Chrome OS and toasters

The Aleutia E2 fanless PC is smaller than the average toaster

Computers should be like toasters, they should just work for years and then when they stop working, you should be able to pop out and buy a new one. Toasters don’t need backups, and a major cause of problems with computers is loosing data (which may include family pictures and purchased music as well as College work).

Google’s Chrome OS looks like it might be a solution to both failing PCs and the need to back up data. It will be the second branded operating system built on top of an open source kernel and tool chain. Mac OS ‘just works’ and looks nice, has full desktop functionality, local storage and a huge range of software. By contrast (BBC report, Google) Chrome OS may not be able to run applications that require an API richer than the browser. The obvious questions that spring to mind include “Where do I keep my music/photos/videos?” and “What happens if my Internet connection fails?” and “How do I install real programs?”. Local storage with cheap online backup could be a very popular combination. The gOS operating system had direct links to Google Apps integrated into a nice desktop, but used local storage and had OpenOffice installed.

Google mention working with hardware manufacturers. My toaster PC in the photo above is the Aleutia E2, a low power fanless PC that has enough processing power to view Web pages, do e-mail, write Maths worksheets and presentations, but does not quite make it through a YouTube video. That runs Debian Squeeze, but there is a spare partition, and I’ll be trying the Chrome OS when it arrives in public beta form.

The Google blog carries an interesting post written just after the Chrome OS announcement that describes SMS based access to Google services in Uganda. The mobile phone may be a mass platform in many countries.

Added 11th July: A Daringfireball article has some ideas and links about Chrome OS. I think this article makes valid points. Disclaimer: I use Ubuntu and therefore according to Gruber I’m not a real person. Help, I’m fading away!

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.