Interesting quotes from a recent DigiTimes article (particularly the second one)...
If Google Docs cannot meet the needs the enterprise users, can it meet the needs of schools?Quote:
Google pushing Chrome OS for PCs; vendors give it the cold shoulder
Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, at speech in Taiwan on November 9, promoted Chrome OS in high-profile for the PC market, but PC players are rather pessimistic about the idea and believe if Google wants to cut into the PC market, the company will need to provide more resources and support. During his speech, Schmidt mentioned several times about Chrome OS' advantages such as fast boot up, no virus issues and free of charge, and prompted PC players to give Chrome OS a try.
However, due to demand for Chrome OS-based devices (Chromebooks) being lower than expected, PC players are taking a passive attitude toward opening projects. In June 2011, Acer and Samsung launched their Chromebooks ahead of other PC brand vendors, but by the end of July, Acer had reportedly only sold 5,000 units and Samsung was said to have had even lower sales than Acer, according to sources from the PC industry. However, Acer has declined to comment.
Analyzing Chromebooks' difficult situation, the sources pointed out that although Google is mainly pushing Chromebooks in the enterprise market, its Google Docs applications cannot meet the needs the enterprise users.
Meanwhile, since Chromebooks' major advantage is their cloud computing capability allowing users to use online document processing tools, if users are at a location without Internet connection or have poor connection quality, the advantage becomes a disadvantage of the device, noted the sources, adding that cloud computing is the trend of the future, but Chromebook is currently still too idealized. (Source, Via)
I agree that the collaborative features are excellent, as is the ability to easily retrieve data from the web e.g. the ImportXML() function in spreadsheets, Google Image Search from within the document you are working on etc.
However, there are some features which Google Docs lacks compared to the usual desktop office apps. For example, you can't use locally installed fonts; use custom/non-standard paper sizes; import vector-based graphics created in programs such as Illustrator/InkScape; position images, drawings and other objects precisely on the page; accessing data stored on your clipboard is a pain (due to browser security), or create interactive forms using anything other than the default set of controls e.g. you can't have more than one set of checkboxes per row.
Is that dual display ports + the DVI port?
It's nice to see Google & Samsung actually using ports from this century, instead of VGA from the Triassic period. :D
Strange I count 6 USB ports :)
And yes, that is DVI & 2 * DisplayPorts - interesting combo :)
Have to say this interests me more than the Chromebook, be interesting to see prices after release.
Am I the only one who thinks its kinda like a Thin Client but the applications are hosted by Google instead of on your local system?
Might be missing out something here though!
Our school is starting to take the Chromebook plunge. The key for us was the day-long battery life and 10 second boot time. While true, as mentioned in many prior comments, that these are a thin-client that will not be able to meet the need of businesses, they do meet the need for 90% of what our students do at school. For the remaining 10%, we will still maintain fat-client labs, but are looking into HTML5 RDP solutions to move all that processing to the server. We just ordered our first cart today and if our trial goes well, will be ordering another 6 carts for next year, then hopefully another 6-9 the following year.
plus you don't have the option of falling back to using the device locally if working via rdp/ica isn't available, as you would with a netbook running xp or win7.
although i guess anyone would be hard pushed to find any notebook with those key specs of screen size, weight, and battery life for less than £300 [assuming you ignore the other stuff about it not being an pentium/i3 running windows]. So maybe in that respect it has hit a price sweet spot for those with the right infrastructure to make it work for them.
The main thing is that IT is still not in most schools cost model like the buildings are!!
Your summary is spot on; it has hit a sweet spot with functionality/features vs cost. I am playing around with it to see exactly what type of offline functionality it may have. From what I've seen so far, the breaking point seems to be on the login; without an Internet connection you cannot log in. But once logged in, you still have minimal functionality. My hope is that in the event that users are already logged in and we lose Internet connectivity (but maintain wireless connectivity to local resources) that students could still access local, in-house servers. Since we host our own Moodle and SIS servers, we won't be completely down in the classroom.
Google also is supposed to be working on offline versions of Docs, so once they figure that out it will add an additional layer of offline functionality, but that's most likely only going to work if the users are already logged on. I highly doubt Google will release a local accounts caching server; they just assume that everyone has rock solid Internet connections.
I am also trying to experiment with installing another OS on it just in case Google drops the project. So far I personally haven't had any luck but I have read that others have. If I can get it to work, then I won't be stuck with a bunch of paper weights if they pull the Chromebook project and quit maintaining the OS and updates.