Saturday, April 12, 2014

ChromeBox and ChromeBook. Making the "i" stand for Ignorant.

Hmmm. It's definitely an interesting time in PC land at the moment.

Windows XP support has just disappeared and many enterprise customers are now faced with a "where do we go now?" scenario.

It seems to me like we're at a point in time where a full blown desktop PC or high end laptop really isn't required for 99% of users out there.

We should really be at a point where a good OS that takes full advantage of ARM based processors or low-end x86 CPUs is available and has a great range of commercial or good-quality open-source software available (and the OS doesn't take a l33t h@xor to drive).

As much as I hate Apple - it has done one useful thing.
Apple has proven that most business and personal users can survive in a non-Windows world (albeit awkwardly and inefficiently).

Apple has taken free BSD, added a pretty GUI, got a bunch of commercial application support up and going and controlled the hardware that can run their custom cut version of free BSD.

The Apple strategy has been based on three key elements:

1) Take a free OS and add application support
Apple has taken a linux-like Operating System (FreeBSD) and ensured that the key apps people use (Microsoft Office and a good web browser) are 100% working and serviceable.

The first question anyone asks before they buy an Apple PC (because that's what it is - there is no Mac or PC as far as I'm concerned) is "can it run Office"?

I have no idea how Apple convinced Microsoft to release office for Mac (I'm sure there's millions of good articles out there) but that was the key to their success.

2) Control the hardware
While gamers and hardware nuts (present) love the fact that PC hardware can be customised to purely joyous level, most people out their simply don't care what's under the bonnet and just want something that looks sexy and feels reliable.

Again, Apple ticked this box nicely. Their hardware operation isn't necessarily reliable, but when you physically look at and play with the device, it appears solid.

While vendors like Samsung, Dell and Sony make a better laptop than Apple, most mainstream users are waaaaay too dumb to think for themselves and usually just follow the herd.

3) Market the crap out of it
Marketing 101.
Advertise. Lots.
As proven by Apple, you're ads don't even need to be good.

Just run them constantly until you beat your consumers into submission and they crumble and buy your product.

Now it's time for the Googles.

So, at this point, what's the difference between a Macbook / Mac and a Chromebook / Chromebox?

The Operating System
Apple took FreeBSD, tweaked it and made a pretty GUI.

Google has made their own Linux kernel OS (dubbed ChromeOS) and built it from the ground up.

From a technical perspective, these two operating systems are massively similar (Linux and Unix like variant) and Mac users would be right at home on ChromeOS.

Chromboxes are cheap.
Damn cheap.

Chromebooks can be cheap or expensive, depending on your hardware tastes.

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