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Acer To Launch Chrome OS Netbook Next Month 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-a-short-strange-road-it's-been dept.
Barence writes "Acer is preparing to launch devices based on Google's Chrome OS at next month's Computex trade show, according to reports. Multiple sources have apparently told VentureBeat that the company will show off devices at the Taipei show at the beginning of June. It doesn't specify what the devices are, although given that Chrome OS is primarily designed for low-powered laptops and Acer's status as the world's second biggest PC maker, it seems inconceivable that the devices won't be netbooks. Meanwhile, Google is considering implementing a Coverflow interface into Chrome OS. One design adheres fairly closely to Apple's template, and allows users to flip through applications and web pages with 'hotkeys and swiping gestures.' Favicons will be displayed beneath the pages, allowing users to click these and head straight to the application."
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Acer To Launch Chrome OS Netbook Next Month

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  • Does it run Linux?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      oy!

      Imagine a beowolf cluster of these!

      In Soviet Russia, Chrome OS' you!

      I for one welcome our netbook chrome OS robotic overlords.

      I forgot the rest.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        1. A car analogy
        2. A random meme
        3. ???
        4. Profit

        then end with Godwin...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Your approach to memes will not work. Here is why it wont work

        (x) Incomplete listing
        (x) I am too lazy to make more check-box statements

        (x) sorry dude, I just don't think it is going to work

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by mini me (132455)

      Yes. Linux isn't ready for the desktop, but maybe it is ready for the netbook?

  • Competition (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ltap (1572175) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:05PM (#32210176) Homepage
    This might actually succeed, given that most of the competition I've seen is either clunky XP or a low-powered version of Win 7.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      EEE netbooks used to ship with a Linux distro. You know what killed that? Returns. Joe User booting it up, braying "The hell? Where's my Windows?" and returning it. It got so that retail salesweasels were begging people not to buy them, because they got dinged for all the returns.

      Sure, me and thee don't want to pay a Windows tax - I'm writing this on an EEE with Ubuntu 10.04 - but me and thee are not a significant market.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by coniferous (1058330)
        Mod Parent up. 1) Joe Blow sees a cheap computer 2) Buys said computer. 3) Realises that he can't install msn messenger and SuperDupertexasholdem.exe on it. 4) Thinks that it's stupid and returns it. If people educated themselves on these magic boxes, there would be no need for tech people.
      • Re:Competition (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sznupi (719324) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:24PM (#32210550) Homepage

        Yeah, stories from one camp, apparently, claimed just that.

        But some manufacturers quickly stepped forward saying that their Linx netbooks don't have higher return rates at all.

        • by westlake (615356)

          But some manufacturers quickly stepped forward saying that their Linux netbooks don't have higher return rates at all.

          WalMart is the world's largest retailer.

          The pioneer of the 30-second warranty.

          The world's most aggressive deep discount retailer - and the lone American big box retailer who for the better part of ten years gave the Linux cheerleaders on the sidelines something real to shout about.

          WalMart dropped kicked the Linux netbook into the dumpster out back -
          and it was not for lack of trying.

          Today n

          • by sznupi (719324)

            US / North America went wrong. I haven't ever even seen a Walmart or however its few surviving international subsidiaries are called.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Culture20 (968837)

            Today not one of the 126 netbooks and laptops - sold under 13 brand names - runs Linux.
            Not one of the 75 desktops.
            Explain.
            Tell me what went wrong.

            You typed Walmart into the location bar instead of Dell? Notice how even Dell's Linux offerings cost *more* than the Windows ones. Someone with a lot of cash made some deals to own the netbook market (because they rightly saw that the determining factor was price). Since Walmart is _only_ about price, they dropped the "expensive" options. http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dndoan1&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19 [dell.com]

      • by lytles (24756)

        not sure about the distribution that the EEE used, but fiddled with my roommates ubuntu-based Dell netbook for a few days ... the ubuntu install was terrible. been using ubuntu for years. fuck, my parents have been using ubuntu for years. but with matt's netbook, i couldn't figure out how to do anything ... no idea how a windows user would have felt with it, but as a linux user, it sucked

        • Re:Competition (Score:4, Informative)

          by quantumplacet (1195335) on Friday May 14, 2010 @03:23PM (#32211564)

          Seconded. I've got a Mini9, hadn't used Ubuntu in a while before I got it. Something seemed off, and by off I mean crappy, couldn't figure out what it was until I ran apt-get dist-upgrade and it insisted that there were no upgrades, even though I was running 8.04 and 9.04 had already come out. Went poking around and found that apt was pointing to ubuntu.dell.com instead of ubuntu.com for packages. To make life even better, Dell hadn't touched their repos since they launched the Mini9. Eventually reformatted with Kubuntu Netbook Remix and the thing ran 100 times better.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sleepy (4551)

          That's because the "Ubuntu" netbook Dell sold was bastardized, and the OS couldn't be upgraded to regular Ubuntu packages (not unless you knew what you were doing).

