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What does Angry Birds mean for the future of computing?

TR member Donovan Colbert thinks that with the right set of must-have apps (like Angry Birds), Chrome might become attractive enough within the niche of inexpensive netbook computing to be successful. Do you agree?

Something occurred recently with little fanfare or hype. More importantly, the hype over Chrome OS netbooks overshadowed how much more important this particular event could be for the future of computing and how we interface with our operating systems.

Everyone knows that Google has determined that they're just not happy with having a single badly fractured mobile operating system platform on the market. They think that what consumers really want is additional confusing choices. To achieve that goal, Google announced the release of the Google Chrome OS - which is really just a web browser, and nothing else, running on a laptop or netbook (at this point) and accessing your entire digital experience through the cloud.

It is a bold concept, one that Microsoft has been worrying about since they put Netscape out of business by bundling Internet Explorer with every copy of Windows. The press release for Chrome OS and hardware gives us a pretty good idea what it must be like at Google's Mountainview HQs, with brainy nerds running around doing their own thing, being creative, moving forward with wonderful ideas, often in direct conflict with other internal projects being driven by other brainy nerds who are doing their own thing in turn! It must be a blast to work in such an absolute madhouse of chaos and lack of clear direction.

My perception has always been that most consumers are relatively puzzled by the prospect of a cloud-based OS - and from what I've read about the model that Chrome is going to try and deliver, I've got to admit that I still don't quite get it. I'm not sure why I would opt in for an experience that requires some sort of connectivity in order to be useful and which moves all of my personal data off of my own machine and onto the cloud.

A recent controversy with Dropbox illustrates just one of many concerns end users have with trusting their data to the cloud. All "encrypted" data stored on Dropbox is accessible by employees through a back door - so, all it takes is a subpoena from the RIAA lawyers, following up on a tip that you might have a huge collection of pirated REO Speedwagon and Air Supply albums, and a Dropbox employee cheerfully grants full access to your Music folder. Imagine the shame if the guilty secret of your status as a Foreigner fan was publicly revealed!

So, there seems to be a lot not to love about Chrome OS, and there are already some voices out there on mainstream sites voicing their concerns and reservations.

I'm clearly a skeptic about cloud computing, and that has never been a secret. I'm also confused by the current direction of Google with regard to Android and Chrome, and I don't think I've ever been shy about that either. But as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there was a recent event that was overshadowed by the announcement of the release of Chrome OS netbooks that may be more important than the announcement of the release of Chrome-based retail hardware.

In the past, I've argued that it isn't having a bazillion apps in your market that matters the most - it's having a subset of the most desirable, in demand, and high-profile apps that really matters. I've got a handful of favorite apps, and they tend to be relatively cross platform. Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook, and a handful of other applications tend to exist on Android, iOS, RIM, Windows Mobile, Windows, OS X, and even Linux, from time to time.

There are still some high-profile apps that are missing from one platform or another - and there are always very good, high-quality apps that are platform dependent - existing solely on iOS or Android or one of the other OS platforms. But in general, the best apps tend to exist on each platform and to be functionally similar (indistinguishable) from platform to platform.

One of the most popular mobile gaming phenomenons of the last several months has been Angry Birds. Although the popularity of this app is waning, it's still one of the most significant games to emerge from the current wave of mobile computing. Chances are that even your grandmother has Angry Birds on her smartphone at this point.

I recently noticed that Angry Birds was available for free at the Chrome Web Store. Curious, I downloaded the app on a Windows machine and sure enough, it was Angry Birds. I played for awhile and thought to myself, "That is kind of neat."

In a previous post, I wrote about my experience with JoliOS. One of my disappointments was with the slim native app selection. Today, I had an a-ha moment while using my JoliOS netbook. They've made it easy at JoliOS by making Chromium their default browser. I wondered if I could go to the Chrome Web Store and download Angry Birds and run it on JoliOS. I was pretty certain of the answer before I tried this, and I was right. It worked like a champ.

