Acer Planning Dual Boot For All Dual Core Netbook Models

Rumor has it that Acer is planning to make dual boot a standard feature on all of their dual core netbook models. And that dual boot includes a Windows 7 install sitting beside an Android install of all things. If it was some other distro of Linux like MeeGO, Jolicloud, Ubuntu Netbook or even the newly releases SmeeGol, — then things could’ve been slightly different.

Continue reading Acer Planning Dual Boot For All Dual Core Netbook Models

Eric Schmidt Says Nexus II And Google Branded Chrome Netbooks Won’t Happen

Looks like Google [NASDAQ:GOOG] is finally coming to their senses. They cannot sell hardware and they are better off making great software. Of course, it is not like the Nexus One flopped. But we all saw how bad Google was at managing the whole thing about selling and the whole thing was a mess for both parties. Imagine the kind of mess they can get into if they actually try to sell Chrome OS netbooks at a subsidized price. Over all, it is pretty clear that Google should not do this and Eric Schmidt agrees. Only, he says that the company probably wouldn’t need it.

Recently, Schmidt gave a statement saying that there will actually be no Nexus II or Google branded Chrome OS netbooks. According to  him — the Nexus One was meant to serve one single purpose and that was to stimulate the Android manufacturers. Google introduced a new smartphone scenario with Android — one party supplying the OS to smarpthone manufacturers. It is similar to what has happened in the Microsoft [NASDAQ:MSFT] ecosystem for a long time but smartphone manufacturers weren’t used to this.

With the Chrome OS, Google is not breaking any industrial mould. They are changing the way the main OS works, yes but not the way this industry works. So Google shouldn’t need to spur on the market for making various different and compelling Chrome OS netbooks. Eric did say that Google might be looking into partnering with other manufacturers (like they did with HTC), again adding that Google probably won’t need to in this case.

Chrome OS netbooks are still going to be slightly different from the usual models. Google places hardware restrictions for any netbook that uses Chrome OS. It will still be free for anyone. And the hacker community will probably be out with a hack for everyone else in a matter days. But as for the Google Netbook.


Google Planning To Add Multitouch To Chrome OS [?]

chrome_os_logo2-thumb-550x308-20421There has always been speculations about Chrome OS coming on tablets in multitouch versions and by now it is the logical thing for Google to do if they want to stay relevant. The rumor about a Google tablet was floated along with the claim that HTC will be making it. Now it seems like Google does have something in the development. Why else would a senior official get nervous when asked about multitouch in Chrome OS and fumble while giving an evasive answer.

During an event at Google HQ, Senior Product Manager of Search, Anders Sandholm, was asked this question directly and in reply he said – “I can’t… I mean… right now we are targeting netbooks, that’s what we’re focused on, but I expect it to work well… we expect it to target everything up to desktop computers. Chrome OS will be built for a specific hardware setup.” He couldn’t dropped a broader hint that something was indeed up in that area.

After all, it is clear that Google has to go up against the iPad like all other manufacturers who want to sell companion computing devices. And these companion devices are increasingly taking the shape of flat, touchscreen enabled slate devices. So to compete, Google has to step in against the Apple iPad sooner or later. In the mean time, they are focussed on coming to netbooks as fast as possible.

The Chrome OS is all set to be a unique approach to computing whereby everything is relegated to the cloud and all you need is a the Chrome OS device and the Internet. But while Google makes the Internet a great place to work and live by, Apple’s offering is right now the most polished and personal way to interact with that same Internet. So this should be an interesting fight to watch.

Acer Goes Into 2010 With Massive Plans

The Current Aspire One Models From Acer

The Current Aspire One Models From Acer

Acer has plans for 2010 and it has plans to make it big. Or so it will seem from the number of things that they are planning to do this year. Starting with an eBook reader, something that almost everyone’s doing these days, they will go on to making a Chrome OS netbook, setting up a cross-platform application store and probably making the large number of mainstream computer models that they already make.

This being a netbook blog, I will focus on the netbook bit here but you really have to give it to the company for playing catch up like this! App store and eBook in one fell sweep! Of course, they are not going to release them both simultaneously but they sure have their fingers in a lot of pies.

Acer’s plant to launch a Chrome OS netbook should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who knows what the Chrome OS is. Not only is Google’s netbok OS free but just Android it will be developed and maintained by Google while being open to developers just like the Android. Seeing what Android has done to mobile companies like Motorola, it is obvious that Acer would like to get in on this.

