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Is the new Chromebook Revolutionary?

posted May 13, 2011, 8:55 PM by Nathan Eliason   [ updated May 13, 2011, 9:12 PM ]
    Over two years ago, Google announced that a series of netbooks would run Chrome OS, an operating system based on its revolutionary internet browser. But this is such change for the computing world that it may not catch on.
    Chrome OS is based on the fact that most users use their computers solely for internet, and hardly ever use the other programs on the computer. Basing Chromebook off this concept, Google has created a laptop that starts up in under 10 seconds and awakes from sleep instantly. But at what price? The entire computer is Google Chrome. There is no Microsoft word, no Windows Media Player, no iTunes or iMovie, just the browser. You print using Google Cloud Print (or a USB printer). To create documents, you can use Google Docs at docs.google.com, as well as the Web App store to get many free apps, and potentially pay for some. But for the most part, Chromebook will meet your computing needs... if you're online.
    Because the entirety of the computer is based off of Google Chrome, if you're not online, you're no good. Samsung and Acer are both creating versions of the Chromebook, some on just wifi, and some using 3G coverage to provide constant internet. For example, if you are on a plane, how are you going to edit the work document you need done yesterday when there is no connectivity? All your personal files and information is saved on Google's cloud server, even.
    But, you could potentially log on to almost any web-enabled computer in the world, not just a Chromebook, and have your entire computer ready for you. If another computer has Google Chrome, even a Windows 7 desktop, you can log on and use it just like your on your Chromebook. Plus, at around $400, they are cheaper than iPads, and have a full keyboard, 2 USB ports, Wi-Fi, 2 GB RAM (online computing...) and a memory card reader. 
    Missing something? A CD drive, perhaps? "Oh, you won't need one" Google says. Any information you have on a CD won't work with a Chromebook anyway. All those Windows, Mac, and Linux programs you may have? (Yes, iTunes, Norton, Word, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, Firefox, Paint, iMovie, PowerPoint, etc.) They're no good. Your iPod can't sync. Your Word Works files won't load. So is it revolutionary? Maybe. 
But if it is, the rest of the world isn't ready for it.
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