz101 says:

      Thanks, I've tried to get hexxeh's port to run in Virtualbox or the USB liveboot version and couldn't get either to boot. I also tried to install Ubuntu (using Wubi installer) so I can make my own dev build, but couldn't get it to install. I've had it on here before and it was a pain to install then, something about the ACPI or such. I just haven't been able to devote the time I need to troubleshoot it yet. Doesn't mean I won't keep trying. :-)

  3. The Blac Manba says:

    What is it that I can do with Chorme that I cannot do in a windows, Linux or Mac computer operation system? Well nothing.

    Now what is it that I can do with windows, Mac and Linux that I cannot do with Chrome OS. I have not used it to tell but I can see that hardware is quite limited. with the use of windows live essential, I can do email and even store bookmarks or store documents and photos.

    Interesting that google offer OS with cloud integration. But it is already occuring with windows, Mac and Linux.

  4. kq4ym says:

    Users will have to get over the hump of using apps from the cloud. The Google branded "docs" are probably going to feel a bit strange to the users of Microsoft products. Whether consumers and business will elect to "simplify" their computing life by moving over to the Google cloud remains to be seen. If everyone does make the move, Google will own the world.

  5. lseltzer says:

    Definitely a solution in search of a problem. As so many have already pointed out, there's nothing you can do in Chrome OS that you can't do on a cheap Windows 7 netbook running Chrome (or other browser).

    Google might make the point that there are security benefits to Chrome OS as a platform, but these come mostly from denying the user the ability to install local apps (other than plugins). This doesn't seem like a winner to me unless maybe if they give them away.

  6. NeverFollow says:

    This remind me the NC (Network Computer) offered by Oracle in the late 1990's which became mothballed mostly because it was in too advanced at the time. The typical Internet comnnection was using 28.8 kbit/s modem dialup. Also PC's prices dropped to $500 from $1,000 to compete with the NC.

  7. Giggleton says:

    I've been trying to exist in the clouds for awhile now. iGoogle, GoogleDocs, Last.fm etc.. After my most recent format It felt quite liberating to not have to install a bunch of junk to in order to get going again. Log in and start what I need to do, usually some light word processing. I'm hoping GoogleDocs focuses heavily on emulating MS Word, at least in feature set.

    I would consider paying a small price for a single purpose device. Perhaps that is what we will get eventually. I don't really care about having the ability to stream 1080p youtube videos from my lectern. Although one day I will expect this.

    • Neemobeer says:

      Chromium will, in the future, have a much larger selection of cloud based apps, for now it can support all the tasks most average users indulge in. Web, email, music, pictures and productivity suite. Non of of which needs to be installed since it is in a cloud environment.

  8. gpmoo7 says:

    Chrome OS is not supposed to be limited.
    In the future, every app will live in the cloud, all the data you need will live in the cloud.
    And this future is not that far.
    Thanks to smartphones and tablets, we're getting use to access the same data from multiple places and devices
    Today, we want to access my data from my desktop/laptop, my work desktop/laptop, my phone and my tablet.
    Maybe I'm already living in the cloud but I prefer watching my photos on Facebook/Flickr/Picasa/... than watching the same phone on my hard drive.
    I haven't use Microsoft Office or OpenOffice since forever. Google Docs is plenty enough for me.

    The only things I'm doing outside a browser on my desktop/laptop today is listening to music using Spotify (because they don't have a web client) ... and ... playing games (like Call Of Duty).
    I also use Eclipse for my work.

    Google believe that everything we do today with our laptop/desktop is or will be possible with HTML5 (or Flash while it's necessary).
    With the chrome web store, we can already see some very nice "apps".

    Cloud OS like Chrome OS has some pretty interesting features like no system or apps updates to manage, no file-system, "no virus", no spyware.

    PS: If you still sync your phone/tablet to your laptop/desktop using an USB cable, you're clearly not living Google's present. I'm pretty sure Eric Schmitt never plugs his Nexus S to his laptop/desktop ... and neither am I ;)

    • PrivateOne says:

      The day Microsoft even thinks about trying to force me to use a client based cloud OS, they lose me as a customer. And as many as I can shoo away from them. And believe me, they lost ALOT of Vista customers because I exposed it as the garbage it was.

  9. masterbeta says:

    I have to ask...

    Doesn't anyone wonder or care why Google offers their applications for free?

    In all of the discussions re: google docs, chrome os, the free android os, or any of their other "free" products, one almost never, ever, hears about the essentially unlimited access google allows themselves to ALL of your information.

    Got Gmail? Every single word you send or receive is indexed and the EULA you agreed to allows google full access to your information, and it's rights are rather vaguely defined, to allow them the flexibility to use your information in ways it can't even yet predict.

