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March 24th, 2011

A recent blog, “The Web Wars: Google vs. Microsoft,” ended with a mention of the first Network Computer (NC, a term that Oracle has since trademarked). In the 1990s, Scott McNealy and Eric Schmidt (now running Google) talked up their notion that “the network is the computer.” The problem was that the kind of NC built by Sun, IBM and a few other firms at that time was another “idea ahead of its time.” In 1997, there was insufficient Internet bandwidth and “back-end” sophistication to make Web apps as powerful as the desktop OS and software options of the time.

“Diskless PCs”

Evidently, Google executives think Google’s Chrome OS of 2011 can compete with Windows and Mac OS X – but on an entirely different platform.

Web Wars: Chrome vs. Microsoft vs. Mac

Google envisions notebook-size, diskless PCs with a modest amount of built-in flash storage and a limited set of connectors (USB perhaps, audio probably not). The digital artists, film and TV editors, multimedia producers and other high-tech professionals that use iMac rentals are certainly not targets for Google’s NCs. They’re aiming for the enterprise sector, the corporate market where businesses spend billions.

All data will be saved in the cloud, and that’s where Google apps will run, too. After a “verified boot” to ensure that the OS hasn’t been altered, NC users will be presented with a browser/desktop view offering Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, Search and a Web store with third-party apps. Again, this is all great for accounting departments, customer service, administration, corporate communications and more – but it doesn’t offer you anything if your work requires an Xserve RAID to accommodate the digital media you’re crunching with a high-end AJA Io HD rentals.

Google’s first netbook – finally

According to a March 17 story at eWeekcom, Digitimes learned from various “unnamed industry sources” that PC maker Asus will launch a Chrome OS netbook in June. The company is evidently hedging its bets by saying it may use Google’s Android 3.0 platform instead. Asus is targeting a low price point for the new device, which gives us a perfect example for a “bottom-line” lesson.

While all these new high-tech tools carry us ever forward, cost-effectiveness and productivity gains are being made with faster processors (like the Xeons in our Mac Pro rentals) and cheap mass storage (hard drives, flash memory). Similar gains must be made on the delivery side of the equation (faster networks, more bandwidth) if the “Google model” is going to win out. There are some signs it’s starting to happen.

While we keep an eye on all that, we’re still here to help you through today’s bottlenecks and tomorrow’s accelerated deadlines. For post-production gear or some tailored trade show rentals, give our Account Executives a call or send an e-mail and they’ll be right on it for you,. Know what you need? Use the Quick Rental Quote form and we’ll get right on that for you, too.

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