Things you cannot do with a Cloud Desktop

POSTED IN m2m Blog, News 17.12.2010

Google Cr-48 has created some news already. The idea is to have a lightweight laptop that boots from the network, doesn’t store any data locally and lets you live in the cloud, desktop-wise. That’s good news, isn’t it? Well, in theory it is. The practice looks a lot different. Face it, you don’t have quality Internet access everywhere. You may find 3G in cities, but more often than not your mobile Internet access will drop to 2G leaving you with ISDN speed (128 kbit/s). If you’re lucky you may have a Wi-Fi network nearby, but these are often locked down in terms of access or quality. Finally there’s the fading net neutrality which means that your ISP may soon charge extra for booting your fancy Chrome OS (it’s content delivered by Google after all).

So, what’s the problem? Well, here’s a list of things you cannot do with your shiny Cloud OS:

  • You cannot work offline. No network, no work. True, most of us need Internet access for working, but right now I can work offline without problems – because I can boot without network and have all the software I need.
  • You cannot share your phone’s data connection with a USB tether. This means you won’t get online with your Cr-48 while you can get online easily with our cell phone.
  • You cannot use any file type you want. Google determines which file types can be opened, viewed and accessed. Right know this is .doc,.pdf.html and various image file types. Amazing, isn’t it?
  • You cannot access and manage USB storage devices. Your USB port is for mouse, Internet dongle and keyboard. No USB drives, no iPad, no Android phones, no USB sticks, nothing.
  • You cannot watch high-quality streaming video. The author of the source article tried, but it doesn’t work.

It seems that having a “100% Web-powered” laptop doesn’t make sense right now. Your computer has basically all the advantages of a full-frontal lobotomy. The only benefit is a certain coolness factor. Get a decent laptop, get a GNU/Linux operating system, use online storage such as Ubuntu One and you have much more than Cr-48 has to offer.

More on: Chrome OS: 10 things you can (and can’t) do with the Google PC

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