This is the killer feature that Chrome OS can promise to deliver - the actual realization of platform-independent application computing. It won't matter if you're on an Intel Core, Atom, ARM/Cortex A4 or A8, or any other hardware platform. Hardware abstraction layers should make it easy for developers to code for your I/O - keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, and accelerometer. In fact, you don't even have to run Chrome. There are Chrome extensions for Internet Explorer that will allow you to run Chrome web apps in IE. All you need is a modern web browser that's supported by Google.

I'm still on the fence about Chrome and how viable the Chrome approach to computing can be, but Google is headed in the right direction by signing up major players in the established app markets to design apps for Chrome delivery. I think that with the right set of must-have apps, they can probably make Chrome attractive enough within the niche of inexpensive netbook computing to be successful.

What do you think? Is Chrome the future of inexpensive mobile computing? Or is Chrome a dark off-ramp to a dead end, leading nowhere for Google? Let us hear your thoughts in the discussion thread.

About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

26 comments
Pcobiwan
Pcobiwan

As an IT Pro Chrome has a different concern to me. We still do not support it in our environment because of security issues. We recently installed it for all the tech team members to test. Within 24 hours - I kid you not - Webroot had quarantined 'keylogger for Chrome' and a few other lovelies. While I realize that all browsers have security issues the robustness of security in others seems to be lacking here. Add to that the recent Google hacking from China - if they have your Google password they have access to all your Google data - and I'm more apt to stay with Google as a search engine and nothing more.

bugsie857
bugsie857

My mate had a gorgeous new Samsung laptop. It was powerful, looked the part could be carried anywhere... as long as you didn't also have 2 weeks luggage to carry around. He then went to USA for 2 weeks. He didn't want to take the laptop, so he bought a smaller net-book, just to check his emails, play music, and a bit of fun on the journey. Would he have bought a Chrome-book if it had been out? Err yes. Why? Because that was EXACTLY what he wanted a pc to do. It won't replace high end laptops, for now, think audio/video editing. But there is far more than a "niche" for it in society as a whole. in fact the niche, will be the high end computers!

dcolbert
dcolbert

An interesting observation about JoliOS - The JoliOS "app store" has added Angry Birds. It seems that what this does is simply download the Web App in Chrome and point a desktop icon at launching that. But the value add that JoliOS should add to that proposition is that if you ever hose your installation (something that seems to be fairly easy to do with JoliOS) - you can easily reinstall and recover your environment and all installed apps (minus local data that was not saved on the cloud). JoliOS will also sync all of your various JoliOS device desktops. This is something that is not a default in Chrome. For example - if I have Chrome on Windows, on Mac, on JoliOS, and I install Angry Birds in Chrome on *one* of my Windows machines in Chrome - I have to install it on every OTHER machine with Chrome on it too. If I have JoliOS and I install it in JoliOS, it will sync that install with every other JoliOS machine I have without requiring me to re-download the app over and over again. This whole area is something I'm going to have to think about. I see some tremendous advantages, but I have *huge* misgivings and concerns about how apps are going to work in this new model - in particular I worry about what kind of "data collection" has become acceptable in free web apps that always met with HUGE resistance when we were talking about local *native* apps.

groobiecat
groobiecat

...The issue is online productivity applications like "Podio" and "Sumo Paint." Podio is an online project management app that truly rocks and Sumo Paint offers the power of Photoshop with cool features that even CS5 doesn't have. These are incredibly powerful apps that are some of the many hidden gems in the Google apps quiver...

