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Toshiba joins the Chrome OS brigade

This is one more minor addition to my ‘Going fully online’ series where I chart my experiences with Google’s Chromebook from a user’s point of view, just as Google’s Chromebook at last seems to be getting traction - the Toshiba launch being a further proof-point.

Why Google? you ask. Why the Chromebook?

In fact, while the Chromebook is the vehicle, the destination is really the Cloud - it’s just that Google is the most prominent enabler of the transition from limited, local processing (where I attach my screen and keyboard to a tiny PC), to online working where I attach myself to a data centre (or two).

This was where computing started out - terminal to host. But as the computers got more powerful and the applications became more demanding, the available network technology didn’t keep pace (thanks to telcos being government departments) and computer users started thinking in terms of decentralising - first to mini, departmental computers (where terminals could be attached reasonably locally) and then to PCs where first no communication was needed at all (except maybe a dial-up modem).

Once the tide was out, it turned and started to come back in again - first local area networks were built around servers and then the Internet joined the PCs/terminals to the big computers once again. But crucially, this time, using computer network technology (Ethernet and IP).

To my mind we’re completing a circle here, but it’s one that telcos should embrace because it puts the network and its abilities front and centre for the IT industry. The Cloud is where it’s at and the Cloud needs networking…. vast amounts of it. Step forward the network operator.

And the consumer device manufacturer, of course. In this case Toshiba. It has announced a $279.99 Chromebook, slightly more expensive that the opposition - Samsung, Acer, HP and (just announced) LG.

The Toshiba Chromebook is weighs 3.3 pounds, is 0.8 of an inch thick and sports a also sporting a 13.3 inch screen. - the first Chromebook of this size. It has a Haswell-based Intel Celeron processor, manages nine hours of battery life, 2GB of RAM and a 16GB hard drive.

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