          Linux done RIGHT is no more difficult to use than Windows. Period.

          I'm impressed with Android, and a few years back I used to love my Nokia N800 Internet tablet (great system, but Nokia obsoleted the OS far too quickly), Ubuntu Netbook and MeeGo distributions look promising and Android just kicks ass. These are all "Linux". I haven't tried or read

          • by Pax681 (1002592)
            maemo is on the N800 isn't it?

            obsolete? bloody hell..... someone better tell my N900 that it can't be running maemo!

            in fact.. does this mean my N900 runs on magic fairy dust? :P

            maemo is alive and well!!
          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            I gotta call bullshit, because I am a retailer and I have NEVER had windows completely shit itself and die because of an update. Ubuntu? Wireless, sound, graphics, networking, I had 4 machines, 3 desktops and a laptop, to learn Linux and see about offering it at my shop. I NEVER had Ubuntu not bork itself on an update.Never. It got to the point I looked at the updates notification as a "break Linux NOW!" button.

            So I understand why they disabled updates on the Dell netbooks. Because if you are a CS grad, or

        • It's the same as long as you don't use the netbook remix version. Imo, UNR is unnecessary.
      • Re:Competition (Score:5, Informative)

        by Insanity Defense (1232008) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:29PM (#32210620)

        EEE netbooks used to ship with a Linux distro. You know what killed that? Returns. Joe User booting it up, braying "The hell? Where's my Windows?" and returning it. It got so that retail salesweasels were begging people not to buy them, because they got dinged for all the returns.

        At the time this rumour started it was checked with ASUS who said that the rate of returns of Linux and Windows netbooks were the same.

        The whole nonsense started with a different netbook provider who delivered a Linux netbook with the WiFi and camera not working and then published the 4 to 1 return rate. This was then widely touted as being netbooks in general rather than just one minor league player who "fucked up" their Linux netbook.

        So please stop spreading this Microsoft propaganda.

      • The Dell Mini 9 was the same story. Fortunately for Dell's sales, the Mini 9 was/is incredibly easy to crackintosh, and the Ubuntu-equipped units were less expensive to come by.

        I have Meerkat running now on my Mini...so far so good.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ephemeriis (315124)

        EEE netbooks used to ship with a Linux distro. You know what killed that? Returns. Joe User booting it up, braying "The hell? Where's my Windows?" and returning it. It got so that retail salesweasels were begging people not to buy them, because they got dinged for all the returns.

        The problem wasn't that the things shipped with Linux instead of Windows.

        The problem was that the salesweasels either didn't know that, or didn't bother explaining it to the customers.

        I had a client at my last job that was absolutely convinced she needed a Dell mini-9. Thought it wold be terrific. Kept imagining all the ways it would be great to carry around a fully functional computer in her purse. Wanted me to put together a quote for one right away.

        I happened to have a mini-9 at the time, used it for

        • I explained to her that it shipped with a tiny SSD so she wouldn't really be able to store all her pictures on it... Explained that it had no CD-ROM drive... Explained that it was generally too slow to handle streaming Netflix and things like that... Had her try surfing and typing on it...

          modern netbooks have 250-320GB hard drives, stream netflix just fine, and have 90% full size keyboards (although they don't have dedicated numpads / arrow keys).

          still no optical drive ... which has limited impact since more and more people's video and music libraries are purely digital / streaming.

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            Chances are you won't want the CD drive all the time. So you can just use an external one.

            Netbooks haven't been about SSD drives since about 5 minutes after they were introduced.

            Some people just insist on perpetuating grossly out of date information.

          • The point of my post was not to point out the technical shortcomings of modern netbooks. It was to relate an anecdote that I felt was relevant to the discussion.

            Namely that I was informed about the product and also understood what my customer wanted, and didn't sell her a product that wouldn't meet her needs.

            Too many salespeople are just looking to sell a product. Those salespeople will get crap returned to them because it doesn't meet the needs of their customers.

