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Google Chromebook – is this the future?

Apple have been changing the tech industry in the last year. It has been shown in analysis that the iPad is killing netbook, and even some notebook sales.

Google have stepped into the mix, with their new computer platform. They hope to change elements of the PC age, adopting ideas that the iPad has made so successful.

The new laptop will be using an operating system built on the popular Chrome browser, which has an audience of over 160 million people now worldwide. It starts up in around 7 seconds and the first Samsung model that has been released has a battery life of 10 hours – similar figures to the Apple iPad. When the computer is started up the software automatically checks if there are updates, so no annoying user reminders. It always boots up with the latest version and if there is a software failure it will know that it needs to reinstall itself.

So far it seems ideal for people who really aren’t that computer literate, or for users who really can’t be bothered dealing with a plethora of questions and interface updates. All documents are even stored online in ‘the cloud’ and restored from the web in case of problems.

The only downside to this painfree concept is that not everyone will be online, all the time. When Chrome OS can’t connect to the net then it isn’t quite as smooth. Google have said that the more developers get involved then the less painful this will become. The New York Times application highlights that Chrome can be configured to work anywhere.

A first time user might be surprised to see that there is no way to ‘minimise’ the browser to see a traditionally styled desktop, like Windows.

These Chromebooks will be available from June onwards in Europe and America and the pricing is said to be very competitive, which makes sense as there are no huge operating system fees to pay to Microsoft. Samsung and Acer will be the main launch partners and there is a lot of discussion as to how well this platform will be. It seems that people love the iPad interface and ease of use to handle basic tasks. Others feel that a ‘full’ computer system based on the same straightforward UI structure will prove just as popular.

The other side of the argument is that so far, competitors to Windows in a laptop environment have not succeeded. That said, Google have proven to be very successful on a software level, with Google Android continuing to gain market share in the mobile sector.

It will be an interesting second half of the year and Google are certainly betting that there is a market between the iPad and the ‘full fat’ laptop computer. Instant on access, and hassle free software upgrades with a fully feature recovery system should appeal to a wide audience. But in the market, logic doesn’t always translate to sales.

KitGuru says: Is the Chromebook time finally here?

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