dhays
dhays

Angry Birds is a stupid looking game,, as are most of the video games on the market. It will take a lot more than that to get me to use Chrome or any other OS. My grandmother is long gone, however if my grandfather were alive he would be amazed at what is available, he operated a local telephone office in the old crank telephone days, he was put out of business by the advent of dial telephones. He did live to see the coming of cars, airplanes, spaceships, and dial telephones. He missed personal computers, and smart phones. My mother (85) has seen more of that and has a computer (albeit brought to her by her younger brother several years ago--now has a more modern one than my own, in some respects--still does email only from a dail up ISP) she does not have a smart phone and for that matter neither do my in-laws nor my wife. I jumped on the bandwagon last fall as did my daughter, my son had earlier as did his wife. So to sum it up, no video game will make me stand up and be alert for some off the wall OS, no matter the platform. My video game is, at present, FreeCell only. If someone were to setup a cryptogram program where you put in the information and it then places your guesses at each appropriate place, then we will talk. I don't a program to solve it for me--where's the challenge in that?

adimauro
adimauro

I may be misunderstanding the situation, which is why I am asking for clarification. But, this is how I see it. Microsoft was sued over and over again for the practice of forcing IE onto users. They still gave users the ability to install other browsers, but the tight IE+Windows integration helped them monopolize the market. Now, suddenly, Google comes out with a new OS that basically IS the Chrome browser, and not much more. Not only forcing users to use it, but not even offering the ability for users to install any other browser. I guess it's possible that there could be apps made available for download that would enable other browsers. But, overall, the integration of the Chrome web browser is even more complete than IE+Windows. Am I seeing this correctly? How is this different from the IE case? Are there potential lawsuits against Google over this in the future, if it takes off? Just wondering what other people think about it...

dcolbert
dcolbert

One key is in the app being accessible in an offline mode - in my mind. Local native apps - not just shortcuts to webpages with apps that require network connectivity in order to access and utilize. There is a huge difference. Angry Birds is a stand alone app.

Dethpod
Dethpod

What in God's name are you talking about?

mckinnej
mckinnej

The game itself is irrelevant. It could be any application such as a calendar, word processor, or calculator. As dcolbert pointed out, it is the accessibility, and I'll add "universality" of it that is the point here. No matter what platform you install it on, it is the same. Sure, there have been and are many cross-platform apps, but there are almost always differences between them based on what platform is being used. What we're seeing with Angry Birds means this will no longer be the case.

dcolbert
dcolbert

If it is popular and gets mindshare. Super Monkey Ball on iOS and a few other early iPhone game apps were what *really* created momentum for the iPhone - in much the same way that Wii Sports created the buzz that made the Wii such a hot seller around the same time. And *that* phenomenon has been going on for ages. Super Mario Bros as the pack-in game on the original NES revitalized game console sales in the US after the market crash in the 80s. It doesn't appeal to EVERYONE... but it appeals to a massive number of people. Angry Birds is a huge gaming success with a huge degree of recognition in society. Having it as an App on your platform is critical. It is the kind of app that can proof-of-concept the viability of in-app purchases of WEB BASED applciations - something that many industry analysts would say is a very rough proposition. If Angry Birds as a web app can produce $500,000 in in-app purchase revenue (say, buying levels at $.99 per level pack) - that would be pretty significant for a start. My guess is that the potential is much larger than that. The accessibility this opens up is what is key. At first, there were only limited platforms that could enjoy Angry Birds. On my timeline of historical computing device progress - we've busted through the 8 bit era of smart-phone and mobile devices into the 16 bit, where most apps started to appear on ALL platforms as opposed to being largely exclusive to a single machine or vendor.