            If your customer actually needs a netbook

      • Personally I love my little MSI netbook. Overclockable when on AC power and a strong battery to boot. I was using Ubuntu 9.10 netbook remix for awhile and have since upgraded to 10.04. Unfortunately it still requires CLI tweaking every now and again. It's pretty and fairly polished, but I still wouldn't trust it with my parents or less technologically savvy friends.
      • As others have noted this is not the case. What killed Linux on netbooks was two factors people not being sure what Linux was and MS strong arming manufacturers (and retailers) to push netbooks with an MS OS on them.
      • You just have to manage expectations correctly. The iPad, for instance, doesn't have this problem because Apple set the right expectations.

        If this is marketed as a regular computer, it won't succeed. If this is marketed as a way to get you online as quickly as possible with no fuss or fluff, then they'll be golden.

      • Joe User booting it up, braying "The hell? Where's my Windows?" and returning it.

        If that's the reason Joe User returned his netbook, doesn't that make Joe User a fucking retard? When I was at Best Buy, looking at a netbook as a quick replacement while I decided on my next real laptop, they had them out, demoing the computers and the operating systems. At one time I even saw a netbook running Linux being demoed.

        If Joe User returned his netbook because it didn't have Windows, it's because Joe User is computer- and consumer-stupid. It's right there, just begging you to try it out before

      • by Ltap (1572175)
        If the sales people were annoyed about people returning them, it's their fault for selling Linux netbooks to idiots. It's likely that the sales people didn't know what Linux was themselves, and the guy doing the buying just picked the cheaper one that had the same hardware specs.
    • And yet, after a brief stint where netbooks used Linux, nearly all of them (in the US anyway) have Windows pre-installed.

      Or, if you want a Linux netbook or laptop, you have to specifically hunt for it, often in the business section (or hide them behind volume licenses like HP does-- "We support Linux!... but not for you, pauper!").

      I think there should be less cowering in fear of liability/support cost and more alternatives that don't pad the dominant software corporation's bottom line because there effectiv

    • Too bad Acer has HORRIBLE hardware Quality Control/Customer Service.

      http://www.google.com/search?q=acer+mobo+failure [google.com]

      http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=acer+no+keyboard [google.com]

      And for those that want a citation of a sort...the numbers speak for themselves:

      http://www.customerservicescoreboard.com/Acer+Computers [customerse...eboard.com]

      And to make matters worse, they lied about it and mailed people back "replacement" MOBOs that were simply the broken ones other customers sent in for replacement, in order to buy time...until the warranti

  • by phantomcircuit (938963) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:09PM (#32210252) Homepage

    Please?

  • by sznupi (719324) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:11PM (#32210304) Homepage

    Why inconceivable? Since Acer already is big with netbooks, they don't have to prove much there.

    And considering that ChromeOS device could be just as well based on ARM chip (with many advantages of that route), it could as well be a new kind of devices, at least as far Acer is concerned (tablets? They do fit with "lack" of features of ChromeOS). Not saying this is what will happen...but inconceivable?

    • Why inconceivable? Since Acer already is big with netbooks, they don't have to prove much there.

      And considering that ChromeOS device could be just as well based on ARM chip (with many advantages of that route), it could as well be a new kind of devices, at least as far Acer is concerned (tablets? They do fit with "lack" of features of ChromeOS). Not saying this is what will happen...but inconceivable?

      You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Please explain how Acer showing anything other than netbooks is "incapable of being conceived, imagined, or considered, totally unlikely, unbelievable, unthinkable, impossible to comprehend". Go on.

  • Finally. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cromar (1103585) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:12PM (#32210316)
    Perhaps there will be real progress in UI design now that Google is putting its resources toward that goal. I hope windowing systems die soon. There has to be a better design than a metaphor to desks and file cabinets...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sznupi (719324)

      What past achievement makes you think Google can give UI design some "real progress"? (other than their love for spartan UIs, which doesn't really translate that well to general, multipurpose "computer" UI)

      Windowing systems a metaphor to desks and file cabinets? WTH? And actually...it is Google who bought recently very "desk and file cabinets"-like UI.

      • by cromar (1103585)

        What ... makes you think Google can give UI design some "real progress"?

        Billions of dollars and thousands of man-hours. If they are experimenting with novel UI design elements, as it says in TFS, it may be that they come up with something new and groundbreaking, or at least steal the best ideas from others (Apple) and improve on them.

        Windowing systems a metaphor to desks and file cabinets? WTH?

