Tag Archives: Netbooks

Chrome OS Doomed from the start!

So today many people have been talking about Google’s announcement of Google Chrome OS. Of course Google has told us really nothing about this OS other then that it will run on x86 and ARM architecture as well as the fact that Google already has partners lined up. Now that we got what we know out of the way lets look a bit more at what Google is doing.

Why name it Chrome? First off why is Google naming it Chrome? Chrome is a product that so far is only used by Windows users (people on OSX and Linux want it but it’s not there yet). Google should not be naming its OS Chrome this will only cause further confusion. Of course this might also give away the secret as to why Google Chrome OS will fail.

Chrome OS doesn’t sound like its going to really have much more then a Web Browser! Wait what? Just a browser? Yep it sure sounds like it. They talk about how everything should just be done on the web. Sorry Google but web apps do not yet compete with stand alone. Take for example someone with a lowly DSL connection. Well how easy would it be to write a paper if you keep having to send data back and forth?  It would be a horrible experience (btw I know for a fact that trying to do anything quickly in Google Docs over DSL is slow.).

Google says people want faster computers. So what does Google promise? Well your netbook will run the Internet faster! But wait this is the same problem as before! Without a proper broadband network how is this beneficial to anyone? Will this OS actually run anything on the local computer is the one question that keeps popping into my head. I think maybe 5-10 years in the future this might work.

Of course if it ends up anything like Android it will be 5-10 years later. Look at android its been around for awhile now and still ONE actual phone. Good job Google where was the huge numbers you were saying would be out last winter. Of course the one major thing is suppposedly there are a bunch of ARM “Smartbooks” around the corner and well Chrome OS would be perfect for them as Windows would suck just as much on them. Oh wait Linux is out there.

Sorry Google but unless Chrome OS is just rebranding Ubuntu with Chrome installed I doubt its going to be as great as everyone is saying.


Another look at Windows being on ARM

OSNews brought up once again the idea of Microsoft making a version of Windows for the ARM architecture. In the past I have pointed out that if Microsoft doesn’t that they will eventually fall behind in the netbook market. This is caused by the fact that ARM netbooks are looking like they will not only be smaller then the atom netbooks but also may even allow for even more battery life while at the same time providing better video playback by having a graphics chip with some power to it (the 945 from intel is ancient now by todays standards). Of course OSNews points out one thing that so far many overlook. Unlike Linux which has been on ARM for awhile and so it has apps ported to ARM when you look at Windows they have NO ARM apps besides the stuff made for Windwos Mobile. Of course in theory using .net they could get a few apps but how many major apps that you use in your everyday life are .net based? I can bet its a small number. Of course I don’t think Microsoft really expects the users that buy netbooks to buy Office. I think that Microsoft is making the web based Office 14 exactly for netbooks as a way to prevent the huge amount of space office would take up and also the fact that most people still use a disc to install Office (no small feat when you have no DVD drive). In the end I think I agree with OSNews. Microsoft will probably not make an ARM version of Windows it’s just not in it or its partners interests to maintain two platforms. The real question here is will this kill ARM netbooks?


ThinkPad netbooks?

Lenovo has stated that it is looking into making a ThinkPad netbook. This of course is more then just a normal rebranding of a preexisting netbook though. Lenovo has been trying to keep the ThinkPad brand as pure as it can recently and has gone so far as to fix problems with the keyboards in the T400 series ThinkPads that had flexy keyboards. So for a netbook to hold the ThinkPad name it definitely would need to be a good netbook. I think the biggest hurdle for Lenovo when it comes to this is the casing. ThinkPads have a rather standard look and lots of safety features. This would probably increase the cost of making the netbook. In my opinion I don’t think Lenovo should really work on a netbook. They would be better just refining their X200 line.


Canonical responds to Microsoft’s netbook FUD

Ok for those who don’t know what FUD means it’s Fear Uncertainty and Doubt. It is a tactic Microsoft has been using for years and probably should get them in trouble for slander but some how lying about a competitors product seems to just be Microsoft’s way again. I had thought they had gotten better about this and stopped using it but I guess I was wrong.

Ok now that that is out of the way on to the real show. Canonical has responded to Microsoft’s article on netbooks that I had done a nice rebuttal to. Well interestingly Canonical made a lot of the same points as me and even got some nice numbers for the driver issue and finally proving there is more drivers under Linux (seriously does this really matter Microsoft?). Overall I think this article does a good job of rehashing what Microsoft said that is wrong and is very well written and with more examples.


Microsoft practically claiming victory in netbooks!