jsbattista
jsbattista

is that they were sitting on a pile of money and the politicians were a little miffed that Bill Gates was not being political enough and donating enough to the right people. Government is a gang, a gang with courts, so of course one of the weapons is going to be a lawsuit.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Windows is a general purpose OS where ChromeOS is essentially a thinclient OS. Also, Microsoft is legally classified as a monopoly in the OS market. Being in monopoly possition in and of itself is not legally a problem but exploiting the market because of that possition is. The capitalist market can not provide better products to the consumer at a cheaper price point because the monopoly possition alone can block that. If a monopoly exploits the market due to it's possition, Anti-trust laws take affect. The issue was that Microsoft bundled IE with Windows in a way that used it's OS market share to remove fair market competition from other web browsers. Microsoft also made IE diverge enough from the HTML standard that websites that worked with IE did not properly work with standards compliant web browsers. In addition to blocking competitive web browsers, Microsoft stood a very good chance of making Internet websites a proprietary medium that could only be properly viewed on computers running Windows. (They did not provide even an Apple version of IE at the time; just Windwos.) IE was not more popular because it was a better web browser and infact it's development stagnated for many years. It became more popular because that 90% of the market that recieved Windows on new computer purchases got IE with; a chilling affect against even trying other browsers. Later, because so many websties used IE specific customizations, other browsers couldn't compete because they couldn't implement support for IE extensions legally. Netscape went bankrupt not because they didn't have a product that could compete against IE but because IE was exploiting the popularity of the Windows OS. Natural market forces could not correct the situation. Captialist competition is supposed to be based on the quality of the product and it's price point not being bound to a secondary product. Imagine that we could only by Ford cars because Ford branded tires where included and all roads what been modified so that non-Ford tires could turn the car left, increased the rate of gas consumption and wore through after a months worth of driving. But, if you had Ford branded tires which where only sold fitting Ford branded cars you'd get full stearing control, 200 miles a gallon and three years of hard driving without showing a bald spot. By contrast, Google is not in monopoly possition in the desktop OS market. Since the browser is the OS interface to centrally provided applications they probably wouldn't be required to unbundled the browser. It's litterally an OS kernel, hardware drivers and the browser not a browser running on an OS userland designed to provide other general purpose computing functions. Where I could see Google getting in trouble if in a monopoly possition is in the applications ChromeOS ran or the hardware it ran on. Using the popularity of ChromeOS to strong-arm hardware vendors into not offering any other OS would lead to anti-trust investigations likely. Using the popularity of ChromeOS to strong-arm software developers into incompatibilities that kept program from running under other browsers would also likely result in anti-trust investigations. Both of these asume a what-if situation where over 90% of the market is ChromeOS.