    So when google wants you to move all your stuff to the cloud, of course they will allow you to do it for free. They will have access to EVERYTHING you do. Where you bank, what you read, watch, listen to. What you search for, what you download, what you share socially, what you buy, what you sell, who you are friends with, they will even be able to (and already have your permission) read notes and other files that you figured were for your eyes only. Like a certain type of media? say porn? They'll know your preferences there as well.

    Free??? Ha!!!!

    If you are someone who does not value privacy at all, then you should be debating the pros and cons of chrome.

    If you give even one shred about privacy, you'd be much better served debating cloud privacy and security and ignoring solutions take liberties with your data.

    Make sense?

    • Neemobeer says:

      Umm earth to master, unless your using SSL on everything, anyone can read anything you no matter what OS you use. Google docs is free but they do offer a premium solution for businesses.

      • frankwick says:

        Neemobeer, that is true, but only Google captures it legally, stores every bit in MASSIVE data centers, and builds a profile of you. Keep in mind, Google's business is selling ads and the more direct they can tailor those ads to you, the more attractive they become to advertisers. Their ad plans are huge and go beyond WWW and email. GoogleTV will be streaming ads directly to you in your home.

      • AnthonySPT says:

        "Umm earth to master, unless your using SSL on everything, anyone can read anything you no matter what OS you use..."

        Um, no... You are quite misinformed by assuming that all data is sent via HTTP or that all online storage is the same.

        One simple example:

        Store all your informtion in the cloud...

        Google - Gmail, Docs, etc.
        1) Data is mined for advertising information (doesn't bug some people)
        2) Data is stored with only minor encryption
        3) Data is readable by humans - Any IT person at Google with access to the servers can read your email and data - There have been several stories of Google employees spying on friends and family.

        Microsoft - Live/Hotmail, SkyDrive, Office, etc
        1) Data is NEVER reviewed or mined for information
        2) Data is stored with multi-level encryption technologies
        3) Data is NOT readable by humans. - All IT operations are machine queued, a human cannot gain access nor read any stored user data. The most any Microsoft Employee can do is close your account, and even operations like this are machine queued, and have a time based fail safe, so that even a forced delete takes about 90days before the system will complete the process.
        (The multi-level encryption plays into #3 as well, because the final encryption of the data is based on the end user's key. -Kind of like NTFS and bitlocker work on a desktop PC.)

        So which do you trust with your information on the cloud? The company that data mines your data, and any Joe Smoo working there can pull up any person's data, or the company that doesn't data mine your data and the data is stored in secured methods that prevent any non-machine or the account holder from ever being able to read it?

        As for transfering data to the 'cloud', all MS Live interactions are secured using SSL and additional authenication wrapping.
        (This is why on Firefox or Chrome, a plugin is installed to handle the additional authenication when dealing with Office and Live content in addition to the SSL mechanisms and certificates.)

        You can even test Microsoft's browser to site security - Browse to http://www.live.com on your Android phone, and sign in, the SSL will throw a flag based on the areas of SkyDrive/Office you access, because the browser in Android cannot properly handle the additional SSL encryption policies used by Live and sees it as a 'weird' certificate.

    • PrivateOne says:


      But does their EULA say where to send your soul when it comes time to collect?

      Maybe Joe would be kind enough to answer being they have his.

  10. jorjitop says:

    You are forgetting the most basic problem Google's business model is based on spying on their users in order to build a profile and sell more advertising. That is all they care about. If you use Chrome, everything you do will be spied on by Google. You may not care now, but, as Wikileaks has shown, even the most secret information has a habit of getting out.

    If you want to let Google know who you are, your interests, your Contacts, your Calendar, your Docs, your photos, your music, maybe your TV watching (TV), your phone calls (Voice), etc., then go ahead and use Google products and services. But, you will live to regret it.

    There is a lot of noise about how Facebook is risky for your privacy. But, Facebook only has the information you give them. Google is constantly, and surreptitiously building your profile without your consent (who reads Eula's?). There is no Eula telling you that they are accumulating data on you when you use their search engine. Google is the most dangerous company in the world and their products and services should be avoided at all costs.

    You want a product, just pay for it. Nothing is for free.

    • PrivateOne says:

      Yeah it's tough to figure out who is more Borgish these days.

      Microsoft was the original Borg.

      Then we have Google sucking up IP's and emails from their little commie camera mobiles...

      Then Steve Jobs wants to be co-owner of your iDevice because after all, Steve knows best. Maybe he should be called "Big Mother"?

      Seems they are all trying to out-Borg each other....

      One positive in all of this is that Linux is getting better all the time as the clock ticks on all 3 of the above.

      I honestly hope that a company comes out with a distro of Linux that blows anything that Microsoft, Google or Apple has clear out of the water.

      Then we can all say, "Assimilate this!"

