Who’s Making Hybrids?
Microsoft’s Windows 8 will serve as both a tablet and laptop operating system. This will allow PC makers the opportunity to produce laptop/ tablet hybrids.
Apple CEO Tim Cook likened it to merging a refrigerator and a toaster. Cook stated, “Anything can be forced to converge but the problem is the products are about tradeoffs,” and “You begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone.” He then claimed that Apple will not produce an iPad/ MacBook hybrid.
It’s worth noting that Steve Jobs claimed that Apple would not produce a video playing iPod, a year-and-a-half before video enabled iPods hit the market.
Are Hybrids Inherently Bad?
I don’t think that hybrids are an inherently bad idea. If Windows 8 doesn’t suck, and Microsoft and their manufacturing partners produce products that are both lightweight and comfortable to use, then it could work.
What does worry me is an iOS/ OS X convergence. Should Apple dumb OS X down to the lowest common denominator and force users to acquire all software via the Mac App Store, that would be catastrophic. Apple gets away with exercising a lot more control over their users than Microsoft does. That’s ok (I guess) for phones and tablets. However it’s horrible for general purpose computing.
Should Apple do this, they will lose me as a customer.
I caved and ordered an iPad 3. The iPad doesn’t ship for another week or two, but Apple decided to send me my Smart Cover immediately.
Yes, I’m slightly disappointed.
Yes, I’m aware that this is a first world problem.
Question: “If we take Chrome apps to its logical conclusion: Do you like Samsung 5 Chromebook? Do you see any there at SXSW?”
Browser As An Operating Systems
Rumors circulated for years that Google was creating an operating system environment within a web browser. It’s a natural leap for Google because it benefits greatly from Internet expansion. Due to ubiquitous broadband (at least in the States), and relatively fast, and inexpensive processors have given this idea legs: an inexpensive machine that only accesses the Internet and other software that runs in-browser.
Google has a fun habit of releasing mostly-baked products into the market. They do so with everything: Gmail, Google Music, Android, G+, Chrome (browser). Now, they are doing it with Chrome OS.
When you buy a Chromebook, you are essentially paying to enter an open beta. That’s all well and good if you’ve got the cash, and don’t mind tinkering with partially completed software & hardware, but it’s not my cup of tea. I’m happy to beta test a free product from time-to-time, but I won’t pay for the privilege.
What is Chrome OS Good at?
- Browsing the web
- Basic to intermediate word-processing & spreadsheets
- Editing content from within a CMS
Where Does Chrome OS Fall Short?
The Law & The Cloud
Technology moves fast. Regulations and laws creep when they move at all. Steven Levy put it best:
“…the legal and regulatory framework for cloud computing is still evolving, as we are reminded by the government subpoenas for digital information on people tied to Wikileaks. If we’re going to make the leap to the cloud, we’ll need renewed assurances that personal data on the servers of Google or other companies will enjoy the same protections as the information stored on our personal hard drives and in our desk drawers” (Wired).
This is a big deal because with every passing month, the US government has become more aggressive in expanding online search and seizure.
Are People Using Chromebooks at SXSW?
While I’m hesitant to use SXSW attendees’ behavior as a measure of good tech decisions, I have not noticed a single Chromebook. Mostly I’ve seen a ton of Macbook Airs & Pros, Lenovo Thinkpads, and iPads.
Where is This Headed?
For better or worse, our computers are going to become increasingly more dependent on the cloud. That being said, I do not believe that Chrome OS is the answer. Over the next few years we will witness an operating system convergence.
Apple: iOS & OSX will merge
Microsoft: Windows 8 is all about convergence of the desktop, television, phone & tablet
Google: Android & Chrome will become one
Chrome OS is kind of a neat idea if you can already do all of your work in-browser, and can mentally get past the privacy/ legal issues.
Personally, I can’t do all of my work in-browser. I can’t ignore the privacy issues, and completely surrender all of my data to Google. I am deeply troubled by the imbalance between meatspace and cyberspace civil liberties (which is not Google’s fault).
All that being said, this really is an individual decision based on personal values, and use-cases. If Chromebook is all you want and need, enjoy. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than a Macbook Air.
This is just plain old weird.
Apple.com via a mobile browser:
Seriously? Apple.com isn’t mobile optimized? The “design meets technology to form magical blah blah blah, and birthed the mobile web into existence,” company never bothered to optimize their own website?
Note to Apple fanboys & girls: That “apps downloaded” ticker doesn’t count as mobile optimized. It’s lazy, and ironically self-celebratory.
Android.com via a mobile browser:
And Google isn’t off the hook on this either. “Mobile first,” Google never bothered to create a mobile-friendly version of their mobile operating system’s website? This is pathetic.
Us.Blackberry.com via a mobile browser:
You already know where this is going…
I can’t even get annoyed by this because I would have been honestly surprised if RIM got something right in 2012.
Windows Phone 7′s website via a mobile browser:
Surprise! It is mobile optimized…
… But only if you’re viewing the website in landscape. Switch to portrait and it’s improperly formatted.
This is so very Microsoft.
It shouldn’t be too much to ask the companies leading the mobile revolution to properly optimize their websites’ for mobile. It’s not like they have a lack of capable design or development talent.
Apple’s announcing a new iPad on March 7, and it will be in stores shortly thereafter. Consequently, the Apple Stores will immediately fill with mobs of anxious people itching to drop some cash.
My recommendation – Get to the Apple Store and have your current hardware repaired before March 7. It’s a lot quieter in Macistan right now, so take advantage.
Enjoy your condescending conversation with a “genius!”
Mobile device retailers like Apple, Best Buy, Amazon & Verizon want you to recycle or trade-in your mobile devices. They even offer a good chunk of change to do so.
It’s usually not a terrible deal, but there is one big reason why you should keep your retired mobile device:
Mobile devices break.
They are portable, small, handled often, and as a result are easy to drop.
The screens are prone to glitches and wear-out over the course of a year or two.
When they die, you may have a warranty, and your retailer will get you a refurbished one, but it will take a few days to a few weeks.
During that time you will either have to pay for a loaner (which is usually a shitty Droid Eris or something equally crappy), or you can use your own old phone.
You will be much better off with your own phone, but you won’t have your old phone if you don’t keep it.
On the back on a very busy, exceptionally good day, I came home late to the news that Steve Jobs has stepped down as the CEO of Apple. In a letter he asked to serve as Chairman, and install Tim Cook as CEO.
I haven’t had a chance to look at the tech press or Twitter reaction to the news but I’ve got mixed emotions, as I always do when it comes to Jobs.
He’s a once in a generation kind of guy. As I’ve said before I think he’s right about 95% of the time, but when he’s wrong he makes me hopping mad. I do believe that Apple can carry on without him at this point, I wasn’t so sure a few years back.
I hope he is healthy, and that he has many years left to enjoy.
Steve, I will miss being impressed and pissed with you.