Microsoft and Apple have the Desktop and Laptop Operating System market pretty much sewn up at the moment, there are some great Linux efforts out there (Ubuntu for example) but all of them have their problems… Windows is bulky, expensive and not particularly user friendly but offers great flexibility, Apple’s OS-X devices are expensive, not as well developed for as Windows but easy-to-use and Linux whilst open, free and efficient does not have all the commercial applications you may be used to.
Google has been planning to enter this market for quite a while now, it hit the mobile market first with Android, then it tackled the browser market with Chrome, then it released it’s business eMail and productivity suite Google Apps for Business all in preparation for what it believes is a revolution in the computing market.
Chromebooks are web based laptops that are designed specifically for speed, ease-of-use and to reduce administration overheads. They use the new Chrome OS which is a very efficient operating system (8 second boot from cold!) and is built around the Chrome browser. The computers are specifically designed for Cloud computing, you don’t load applications locally in the old fashioned sense, you run them in a browser. This also offers the advantage that it’s very secure – no local apps equals no viruses!
Their philosophy is that if you can run all your applications in a cloud then you don’t need a bulky, expensive operating system and therefore you don’t need a bulky and expensive piece of hardware & software plus the small army of technicians just to keep them running. Of course it has it’s drawbacks, No Internet=No Applications, they’re currently working on Offline Capabilities.
Google Chromebook – Google
Buy a Chromebook – Amazon, PC World
Google Chromebook: Will it be a computing revolution? – BBC, 12th May 2011