I normally have a lot of respect for Brandon LeBlanc as I have read almost all of his Windows Blog posts. This article though about “Windows on Netbook PCs": A Year in Review” acts almost as though the netbook battle has already been won. He write as thought the netbook market is not going to change anymore! First off congrats to Microsoft on going from 10% to 96% in netbooks (what country is my only question here). You managed to go from underdog to top dog… or so you think. One major threat to Microsoft in the netbook market is completely ignored. Yes, I know its an year in review article but from the wording they sound ready for everything… except as normal from Microsoft they are ignoring the idea of new netbooks.

When netbooks first came out this was the reason Microsoft started at 10%. Microsoft was betting everything on Windows Vista at the time and any of the original netbooks needed a SD card filled with Windows in order to run it.  It took Microsoft a whole year to get to the top in netbooks and personally I think they killed one of my favorite part of netbooks! The SSD! For me a real netbook must have a SSD as to be truly as portable as a netbook promises you cannot have a spinning disc in your netbook. Of course cheap SSD’s could not fit even the slimmer Windows XP so real netbooks tend to do two things. Either they ran Linux or they ran Windows XP off a SD drive or a only allowed for minimal storage.

Now why do I bring up my idea of a real netbook? Well it is because ARM is looking to revitalize this segment of the netbook market not just by using SSDs but also by making netbooks SMALLER. And I am not talking screen sizes I am talking thickness and weight the real important factor. But why does Microsoft ignore these great advancements shouldn’t they be talking about this (no articles from Microsoft even talk about Windows on ARM). One simple fact. Full versions of Windows don’t run on the ARM architecture. Is Microsoft going to be able to play catch up here? Sure Microsoft’s Windows Mobile works on it but who would want a 10-inch cell phone? So far Microsoft seems to be missing the boat.

Now lets go back to this article which claims victory by numerous areas even though the netbook win so far has been over mindshare more then actual usefulness.

First, Brian talks about configuration saying “There’s a wizard to help with just about anything, so you’ll never need to go to the command line and manually configure things.” Now what exactly is a consumer setting up on a netbook that would need command line access in say Linux? Last I checked a  netbook came fully loaded with all the drivers it would need and all apps in Linux these days have simple wizards as well. So chock down one FUD line.

Second, the argument of we got the mindshare so we win. Ok I will give you that argument. Sure everyone knows someone that can fix a Windows computer. You can claim that point.

Third, its easy to stay up to date with releases and updates. If you read the comments of the article Jonathan Rothwell does a very good job of dispelling this myth and I will try now to do the same. Last I checked every Linux distro I know does auto updates. As for predicable updates I know that this is a blessing to IT departments but allows for those wishing to exploit flaws to wait until the day after patches go out to release new viruses or utilize newly found holes in the system. As for releases well last I checked Microsoft releases whenever they feel like it. Most distros do a 6month or some other standard amount of time between releases.

As for the printer and other device compatibility Linux runs most printers. Lexmark is one of the only exceptions here and it’s because Lexmark is horrible about drivers. As for web cams Microsoft has forced webcams to be “Vista Certified” which means video over usb a standard that is implemented in Linux as well. Cameras work fine with Windows as well. In reality MORE devices are compatible with Linux as Linux supports devices from the 90s that Microsoft stopped supporting long ago.

So looking at Windows on the netbook future I think next year will be a huge change. Android netbooks means that Google’s name could be attached to netbooks hurting Microsoft when it comes brand recognition (Google these days seems to have a better reputation). At the same time with Microsoft ignoring the new hardware I think the netbook still could easily belong to Linux and Open Source.


BTW: Do not think this means I dislike Microsoft. I am merely upset with this article that pretty much declares victory while skipping around the warzone that will be the netbook market very soon (if you don’t currently consider it that).

Apple sales down while PC sales go up

Interestingly this recession is now starting to really hurt Apple. In January Apple was down and now in February Apple is once again down on sales. This time Apple dropped 16% for the month. The worst part was the fact that Apple desktop sales dropped 36% while Windows desktops only dropped 10%. Windows decline of desktop isn’t to surprising desktops haven’t really been the big thing. Instead notebooks are one of the major growth areas for computers these days as most people are preferring mobility now over power plus most people don’t even need the amount of power most desktops have these days. Of course the largest amount of growth is happening in the netbook market which helps Windows laptop sales grow 36% while Apples dropped 7%. What does all this mean? Well it means two things.

First, less people are willing to pay the Apple Tax now that money is getting tighter. Apple most likely is not going to be losing money but they will probably start looking at netbooks much more. Of course with what rumors have said about Apple and netbooks Apple will do it in its own over-priced way so it wont matter anyways.