In fact, as more time goes by, I fully expect to report Chrome OS announcements from all the major companies. That is because they are already making hardware that is not selling very well and if changing it around a bit to meet Google’s specifications can help them sell more, why not? After all, this promises to be a new platform and this might mean sales to individuals who otherwise would not have bought a new or a second netbook-class device.

The cross-platform app store that Acer is planning will have both Windows Mobile and Android apps when it launches and then in due course it will carry Chrome OS apps (the ones that you need to download, I presume). Details such as timing are a little vague right now but it is definitely coming this year according to them.

Google Netbook Specs Leaked

chromebookGoogle is making a special netbook (or two) for its Chrome OS’ hardware debut later this year (hopefully) and that is not a very good secret. But the actual hardware specs for this netbook have so far been out of reach for most of us. Yes, we do know that Google really wants only the fastest possible hardware and hence has done away with slow old HDD’s in favor of the fast and new SSD’s. But beyond that, questions like what powers the entire device were far from being answered.

Now however, it seems like they we have a leak that predicts what Google has been up to with the hardware. News resource IBTimes reports that there has indeed been a leak of the Google netbook and they are saying that the rumored device will be powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra chip.

Those unfamiliar with Tegra just need to know that Tegra is NVIDIA’s System on a Chip that is meant to rival Intel’s Atom. It is capable of running full HD content and such things on a miniscule amounts of power that is only marginally higher than Atom, thus bettering Atom on quite a few counts. However, it has failed to gain much traction in the market.

Until now it seems. If Google is really interested in Tegra, NVIDIA is surely celebrating with champagne right now. However, the report also says that Google is going to use ARM CPU, so everything won’t be supplied by NVIDIA. So overall, Google knows what it wants and it is speed without sucking on power.

Other features will apparently include 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM, HD ready 10.1” TFT multitouch display. In fact, this could easily be turned into the Google tablet that is being rumored. After all, these are all components used on mobile devices like the Zune HD. The schedule for Chrome OS device is around Q4 2010.

JoliCloud Is Now On Pre-Beta

The netbook OS that seeks to take on the Google Chrome OS — JoliCloud — has finally launched its last version before going into Beta. This pre-Beta release improves on quite a few phases over the alpha version. Early adopters and testers have commented that this version corrects a lot of minor UI errors that were making life hard for users.

The new version also adds support for Intel GMA 500 graphics, which is definitely a good thing. There is now an express installer that makes it easy to install the OS from Windwos, a la Ubuntu. The OS now boots faster than before (actual time varies from machine to machine) and it also plays better with videos. If you happen to have GMA 500 on your system, it will let you play 720p out of the box.

App installation has also been tweaked out a bit in order to makes things easier for the times when you want to install apps. The whole OS works through  the cloud and hence the interaction and the integration with the cloud is really important. The pre-beat also upgrades the Linux kernel to the latest version, ensuring that the system is as up to date as possible. And finally, if you do not like Jolicloud you can uninstall it as easily as installing — all with a click.

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So can you use Jolicloud right now as your primary OS? Unfortunately, the pre-beta tag itself should’ve been enough to tell you that you cannot and you should not. The thing is not rough around edges, it lacks those edges right now. Only the barebones and some muscle is in. The final skin needs more time. But the way this is shaping up is really full of potential. If Google does take over the world, this may be one of the alternatives that save our (digital) lives.

Acer Plans First Chrome OS Netbook

The Current Aspire One Models From Acer

Acer has become the first ever company to go on record saying that they are looking into Google’s Chrome OS with the intention to manufacture a device for it. If it sticks to its words, the company will likely manufacture the first ever Chrome OS netbook.

Chrome OS is a special OS being developed by Google and it is currently meant solely for netbooks. It is a Linux-based OS but it is different from all the hitherto existing OS’. It is a browser-based OS where everything is controlled and done through the Chrome browser. There are no native applications and nothing is stored onboard except the bootloader, the OS and the settings. This ensures a secure environment and a speedy one too.

All applications on Chrome OS will be web applications, starting with Google’s own array of web apps like Gmail, Docs, Wave, etc. Google has promised to monitor web apps for its OS to weed out the malicious content. The OS is currently available for developers and a package is available for download.

Although the OS is free and open source , the finished product will not be available for download and it will not install on any and every netbook. Google intends to do the same thing Apple does – control the hardware and the software. Google will be deciding the hardware that will run the OS. It has already done away with HDDs in favor of SSDs so that the OS remains speedy. Google will be responsible for all the updates maintenance. So the use is absolved of all duties. With everything online and nothing being saved on the computer, there’s nothing to maintain anyway.