mckinnej
mckinnej

Maybe this will help. Let's say MS made cars. Their cars provided basic functionality, but other companies made add-on products, (better tires, softer seats, whatever), that people could buy and extend what their car could do. Out of nowhere a small company (Netscape) invents the car radio. Suddenly it becomes all the rage to listen to music and news while you're driving, so Netscape's radio becomes the must-have add-on for MS cars. MS sees this trend and decides they want a piece of it so they start making their own radios. Problem is, they make their radios essentially impossible to remove from the car, so drivers either have to mount the Netscape radio in some unused space in the car or are forced to use the MS radio, which at the time was inferior to the Netscape radio. In the end the drivers don't really care, take the easy way out, and use the MS radio. This causes Netscape's business to collapse. The people that love the Netscape radio and Netscape stockholders protest MS' use/abuse of their car manufacturer position. The legal battle ensures. The rest is history. What Google is doing is providing a whole new car, which is essentially a drivable radio. So rather than compete with MS over an add-on product, they are competing head-to-head as another car manufacturer. That is the big difference. Combine that with how different the technology landscape is now and you'll see even more differences. Google is in no danger as long as they avoid the lock-in path MS chose.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think the IE integration flap was a silly witch-hunt driven by lawmakers that didn't have a good grasp on technology and were being misled by disgruntled competitors who simply didn't like how powerful and entrenched Microsoft was. It is somewhat ironic that now the two companies most likely to run afoul of the same kind of issues and concerns today are Apple and Google - both with platforms built on FOSS foundations. But I see your point - and man, I think it is a good one. I mean - this illustrates the hypocrisy of the whole FOSS inquisition against Microsoft - I don't heart the uproar from the FOSS community over the complete integration of the Browser *as* the OS in Chrome compared to what Microsoft was trying to do with IE back in the 95/98 days. I'd love to hear someone from that side explain to us how this is totally different. ;) Great observation.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Microsoft must have had 5 year old children as lawyers to fail at that case.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Your interpretation of monopoly status is suspect, Neon. From Wiki: Advocates of free markets say that the only feasible way that a business could close entry to a field and therefore be able to raise prices free of competitive forces, i.e. be a coercive monopoly, is with the aid of government in restricting competition. It is argued that without government preventing competition, the firm must keep prices low because if they sustain unreasonably high prices, they will attract others to enter the field to compete. In other words, if the monopoly is not protected from competition by government intervention, it still faces potential competition, so that there is an incentive to keep prices low and a disincentive to price gouge (i.e., competitive pressures still exist in a non-coercive monopoly situation). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coercive_monopoly So, as usual, we're disagreeing along ideological lines that are arbitrary and a matter of personal opinion. I believe that there was unnecessary meddling in the free market economy surrounding Microsoft's "abuse" of the market. I do not believe that Microsoft was in a place to prevent innovation or competition at any point. Other firms were *failing* because they were providing *inferior* products. Man, it seems like the history of Netscape has been whitewashed - the best history of Netscape's evolution is here: http://sillydog.org/netscape/verinfo.php but Netscape most assuredly was in trouble and losing users because of their OWN mistakes, without any extra help from Microsoft releasing a FREE browser when Netscape was trying to charge $49.99 for theirs. The history you paint above isn't fully accurate - you paint from a certain *perspective*, and that perspective leads you to omit certain important and relevant facts. After a certain version... Netscape had lots of problems once they went public and tried to monetize their product - and many of them were internal. I was a loyal Netscape user - but shortly after their IPO their product became unreliable, slow and bloated. Netscape did this all by themselves, and Netscape loyalists were bailing like rats from a sinking ship. Their online distribution model became increasingly confusing in an attempt to encourage users to buy the product at brick and mortar retailers. Netscape had already gone seriously off track right at the start, and that was what allowed Microsoft to leverage the opportunity to become dominant in browser markets. The Microsoft anti-trust proceedings were mostly a witch-hunt perpetuated by sore losers like Netscape, Apple and Novell.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Netscape was already sinking their own ship well before browser/OS integration in Win32 became an issue. I was a loyal Netscape user at one point, and I dumped Netscape not because I was forced to or because IE was "better", but because Netscape got so BAD. Microsoft GIVING IE away when Netscape was trying to sell their WORST versions ever retail was certanly instrumental in putting Netscape in the ground - but by the time this debate was taking place, the Netscape funeral and wake were already over.

nwallette
nwallette

It's a thought-provoking point, that now we would never let a vendor hear the end of releasing an OS that didn't include a browser. So are we hypocrites? I think the gist of the issue is this: Having IE available by default isn't the problem. Using the ubiquity of PCs thus Windows thus IE to lock users into the platform is anti-competitive and harmful to the progress of technical innovation. If you've ever tried to create a webpage before, you'll remember the hell that is Internet Explorer 6. For anything more complicated than straight text, you literally had to design your site twice: Once for Firefox / Opera / Safari, and again just for IE6. And that browser was around forEVER. Some companies *still* mandate its use over more recent versions because there are a handful of legacy web applications that are written specifically for IE, and they just don't work on "standards-compliant" browsers. This could be because the layout engine in IE6 was so awful that a developer had to craft their work to specifically work around bugs and limitations (box models, float placement, hover events, selectors, inheritance, etc.); or because of the plethora of IE-only scripting (non-standard CSS extensions, VBScript, ActiveX, etc.) To the casual eye, Google is committing the same sin. The cardinal difference here is that Chrome is an excellent browser, with a focus on standards -- OPEN standards. If you decide Chrome [browser/OS] isn't for you, you can just hop right off that train and onto Firefox or Safari or Opera or IE9. If MS had gotten its way, we would all be listening to our WMA players, looking at VBScripted websites that ONLY worked in IE on Windows. Google released Chrome because they wanted a decent engine for making really powerful web applications that would work without native client-side compiled code modules (ala ActiveX) and got tired of waiting for someone else to make it happen. As a result, the whole browser industry has blown up, and you can actually chose which you'd like to use based on its features, not mandated support requirements. What has MS done for the industry in the last 20 years? Rested on its laurels.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

