Saturday, May 28, 2011

ChromeOS huge niche market...???

A portable Internet access device must be flexible, always accessible and capable of doing a zillion things in an easy, intuitive way. Just like the Tablets do. The ChromeOS on the contrary is an specialized Operating System, optimized to do one thing better than any other Operating System: Surf the Net; doing heavy, intensive, interactive surfing. Thus, the ChromeOS is not and should not be push into the mobile, netbook, tablet market.

The Traditional Desktop computer, on the other hand is a Jack of all trades, a multipurpose, powerhouse tool. With the conventional computer you have flexibility and power. Once again that is not what the Chrome OS is meant to give.

So, being that the mobile netbook/tablet market and the traditional desktop market are not compatible with the new ChromeOS Operating System and the devices optimized for it. What can we use it for? Where, in the vast operating system lanscape, we can find its niche market? 

In the medium to large Desktop monitors... I think! With the ChromeOS installed there,  we  only need to add a keyboard with a touch pad and/or a mouse to  have a working, comfortable,  Internet access device. Simple to setup, simple to use, and optimized to do what 95 percent of the traditional Desktop Users do with their computers. Surf the net for work and fun.

To access and surf the net with intensity you need a large screen that you can split into several windows that you can see and work on, simultaneously. In one you can write an article, with google docs. In another you can go places with google maps. In another you can read books and check references with wikipedia, google books, etc. etc. or watch an online movie. 

Opening tabs helps, but if you can only see one of them at a time, you are still working on one thing at a time. But when you open several windows at the same time, doing different, but complementary things in each one of them, then you, we, the humans, are really multitasking. 

For years they have been telling us about computer multitasking, the ability of the computer and/or operating systems to do many things at once. But all that multitasking is limited by our inability to  emulate it. For that we need a big monitor and an Operating System optimized to use it and help us do a lot of things at the same time.  

The Internet have open a huge door in front of us, empowering us to do a zillions things simultaneously. But the operating systems of yonder were not optimized to take advantage of all that. ChromeOS is different. It is built around the Internet. Enabling us to use it to the max.

Combining then a Web optimized operating system/browser and a large size monitor, real human multitasking becomes a reality. That kind of intensive, multitasking,  interactive, productive, online, surfing work cannot be done comfortably in the little screen of a tablet or a regular netbook or laptop.

You can do it on your conventional Powerhouse computer, depending on your monitor size. But it is not optimized for it. Too many applications, locally installed, sucking computer resources. The need to keep the system up to date. The  browser and operating systems not working as harmoniously as they should. The typical dilemma of the Jack of all trades, master of none.  We can do better than that.  We need a big monitor, optimized to surf the net and an operating system and graphical user interface, ChromeOS, built into that monitor and optimized to surf/work the net.

This is the ChromeOS niche market. The big Desktop Monitor optimized for the end user who lives and works online, not as a marginal thing, but as the center of his/her daily productive, creative process. This end user does not wants to be distracted with administrative chores or local daemons and  applications sucking up his resources. He wants space, ease of use and online optimization.

The traditional Desktop, the Jack of all trades computing Device, should be optimized  for the gamer, the power user, the programmer, the system administrator, the  graphical designer: Those who really need and will put to good use all those mega programs like Photoshop/GIMP, Office/Open Office, Apache, BIND, DNS server software, Mail Server Software, Web Server Software, etc. etc. etc..

But the average end user don't need and don't use those mega-applications. For him they are like big pieces of furniture that occupy valuable space without doing any productive work. They stand on his/her way. They eat ram, waste energy, occupy hard disk space, make the computer more expensive and difficult to manage. When the average user sits at his desktop/table in front of his monitor what he needs is a big monitor with a clean and simple interface, a good keyboard, a couple of nice mice to move around the monitor, carry things with them, and issue commands with lighting fast speed. And of course a fast and reliable Internet connection. Everything else, for the average Desktop user, is superfluous.

So lets put the ChromeOS Operating system inside the monitor, add a few usb ports, 4 to 8 would be OK, an ethernet port, a multi card reader, bluetooth and wifi connectivity and a handle on top of the monitor in case we need to move it from one desk to another. That's all 95 percent of the Desktop end users ever need.

A few more niceties would be welcome. The wifi antenna, for example, should not be install inside the monitor as they are installed inside the netbooks. With wifi capability  built into the monitor/computer, just  add a couple of male SMA connectors in each corner at the top of the monitor, and include a couple of wifi antennas with their corresponding extension cables to go with them.

This way , the end user will be able to put/keep the monitor where he needs it to be to work comfortable, more likely in that corner where his working physical desk is located, and move the antennas to where they will pick up the best signal. Of course, for that you don't even need an internal wifi card. A wifi dongle and a large extension cable, connected to a usb port will work just fine.

Thus, as part of their Operating Systems Strategy, Google would be wise to consider the following:

For servers and powerhouse computers they should configure their own Linux Operating System Distribution.   Based on Debian; of course, and optimized for what they, their systems administrators and programmers need.

For mobile devices they should stick to Android, augmenting the capabilities of its Internet browser. It works. It is successful and its maturing nicely. 

Finally for the Desktop End User they should optimized ChromeOS to work efficiently and comfortably with the large Desktop monitors. They should seek and incentivize monitor manufactures to include and integrate a ChromeOS computer inside the monitor so that instead of buying a computer, the end user will just buy a cheap monitor, connect the keyboard and mouse, turn it on, log into their google account and presto! they are online, surfing and working faster and more efficiently than ever before.

For those who already have a good, large monitor, a few keyboards and several mice running around their houses or physical desk shelves, google should promote and incentivize the development of small form factors Chromeboxes that will either serve as a monitor stand for the average monitor, or be attached to the back of the monitor,using a VESA mounting kit, where the wall mount device is attached to the monitor. Giada already have the small factor PC and the mounting kit to attached it to the back of the monitors. All they need to do is to install ChromeOS into these small factor computers, optimize ChromeOS for large monitors, and presto, the New End User Desktop Standard will be born.

Once again: Android for mobile netbooks and tablets; a  Debian based Linux Distribution for the Power Users, System Administrators. Programmers; and ChromeOS optimized for large screen desktop monitors, for the average Desktop End User.  All of them built upon Linux but manifesting three distinct, yet compatible incarnations, each one optimized for an specific market/purpose.

Three distinct incarnations of Linux, develop and distributed under the same Open Source philosophy, work environment, and distribution licence. All three sharing the same basic original kernel.

I already have my Power User OS, Debian testing, installed in my once upon a time Powerhouse computer, presently in bad need of a powerful upgrade.  Next I will get my android mobile device/tablet. Probably an Archos 101. And as soon as the first small factor ChromeOS, pedestal embedded or Vesa Mounting Kit enabled PC Box hit the market, I will get mine.  

What a dream come true.  Internet mobile takeover by Android. Server/Power User market takeover by Debian (and its multifaceted  progeny, Ubuntu and now the final frontier, the End User Desktop Monitor Market targeted by the optimized,  revolutionary, ChromeOS operating system.