Whatever little is downloaded via Google Gears will be maintained automatically. So manufacturers will have a cheap laptop to sell that takes care of itself, boots extremely fast and is very secure. What better device to push to the masses looking to connect to the Internet wherever they are.

Jolicloud Tries To Best Chrome OS Boot Time

Jolicloud is a special Linux lightweight OS that is meant to run on netbooks. It shares some common aspects of a netbook OS – bare essentials, Internet focused, etc. It aims to be extremely well integrated with online social networks and other online services so that user can have a great experience out of the box.

In fact most netbooks OS’ try to ensure that nothing is missing from the OS that may be required for regular use by the average user. But that also means a lot of development legwork and that requires a strong team and vision.

Google’s Chrome OS team might have a stellar team of engineers and they may have all the press but the Jolicloud OS’ small team of developers have decided that they are not going to be another also ran netbook OS.

The developers have been working hard recently and they now have a video to show for it. As with any netbook OS, boot time is extremely crucial to Joilcloud’s success and they have made significant progress on that count.

The video was shared by the developers through twitter and it shows Jolicloud going from power on to login in 13 seconds flat on an Asus Eee PC 901. This is considerably better than what Chrome OS has been doing. But it is likely that Chrome OS will beat this easily enough.

Remember that Chrome OS is getting rid of almost everything and it will run on hardware decided by Google. So extremely tight integration will allow it to do without a lot of things that usual OS’ need to go through.

However, Jolicloud has been shaping up quite nicely and the OS can become quite a with the mainstream.

Chrome OS Hits Developers

chrome_os_logo2-thumb-550x308-20421Google has finally released the Chrome OS but only for the developers. It is currently available for download for anyone who is interested in building the OS themselves. That’s because the download only provides the binaries and not a ready-installable version. In fact, that will actually never happen.

That’s because Google intends to strictly control the hardware configuration on which Chrome OS runs. The OS also eliminates low-performance hardware components like the hard disk drive. It will use only SSDs instead.

Moves like these are prompted by Google’s overall vision for this new OS, which can be summed up in three major goals – speed, simplicity and reliability.

To achieve extra speed, Chrome OS runs on a custom built Linux environment that is stripped clean of anything but the bare essentials. On top of this we have only one native application running and that is the Chrome browser. So in all practicality the browser is the OS.

Once the users boot, they will be on the browser, ready to get online. Boot time is being targeted as 7 seconds or less. Every application that the Chrome OS will ever run will be a web application like Gmail, Google Docs, Wave, etc. Yes, those are what web applications are and there are many more such sophisticated web apps ones online that replace things like Photoshop, Illustrator, desktop 3D games, etc.

Simplicity is in the minimalist design of the OS. This is something that the OS directly inherits from Google, along with the love for speed. There is nothing that the user has to do except use a Chrome OS device. Everything else, like maintenance, updating, virus protection, etc. is taken care of by Google.

It is coming in the second half on 2010 as pre-installed on netbook devices from Google’s partner companies. Google’s long term plan includes a desktop OS as well.

Google Chrome OS Rumored To Launch This Month

chrome_os_logo2-thumb-550x308-20421Techcrunch has published a report in which they claim to have it from reliable sources that the Google Chrome OS is going to come out next week. But didn’t Google say that the OS is due sometime in the middle of next year? This is way too early for even an ahead of schedule release.

However, how Google put it back then is where the trick lies. Google said that the first devices running the Chrome OS will be available some time in the second half of the year 2010. What they said nothing about is when the first versions of the OS will be made public. And we have to keep in mind that Google has a thing for beta-testing products with the public for unnaturally long time-periods.

With that in mind, it is not unreasonable to think that Google will be making the OS public sometime soon so that the first release worthy version will be ready in time for next year’s launch target.

The report also notes that drivers are likely to be the main problem that will cause problems during the initial testing. Apparently, Google engineers have been working on building hardware drivers for the Chrome OS and so are the hardware makers. Over all, there is a lot of interest that surrounds this particular OS and it is no doubt one of the most anticipated projects in recent times.

The first reactions to the OS are not very easy to predict. It will likely be in very early beta, so experiences are going to vary from stellar to down right unworkable thanks to the myriad device configurations that it will be used with. But Google is likely to move swiftly through those initial stages to make the OS mature faster.