Don't fall for it. The Chrome OS is still Linux. You could potentially run IceWeasel on it. The fact that you may not have a choice and that this is anti-competative is still valid. I don't like the way MS uses IE in offline components of the OS and I don't like Chrome doing it any better. To say that the browser is the OS is slight of hand. On windows you could hide the desktop and force IE to run on startup. Force Maximize and Always on top. Now you have an OS that will only run a web browser. The windows is stil there, you just can't get to it.

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

... you can get the code and change it yourself if you want. Pretty sure that would have been hard to do with MS. Seriously, freedom benefits not just users, but also developers and software producers, a lot of the time.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

IE was a browser that ran on a general purpose OS not a specialized minimal OS stack that ran IE as a thinkclient appliance OS. ChromeOS is not such a majority of the market that other OS can't ship with hardware support. It's not popular enough that the majority of software available requires ChromeOS to run due to breaking under any other browser. In short, it's not obligatory due to majority share of the market. ChromeOS is also currently advertised as more of an embedded OS; it gets you the minimum to boot the browser and from there you access your server hosted desktop environment (including locally cached webapps). People still have competitive choices not pushed out purely by Google exploiting a market possiton in another product category. Also, ChromeOS is still very new. Alternative browser interfaces may indeed pop up and we can revisit the topic at that time to see how Google chooses to respond. If the rest of the underlying OS was anything but an arbitrary software stack mean to run Chrome web browser as the userland, I think you'd see people taking issue with it. Especially if Google started using it's market popularity to kill off competing browsers regardless of if they provided more benefit to the end user or not. If we see Google making the search engine fully functional only with ChromeOS; you'll see people take issue. Also, the claim that the FOSS community is simply accepting it blindly is not very accurate. There has been quite a bit of talk in the past about how it's intended to lock the user out fo all but the most superficial interface layer. There has been much talk about having to relying on network hosted applications (probably what led to the local caching of software now as that was not an originally intended feature). I'd also suggest that focusing just on the FOSS community is also a little disengenious. Why must it only be the FOSS OS users who take issue with ChromeOS? Is it not just as valid to ask why proprietary OS users deride Linux and BSD based general purpose OS while blindly accepting the highly customized Linux kernels underneath Android and ChromeOS? Not having surveyed all device owners who happen to use an open source developed program or OS; I'm just guessing here of course.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I sure won't claim to be an expert in business law. To be honest, I've never been able to find a set rule for when a business crosses the line to becoming a monopoly. I know it's not actually 100% market dominance, just a percentage great enough to influence the market contrary to natural market forces. What you list there though, shows a market correcting itself through natural forces; if company A shows a high price to be demanded of a product category, company B, C and D will try to compete. Sure, but what if company A has something to leverage in the market that makes competition through natural market forces impossible? From the other side of that Wiki coin: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Sherman_Antitrust_Act " Despite its name, the Act has fairly little to do with "trusts". Around the world, what U.S. lawmakers and attorneys call "antitrust" is more commonly known as "competition law." The purpose of the Act was to oppose the combination of entities that could potentially harm competition, such as monopolies or cartels. Its reference to trusts today is anachronistic. At the time of its passage, the trust was synonymous with monopolistic practice, because the trust was a popular way for monopolists to hold their businesses, and a way for cartel participants to create enforceable agreements.[3] In 1879, C. T. Dodd, an attorney for the Standard Oil Company of Ohio, devised a new type of trust agreement to overcome prohibitions in Ohio against corporations owning stock in other corporations. A trust is a centuries-old form of a contract whereby one party entrusts its property to a second party. The property is then used to benefit the first party. The law attempts to prevent the artificial raising of prices by restriction of trade or supply.