Google announced their upcoming Chrome OS for netbooks yesterday. As an HP Mini netbook user I am very interested. Anything that gets me booted up and connected to the Internet faster is worth a hard look. My primary browser is Chrome for this reason.
The timing is interesting, if not coincidental. It could be construed as a pre-emptive strike against Windows 7 which is due to be released soon. Windows 7 is supposed to be Netbook compatible and replace XP.
I have faith, however, in Google and would like to offer some real world requirements. This is roughly in order of importance. Some of this may be obvious, but my business analyst brain tells me to not take anything for granted.
Compatible With Existing Netbooks. The announcement was a little vague on this. A new OS is not enough for me to buy another netbook.
VNC Remote Control. My HP Mini is not a mini-notebook so it does not have much installed on it. I do occasionally need Word, Excel, and other desktop applications and I use UltraVNC to remote control my desktop.
This would seem to be a good solution for Chrome OS users that still need desktop applications. Chrome OS is not going to be perfect out of the gates anyway. For example, even Google’s own Blogger site has a glitch with the Chrome browser (in the Layout feature) and I have to switch to IE. I also recently had a problem using Salesforce.com’s class sign-up site and had to switch to IE.
There are several VNC options in the marketplace and I use UltraVNC. However, they do not offer a Linux client. They offer a browser-based client, but it does not have screen scaling. The aspect ratio and resolution of my HP Mini is different than my desktop and screen scaling gets around this. I tried simply reducing the resolution on my desktop, but the lowest setting (800×600) still caused screen scrolling. I imagine a screen mismatch would be true for all netbooks. Maybe Google could help this SourceForge project create a Linux version or augment the browser client.
Microsoft Terminal Services (aka Remote Desktop and RDP) is also an option and prevalent in corporate environments. Let’s face it, Microsoft’s contribution is how many people were introduced to remote control. I don’t know if the RDP protocol is proprietary to Microsoft. This would, however, cost me money. My Vista Home Edition does not have Terminal Services capability and an upgrade to Professional would be necessary.
iPhone Tethering. One of these days AT&T is going to offer legal iPhone tethering in the United States. I am looking forward to the day, but a bit anxious about the cost. If the data plan is affordable, I plan to purchase a USB Bluetooth card for the HP Mini and tether away.
Disconnected Use. This is not strictly a Chrome OS issue, but I can imagine needing to work on a crucial proposal on an airplane. A netbook is probably the wrong tool anyway, but crucial means crucial even if it means firing up Wordpad. Hopefully, Internet in the air at a reasonable cost will become a
Let’s See What Materializes. Those are my real world requirements for switching to Chrome OS. I am looking forward to seeing what actually shows up.