Second, the age of desktops is coming to an end. Other then people who need high powered graphics or processing there really does not seem to be getting a desktop in this day and age. Most people seem to be realizing this and want the convenience of laptops specially the more mobile netbooks.

Overall what we are seeing is Apple finally take a hit. But more importantly we are watching the paradigm shift from desktops to laptops these numbers only prove this more.


Apple netbook rumors

So if you haven’t heard the buzz around the net everyone is spreading rumors of how Apple is going to create a netbook that is touchscreen. Now we have confirmation that Apple is buying 10 inch touchscreens. What does this mean? Well at 10inches it probably is a tablet of some kind I would think. Of course the question is will Apple make a real netbook as we think of them? I highly doubt it. What I am guessing this will become is a big iPod Touch maybe a different name but think of an enlarged iPod Touch not a  fully capable laptop. Now why is this? Unlike some who would just state that they think this cause there have been rumors about a larger iPod Touch I have some more logical reasons (aka not rumors just logical analysis of what Apple does). Now if we look at all Apple computers in the past in order for Apple to sell it the customer experience has to be adequate for Apple. Now think of netbooks. Do you think that Apple would accept the trade offs related to a current generation netbook? I highly doubt it the weaknesses are too great when it comes to multi-tasking. So here is where the iPod Touch likeness comes in. The Touch/iPhone are both limited to one task at a time… see it? This would be ideal for Apple to use on a tablet of some kind. The other thing is I bet Apple doesn’t give it a keyboard. I bet its just a tablet in the sense that people have been seeing in sci-fi movies for years. I hope what I just described is true as it would be pretty cool to see someone finally create it and it sounds like Steve Jobs ideal product since it would have a very minimal number of  buttons.


Why can people not understand Microsoft’s Netbook plans?

So a OSnews article about how Windows 7 probably won’t have a netbook SKU made me realize something important. Microsoft doesn’t need a netbook plan. If they are indeed making Windows 7 lighter and like Microsoft keeps saying it runs fine on current netbooks why do we need a netbook version? Would it be more limited like most Linux netbooks are? Why would anyone want to buy that? At the same time people have to realize that if Windows 7 runs fine on the CURRENT generation netbooks why would Microsoft make a SKU for Windows 7 that will become obsolete when new netbook processors are released and netbooks get more powerful. People seem to think that netbooks are not guna get any faster? Why is this? Just a dual core would make it more then adequate to run Windows 7 on a netbook and it will run perfectly. So what is Microsoft’s strategy on netbooks? Well it is simple Microsoft will ship Windows 7 with no “netbook” SKU. It will have a limited version for current netbooks but most likely it will be obsolete soon enough but will have no separate version since if it had a full fledged netbook version it would have to retire it in a year when netbooks are getting more then capable of running Windows 7 even with aero.


Is Android coming to Netbooks?

Simple answer is “yes” according to Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt but at the same time will anyone care is the real question. Personally I do not get where Android is going. It seems ok for a cellphone but netbooks are more powerful then a cellphone. Windows based netbooks are soon going to be able to play HD videos with the new Nvidia ion platform and last I checked Android uses the framebuffer to render the desktop instead of a normal Xserver. Is it going to be different for Netbooks? Well I am sure Google would convert it over and I am sure they will try and market it but the real question is do people want Android? So far we have seen that people do not want Linux as Windows has become the dominant Operating System of netbooks since Linux didn’t sell and had high return rates (Goto a Wal-Mart you wont find a Linux netbook there) so why would the vendors try Android? It wont look like Windows and from what I have seen of Android its more like using a series of gadgets then it is using a Linux desktop will full fledged applications. Hopefully I am wrong and Android had more power to it then a cellphone operating system since people want more power from their netbooks not less.


Is onboard integrated graphics going to die?

According to John Peddie Research IGPs will be down to 1% of the market by 2013! Now the funny thing is most people following processors would have noticed this already as both Intel and AMD are investing in integrating CPU and GPU technologies to make better mobile processors. AMD is especially invested since its trying to create a real fully AMD mobile platform and in the past the only way to get a AMD laptop involved a more power hungry discrete GPU. While a discrete GPU sounds nice from the brute strength perspective its rather wasteful from the power perspective and moving the GPU to the processors die is promising even more energy savings! Tie that with new battery technologies and we will finally have the 8 hour workday laptops we have been waiting for (And so far only netbooks have supplied really). The other major reason that IGPs are going to die is they have never been very good at doing anything beyond 2d graphics they have always been really crappy at 3d to the point that most video games do not even list them in the graphics section (I just looked). So are IGPs going to die? Yeah, and I do not think we really need JPR to tell us that they are I think just looking at what is in the pipeline should be enough proof.