[4] In other words, innocent monopoly, or monopoly achieved solely by merit, is perfectly legal, but acts by a monopolist to artificially preserve his status, or nefarious dealings to create a monopoly, are not. Put another way, it has sometimes been said that the purpose of the Sherman Act is not to protect competitors, but rather to protect competition and the competitive landscape. " The captialist economic system is not perfect. It has vulnerabilities that can be exploited. When those vulnerabilities are exploited to the detrement of the system due to failure of it's natural forces, an external force must be applied. For your second point: "you paint from a certain *perspective*, and that perspective leads you to omit certain important and relevant facts" You make it sound like I intentionally omit facts but it may just be your wording. In actuallity, I do "paint from a certain perspective" but it's a perspective of potentially not having the facts rather than having them and omitting them. What can I say, I wrote it off the top of my head without first researching it as a formal paper. If Netscape was already falling apart then fair enough. It doesn't really change the fact that Microsoft entered the Website game late, exploited it's OS market dominance to cram IE down users throats and stood a very good chance of making websites a proprietary commodity. By the time we got to IE6 it really was two world wide webs; the IE web and the one that worked with the rest of the browsers.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The Linux kernel is only a commodity part not a defining characteristic. Android is a java runtime that happens to have some kernel running under it. The important part is that you have the java runtime so you can make use of the Android native applications. The problem is not one of competition between Android and general purpose distributions but a problem of fragmentation from one-off Android customizations introducing incompatabilities while all claiming to be Android compatible. Users are not trying to replace Ubuntu with Android, they're trying to run Android on hardware claiming to be an Android device or they are lacking updates that must first be customized by the device manufacturer rather than being able to use the original updates distributed by Google. ChromeOS is a thinclient for accessing and caching webapps that happens to have some OS kernel running under it. Using a kernel other than a highly modified Linux kernel would not change the OS. The could just as easily modified a kernel from one of the BSDs or Google could have developed one from the ground up. The browser is the entirety of the user userland not an addon component exploiting the popularity of a more general purpose userland to block competition from other web browsers. This is not the same a Microsoft shipping an addon application by exploiting the popularity of a general purpose OS to block similar addon applications. The Chrome browser is also available on non-embedded platforms so at present, there is no ChromeOS only applications which won't also run under Chrome on other platforms. Google is not even using the Chrome browser to block the use of other web browsers as presently, the application caching an webapps seem to work fine on any other html5 browser. The embedded OS is not being exploited to block other browsers from accessing the same content and the browser is not being exploited to block other OS browser choices. Don't think it's all blind acceptance either though. There has been discusson against ChromeOS already. The mechanism that reflashes the device should an owner try to modify it has been questioned; should it protect the user from choosing to modify it in the same way it protects useres who choose not to from malware modifications? The obligatory use of webapps is not universally accepted either; how much info will one be obligated to hand over to Google and will the OS provide any deeper tracking beyond that? It's also not trying to replace general purpose OS yet. We'll see in the future depending on how it pushes beyond the netbook and tablet platforms. Even then, we'll have to see if it competes based on it's own merits or by exploiting market domince to impose itself on users. I think people are trying to attribute some unicorns and sunshine bias where non exists.

daboochmeister
daboochmeister

... then you can unbundle it yourself. I don't think Google has anything to fear on this front. Edit: actually, response I was referring to appeared below this one ... title "Maybe because ...". Sorry.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think I'm inclined to agree with the points you have presented here, Neon. All of them - I don't see anything I have an argument with here. As a matter of fact, it could be argued that Google has taken the first steps in making sure that this *isn't* a concern or complaint levelled at their firm. Point a copy of IE at angrybirds.com and you'll see that it will tell you that your browser isn't supported, but that you can download the Chrome OS framework for your browser which will allow you to run the webapp. It isn't fully featured like Chrome - it doesn't turn IE into Chrome, but it allows you to access any apps on IE that you would be able to access on Chrome.

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