Posts Tagged ‘netbook’
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:
|Microsoft||Windows 7||Windows CE||Windows 7, XP||Windows 7, XP|
|Apple||None||iPhone OS||Mac OS X||Mac OS X|
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.
Phoenix Technologies is offering a Linux-based virtualization platform called HyperSpace enabled by the HyperCore hypervisor embedded within the BIOS. HyperCore is most likely Xen-based and runs specialized core services side-by-side with Windows on Intel VT CPU’s.
Its primary value proposition is that it is a fast boot environment. The concept is to boot the user into a VM running Linux and show him a Mozilla-based browser within the first 10 seconds, while Windows is booting up in parallel in another VM within the first minute or so. While the Windows boot in in progress, the user can connect (through Linux) with an available wireless network, browse the Internet, and switch between the two virtual machines using the F4 function key.
What do users think?
Here are some interesting reviews,
- Phoenix Technologies HyperSpace instant-on OS review
- Phoenix HyperSpace Dual and Hybrid
- A peek at Phoenix’s HyperSpace fast-boot Linux add-on
- Torture-Testing Phoenix HyperSpace, the Linux-Based Instant-On OS
Some other fast boot environments are:
- DeviceVM Splashtop (They don’t use virtualization today but have filed US Pat. 11772700 on Jul 2, 2007 for virtualizing dual OS boot)
- Asus ExpressGate
- Dell Latitude On
However, currently …
Phoenix was selling HyperSpace Dual (Linux only, no HyperCore) and Hybrid (Linux + HyperCore) in 2009 but they seem to have discontinued the Hybrid product line. Was the adoption poor due to limited hardware support? Or, shudder, was the product not fulfilling a customer need?
Perhaps we may see it once again in the near future, the HyperSpace front page hints that “HyperSpace 2.0 is coming soon”.
The technology is cool, but …
Fast boot alone is not a compelling need. There aren’t many times in life when users can’t wait an additional 30 or so seconds to have full access to Windows.
If you look at why Mac users have adopted VMware Fusion for running Windows, you’ll realize that there must be a compelling need for users to change their behavior and adopt something new and different. Users in corporate environments switched to Macs because they did not want a Common Operating Environment Windows desktop, which was locked down by IT. Using Fusion, they can continue to use Office, particularly, Outlook, and especially the Outlook calendar, to continue to meet the demands at work without missing a beat. Conversely, people who have always used Macs did not want to change their lifestyle when they joined a new company and using Fusion, they were able to assimilate into the corporate routine very quickly.
So the question at hand is, what is the compelling use case for a BIOS-based client hypervisor to gain adoption and market penetration?
What is the killer use case?
Perhaps the killer use case is the one that both HyperSpace and Splashtop are already fulfilling today for NetBooks and Nettops, using non-virtualized Linux to provide a Mozilla or Chrome browser as the primary interface for email, Facebook, Zynga, IM, browsing the Internet and using Microsoft Office compatible apps.
This begs the question, is there a compelling need for a Type 1 BIOS-based client hypervisor?
Dear Reader, What do you think?