Most of today’s Chromebooks are based largely on lackluster ARM and Celeron platforms. But starting later this year, you’ll be able to choose between dozens of Chromebook models that are based on modern Intel platforms like the Core i3 and the Bay Trail-M system-on-a-chip (SoC). These devices—many of which will offer touch-screens, too, including some convertible models—will represent a significant threat to Windows in the crucial low-end of the market.
I don’t think much of Chrome OS, mostly because it doesn’t run most of what I need to run, but the concept of what used to be called “thin computers” wired to the cloud where all the data and muscle is has to be take seriously.
And here’s something else to take seriously: This “low end” of the market. It is apparently made up of people who find that a tablet or an anemic Chromebook let them do everything they want – play with social media, take pictures of cats and post them, watch movies and TV, listen to music, essentially have an inexpensive entertainment machine in either an extremely portable, or fairly portable form factor.
We used to laugh at those things, and say, “They’re toys. You can’t do real work with them?”
But what sort of real work do you need to do when you’ve been unemployed for a year, with no end in sight? Or you’re an illegal alien about to become scamnestyed into legality, and the only thing you know how to do is mow lawns and listen to Spanish-language radio and watch Spanish-language movies and tv?
If the past five years have taught us anything, it is that the number of people who don’t need to, want to, or know how to do real work on a computer is growing, not shrinking. And given their precarious financial situation, cheap is good.
So all of this is a real thing.
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