Here’s an interesting angle on Google’s plan for its cloud-based operating system.
Google’s Chrome OS is a great idea. Put as much as possible into the cloud, and keep the physical device as a “thin client” to access this functionality. However, this great dependence on Internet connectivity has left the OS virtually useless for the vast majority of the world population, especially those who would have benefited the most from a low-cost, lightweight computer.
Now that a $100 computer is actually starting to look plausible, it’s ironic that those in true need of one won’t be able to use it. It will remain a luxury item, a secondary computer to those better off.
An even bleaker outlook: broadband
The numbers so far have been about Internet access, any kind, but to properly use a Web OS like the Chrome OS, you really need a broadband connection. This disqualifies an even larger percentage of the population. The mere thought of downloading and uploading documents and other data over an old dial-up connection makes us shiver.
So how common is broadband? Not as common as you might expect. For example, in the United States, 74.1% of the population has Internet access, but as of 2008, only 57% were accessing the Internet over a broadband connection. You could say that this makes Chrome OS unusable to 43% of the US population…
Thanks to Charles Arthur for passing on the link. Actually, there are time when I think that Chrome OS might not be too hot over my BT rural “broadband” DSL either.