        LOL. First of all, the major UIs go so far as to call the "main screen" (or however you want to call it) the "desktop." Furthermore, windows are a metaphor for papers being moved around on that desktop. Hierarchical file systems are based on fi

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Pouring money at a problem will make new great things, got it. (and "stealing from others" doesn't go hand-in-hand with what you originally wrote, about Google pushing the state forward)
          How are their social networking efforts going?

          I think you are confused what "windowing system" stands for, nevermind that only part of them takes, of course, some concepts from RL...and modifies them greatly. All the while Google recently bought a very direct "desktop methapor" UI...

          • by cromar (1103585)
            I think you missed the "perhaps" in my original post. Yes, Google has the resources, and if they are interested, perhaps they will push UI design forward, etiher by hiring really great UI people, as they have hired bright minds in the past, or stealing Apple's ideas and improving them for netbook use.

            Modern UIs still have a lot of baggage from the desktop metaphor. Honestly, I don't see how windowing systems have changed fundamentally since that metaphor was in heavy usage, but we can agree to disagree.
        • Whatever things are called, do people really think of it as being a representation of a physical desktop & filing cabinets?

    • by mini me (132455)

      ChromeOS appears to be following the application-centric metaphor, much like the iPad, albeit with less consistency since the apps are web pages without strict interface guidelines. I wouldn't expect anything revolutionary from Google that you didn't already see on the iPhone three years ago.

      • by cromar (1103585)
        If the UI is on a netbook instead of a tablet (that isn't a PC) or a cellphone, that may be progress enough to get the ball rolling with other people following them.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I hear they're simplifying it down to just a full screen text field that you can simply input easy to learn control commands to do what you need.

    • Re:Finally. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:51PM (#32211000)

      I hope windowing systems die soon.

      We all have our complaints about windowing systems. It does indeed seem like we spend a fair amount of time just managing the windows (moving, resizing, etc.) rather than working. Like you, I'm pretty convinced that there has to be a better design out there. But I don't think it's the right strategy to throw-out windowing systems altogether, without a viable alternative to actually push towards. Despite all their warts, our modern GUIs are by now highly tuned and in fact do help us be productive.

      There has to be a better design than a metaphor to desks and file cabinets...

      I think our modern desktop metaphor isn't really mimicking desks and file cabinets in any meaningful way. Sure, the same terms are applied ("desktop", "folder", "file", etc.), but in reality the computer-objects bear little resemblance to the real-world objects. (You can't infinitely nest folders in the real world!) I think our GUI metaphors have abandoned any real-world resemblance that was slowing them down. (E.g. you can't arbitrarily resize a real-world sheet of paper on the fly, but it's easy to resize a GUI.)

      I'm not sure what the answer is (mostly just thinking out loud, here), but I think our time would be better spent refining the modern GUI, rather than throwing it all away and hoping that something fantastically better fills the void. Some ideas that spring to mind:
      1. Windows in a GUI are useful (e.g. to read from one and type into another) but managing all the windows is as much fun as shuffling paper on a real desk. What would help is far smarter layout algorithms. When a new window appears, its size and position should "make sense". For instance it should be in some way proportional to the amount of text within it. It should try to appear in areas that will not obscure existing content. A given document should re-open to the same position on screen as the last time you had it open (thereby taking advantage of human visual memory and habit-forming procedures). A GUI that shuffled all the windows around on you would probably be more annoying than helpful. But some amount of predictive behavior would be nice (e.g. tossing a window towards one edge of the screen could dock it there cleanly.)
      2. GUIs should let users easily define tasks rather than forcing them to manually open all the windows/documents associated with a given workflow. So when I open the "banking" task, my financial spreadsheets should open (and appear with the size/position I always set them to), my Firefox window should appear in the right place with the right websites all open, my calculator app should pop open in the upper-right-hand-corner, and so on... It should be easier for users to define sets of tasks and have those states reappear when required. This all boils down to: the size, position, and state of all the windows on-screen actually conveys useful information to the user! Don't throw that information away!
      3. Each app should have a hidden backend database where every command and help topic (with appropriate index terms and tags/keywords and synonyms) is stored. If you can't remember where the button or menu item for a given task is, it should be trivial to type that into a persistent "help/do-stuff" bar and have the option simply appear, ready to be clicked/invoked. For apps with tons of options (MS Word, Photoshop, etc.) this would make it trivial to find the option you want. (Just type "red eye correction" or "make sentence all caps" or whatever.) If done properly, this would also allow users to interact with applications in a faster text-command mode (anyone who has used Firefox's Ubiquity [mozillalabs.com] will know what I'm talking about.)

