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Chrome OS, 3G Netbook, Client Hypervisor Convergence?

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Sundar Pichai’s post Introducing the Chrome OS

Chrome OS is designed for people who spend most of their time on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS.

Chrome OS has generated a lot of excitement and buzz over the past few months. The driver for introducing Chrome OS is the widespread use of the Internet and the dramatic rise in adoption of NetBooks (called ultraportables by IDC) during 2008 – 2009.

Benefits for notebook and ultramobile device users

  • Fast boot, instant web access.
  • Worldwide accessibility of personal data, i.e., documents, pictures, MP3’s, videos, etc., since they are stored in the Cloud.
  • Promise of being able to run web apps offline and sync data with the Cloud when online (with the forthcoming HTML5 support).

Benefits for all users

  • Safe browsing – users don’t have to worry about viruses, adware, malware
  • Speed – no hidden services and extensions slowing down the computer while running in the background
  • Users cannot lose data that resides in the Cloud due to a computer disaster or forgetting to back up files.
  • No/Low administration overhead – users don’t need to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about applying software updates.

Essentially, Chrome OS’s key value is to convert a Netbook (or any computer for that matter) into a fixed- function web interaction device. This is a great vision and in all likelihood will be realized in 2010 when 3G notebooks become mainstream in the US and Europe – they already are in Asia. However, let us examine where Chrome OS fits within the landscape of products from Microsoft and Apple:

OS Vendor Netbook Tablet Notebook Desktop
Microsoft Windows 7 Windows CE Windows 7, XP Windows 7, XP
Apple None iPhone OS Mac OS X Mac OS X
Google Chrome OS Android None None

 

While Chrome OS is well-positioned for the 3G notebook market niche, its safe browsing and speed are particularly important benefits for users who browse the web from their notebook and desktops also. This installed base of users are not going to be migrating away from their notebooks and desktops because of “stickiness”of the apps, e.g., Outlook mail and calendar integration, Adobe’s Creative Suite or financial apps that use Dot Net technologies on Windows, the holistic user experience on a Mac. It is difficult to change user behavior!

How can Chrome OS extend to desktops/notebooks in home and business use today?

That’s easy, through the use of virtualization. Virtualization will let users

  • Run multiple disparate OS’s on the same hardware
  • Realize the Bring Your Own Computer model for VDI and maintain separation of work-related and personal, apps and data.
  • Create a safe and secure browsing environment at home or at work on their personal computers

A client hypervisor running on a netbook, notebook or desktop can permit Chrome OS to be booted in a VM for providing a fast boot, instant web access capability while Windows is still booting up in the background.

Written by paule1s

March 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm

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