  11. cabassi says:

    The only difference between "necessity" and "necessary" is that one is a noun and the other is an adjective.

  12. bulletbob says:

    I am typing this comment on my cr-48 I got on Friday - it is AWESOME. I have been living in the cloud for most all services and products for two years (the only Windows tie is to Microsoft Access). I primarily use Ubuntu and some windows machines. I switched my company to Google apps two years ago and we have never looked back. Collaboration is where it is at and thats what Google docs deliver.

    The cr-48 is a solid machine it shuts down in about 1 second when you close the lid and it restarts in about 1 second when you open the lid. Full restart about 8-10 seconds. I have had about five hours of use and two days of standby on the first charge (still have 42% battery left)

    The new Chrome app store is great - the apps create streamlined "ipad feeling" experience. Look at the new New York Times app - it is beautiful.

    My only disappointment so far is I use Caspio.com for online databases - it is not yet working with cr-48 but hopefully will soon.

    I sincerely believe if given the chance to use "most" (70-80%) of people would switch to a internet only laptop. There are fewer and fewer needs for locally installed software.

    Last week I had a friend have his laptop stolen. He had all kinds of documents on it. All I thought was what an idiot for not storing everything in the cloud - who really wants to live in the world of backing up, and having to worry about losing stuff. I trust Google far more to keep my information safe than some "half baked" backup system most people use.

    With the Chome OS laptop I feel it is the perfect companion to my Nexus One android phone.

  13. The Blac Manba says:

    "trust Google far more to keep my information safe than some", you must be really living in the cloud for two years. Google and privacy ( included personl files ) if far for a computer use paradigm for people that care about their privacys.

    I am not saying that business will not adapt because any company will do anything to save dimes.

  14. bigsexy022870 says:

    There is no need for this cloud based Chrome OS. If anything they should have put out a Android OS with build in cloud functions. We dont need another OS. It's just foolish to think this will catch on. I agree with PC_Tool, it's just missing all the stuff we use and want. There is little need at this point to have everything in the cloud. If the point is to be able to access all of our stuff whenever we want from anywhere, then we can pretty much do that now. I can access and control my home pc or anyones for that matter with my iphone. Cloud based media streaming has been here for a while. Since my only mobile device is my phone i see little need for it all in the cloud. I have access to all my 10,000 songs via the cloud but i mostly use Pandora. The only people who might use this Chrome OS is a small segment of the business world. And i mean small. Cause many will admit (and i have spoken to many) that prefer a non cloud device with cloud capabilities. Which is what everyone already has now. Google is entending to far with this idea. It would have gone smoother if they just expanded there current cloud abilities to the android OS.

  15. IT advisor says:

    Maybe Chrome OS is just ahead of its time.

    Sun Microsystems was always talking about the era of the thin client. Chrome makes that happen.

    A fully featured laptop would probably be better with a traditional desktop OS, but I can see lightweight netbook computers running Chrome.

  16. FrankOtheMountain says:

    Some of these people really sound like they work for Google. Maybe it's just me......

    All of my XP PCs boot up in 15-20 seconds, shut down in the same. This is a really bad reason to switch OS's, don't you think? I like my PCs. I run without antivirus (so does my kid). Rarely any trouble if you have a brain in your head, but I guess most people don't. They also don't care if Google uses all of their communications as they please. Sounds like it might be something nice to have around if they were cheap enough. Like disposable browsers. Oh, my screen is smudged, throw that in in trash and get me a fresh one dear.

  17. nyucknyuck says:

    Okay "BulletBob" - rah rah the incapable OS , and drop a bomb about
    "the only Windows tie is to Microsoft Access" a huge program. So you have a seperate PC running THAT, AND presumably Windows servers to host and back up those access databases, and is ACCESS running on your CHROME..... ?????? or now your customers are paying for you to play with an OS that really, does nothing for your business... THat is the private sector as we have seen it perform for tha economic meltdown.

    BulletBob, please aim the bullet at yourself.


  18. bmovie says:

    After a few months with your Chromium laptop you will either find Communism palatable or question why the price of advertised goods have gone up.

  19. Neemobeer says:

    Chrome OS will be a very viable business solution. Black Manba said the hardware is limited, well A this is a prototype probably not the real thing. B Chromium OS is designed to run almost everything in a cloud environment. This means Chromium machines are essentially thin clients. This is very attractive to IT or at least should be. This is a much more cost effective solution as opposed to something like Citrix Xen desktop. Running Chromium everything is on your private company cloud this means better data security. This OS will also be great for rapid deployment and recovery of user workstations. Chromium install on disc is only about 320MB, 1.5GB installed on HDD.

  20. ye110mann says:

    As an iPad competitor, it can work, assuming someone makes a Chrome OS pad. But as a laptop, it won't succeed without Microsoft Office and with Chrome OS, it's only possible with Citrix so I don't see how it can succeed outside corporations.