      These are just the ideas that have occurred to me (repeatedly) and may not be the best ideas out there. Overall my point is that I agree we need better GUI-interaction styles... but that I think we can use the existing windowing systems as good starting points for further refinement.

    • Perhaps there will be real progress in UI design now that Google is putting its resources toward that goal. I hope windowing systems die soon. There has to be a better design than a metaphor to desks and file cabinets...

      Google's idea of an application UI on Chrome OS is a web app running inside Chrome.

  • I hope that this Chrome OS features a toggle for Desktop Effects. It seems silly to have a low-power, battery dependent device dedicating resources to window management ballet.
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      I seem to recall that when so-and-so did the breakdown of the Apple A4, they calculated that further power savings from the CPU would only be able to achieve limited effects on battery life, as the rest of the system board / the wireless / the display were eclipsing its usage. If Acer can pull off something remotely similar, the "turn shinies off" tactic might be less effective than you would think.
      • Yeah, it also depends on how complex the desktop effects are, I'm sure. What's involved in iPhone OS? They map the window as a texture to a flat plane, and then do some quick low-quality scaling and rotation of the plane. Maybe there's some transparency effects here and there? For a modern computer, even the computers we call "smart phones", those are not particularly complex calculations. And as you mention, the display and wireless networking are going to account for a large percentage of the battery

    • I hope that this Chrome OS features a toggle for Desktop Effects. It seems silly to have a low-power, battery dependent device dedicating resources to window management ballet.

      I'm not as convinced as you are that it would result in significant battery savings. I don't even know if those effects are run on the CPU or GPU for given hardware or how much power they consume. Often I see people wanting developers to "strip down" OS features for power or CPU or RAM savings in cases where such modifications are not even noticeable in terms of performance benefits.

      What I hope is that Google and Acer work together to do real testing to find the best battery life and overall usability for e

    • I was gonna say.

      I have a netbook that, when only barely running windows and chrome, still manages to be slow. Coverflow seems memory-intensive and like it's the sort of thing that would best be done on the GPU anyway, which for a cheap computer is not going to be very powerful.

      If you're keeping--let's look at that screenshot--ten or more rendered pages in video memory at the same time, noting that each is probably at least as big as the screen, you're probably beyond the netbook market. You could certainl

  • Big News ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by foobsr (693224) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:20PM (#32210492) Homepage Journal
    Acer Plans a Million Chrome OS Netbooks, New E-Reader

    Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/acer-plans-a-million-chrome-os-netbooks-new-e-reader/#ixzz0nvf3Zfpt [wired.com]

    from January 25, 2010

    CC.
  • But.... (Score:2, Funny)

    by jaryd (1702090)
    will it run linux??

    :: facepalm ::
  • I know netbooks are cute and all, but you can get a real laptop for less than $400. New Egg is selling an AMD 2.1 Ghz, 3 GB ram, 160 GB HD for $380. And, what do you know, it runs Linux.
    • by Daengbo (523424)

      I don't see any that aren't Win7 or WinXP. Link?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 0123456 (636235)

      New Egg is selling an AMD 2.1 Ghz, 3 GB ram, 160 GB HD for $380. And, what do you know, it runs Linux.

      Can it run for 8+ hours and fit in my pocket?

    • by codepunk (167897)

      I bought a acer netbook about a month and a half ago and could not be happier with it. The battery lasts forever and it is really convienent to carry around. This thing never leaves my side, besides the hardware specs on it are not far away from what you have listed anyhow.

  • Everyone talks about Chrome OS, but has anyone actually used it? Until we get to play with it, how do we know what it will do?
  • by rwa2 (4391) *

    Wake me up when they release a Google Maps Mobile / Navigator client that runs on a netbook / tablet with a decent sized screen. That is all I've really been waiting for.

    • wetab.mobi

    • Leave me some coffee in the pot - I'm waiting for a version of Google maps that can run offline. And yes, before anyone chips in, I realise I may need to pre-cache the areas I'm going to.

      • The best GPS mapping software I've found so far for my eeepc is TangoGPS:

        http://www.tangogps.org/gps/cat/Screenshots [tangogps.org]

        It has some pretty good pre-caching tools, and even some rudimentary routing. But no search and nav tools, which made for some pretty neat marginally-pre-planned travel experiences back when I had a Blackberry + Google Maps.

        I've had limited success running Google Earth on my eeepc, mostly because their real-time GPS support blows (even back when I was a paying customer for NV Keyhole Plus)

  • if they did that with linux, what's to stop them with chrome?

  • of fliptych. It is used be several non apple application

    The writer doesn't seem to know that.

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