  21. pepeda says:

    I have a good laptop to work (currenty a 17.1" Intel Core i7, 8GB Ram, W764bits).
    It takes more than 4 minutes to start due to heavy software load I use to work.
    And the only software I opened after work that was not browser or media player was Starcraft II.

    I'm planning to get a little and light (and cheap :P) laptop for personal use. And one with Chrome OS will be good (as will be one with Android, Ubuntu, Mint, W7 or any other).

    And for me, press power button, sit down and browse the web is all I need.

    • Neemobeer says:

      I'd recommend Ubuntu. Easy to install, user friendly, boots and runs on very low specs, virtually virus free. I would just be sure to put a firewall on it. Gufw or IPtables

    • frankwick says:

      If your i7 Win 7 takes 4 minutes to load you have issues. My work i5 (Win 7 x86) loads in less than 30 seconds. My startup is clean but we do have several group policies. What in the world are you loading at startup to make the boot time so long?

      • rrode74 says:

        I agree, the most I have ever seen Windows 7 take is about a min, and that was on some old dog that had 768megs of RAM and a celeron CPU.

  22. frankwick says:

    swattz101 didn't understand PC_Tool's comment. I'm sure Tool is well aware that those options will exist as an app or on the WWW. The point is that the average consumer will be fristrated trying to find those alternatives. I can see my mom now trying to figure out to install Word and Outlook. Telling her to use a cloud app would be futile. This is common beyond the confines of the geek aquad on this board.

    • swattz101 says:

      It depends on your definition of "average consumer" and what they will use it for and who this is marketed to. I understood the comment, I just don't completely agree with it. There is no Windows Live Mail client on the iPad either, and yet many of those have sold. Sure, some consumers will get frustrated with it. For other, it will be the best thing since sliced bread. :-) I expect there to be icons with links directly on the dashboard for Gmail and Google docs. I also wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft finds a way to put links for their web based versions of office and Windows Live Services. (Sync would fit in really nice).

      I’m sure part of pilot program will look at user experience. With the chrome web store, there will be apps for just about everything. I’m not sure if these would work for business/power users, at least not right away, but for your general home user that surfs the web, Facebook and general email, I think they will work really well.

  23. flibberyGiveIt says:

    Sportster is a relative term: Underpowered to
    run Adobe Photo Shop under Windows Vista?
    Hey, what isn't.
    The oomph to run a command line OS that
    just does a browser? Quite a different story.

  24. h2so4 says:

    So, it's basically an unreliable netbook?

  25. PrivateOne says:

    What good is a netbook that only works if you are connected to the internet?

    If you can't work offline it's useless.

    An EeePC with XP Home or even Windows 7 Starter would be alot more useful. Or just install a non-hobbled distro of Linux from a USB flash drive if thats your thing.

    ChromeOS is a hobbled version of Linux. Just what I always wanted..

  26. rrode74 says:

    Low Price + new Android App store could be good. There are a lot of iPad owners I know that are now complaining that they want a keyboard. I guess the shine wore off? These people would love a cheap chrome OS netbook.

  27. AnthonySPT says:

    "I expect to receive one for review as early as this week. That's a helluva pilot program, which has me laughing. I don't hear anyone fussing about Google handing out laptops the way they did about Microsoft with Windows Vista."

    An neither come close to Apple's policies. If a person works in the media, news, or even respected blogging world, free Apple Products are part of the job.

    This is done in several ways, from handing out of products to specific journalists by Apple to Apple dumping large amounts of products to news and media companies for 'long term review', which means they don't have to report them as a gift or asset, and also never have to return them.

    This also confuses the ethics, as the media companies will then distribute the Apple products to employees, often without disclosing that instead of it being a product owned by the media company, that they are free products from Apple. So the journalists never think about it being a conflict of interest as they didn't realize it was free merchandise from Apple to influence the media company employees.

    The amount of free stuff distributed by Apple is staggering, and when you see people at Cable News or newspaper reporters or even a small town radio show hosts giving news time to Apple products and talking about how much they love their iPad or Macbook, 99% of the time, it was free from Apple.

    Even bloggers and newswriters like on sites like this one, if you haven't gotten anything from Apple free, you just haven't asked the right person...

    (Having worked in the IT side of the media world for several years, I have personally been shocked at the influence Apple uses in anything related to media, news, or marketing.)

  28. jackamus says:

    More typical Joe hate. The Betanews killer strikes again. I swear you had a book to write. Oh well, guess that didn't work out so well, but at least you can fall back on Betanews. There is nothing wrong with this experiment. It's new, much like most things. Everything starts out new. As a test to see if it takes off. Time will only tell.

  29. Calc_Yolatuh says:

    Still got a 701 running Leeenux, I'll pass on this one.

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