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Will the Mobile Web Kill Off the App Store? | Gadget Lab | Wired.com December 19, 2009

Posted by pannet in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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The debate over the longevity of native software continues. Mozilla, creator of Firefox, claims that its new browser for smartphones will contribute to the death of smartphone app stores.

Scheduled to begin appearing on devices at the end of this year, the Firefox mobile browser, code-named Fennec, will be packed with features to make it the closest thing yet to a real, desktop-class browser. (Wired.com’s Mike Calore has a detailed look at Fennec.) Mozilla claims it will have the fastest JavaScript engine of any mobile browser, allowing developers to produce HTML- and JavaScript-coded apps for Fennec rather than for multiple smartphone platforms, such as iPhone OS, Google Android or Windows Mobile.

“In the interim period, apps will be very successful,” said Jay Sullivan, vice president of Mozilla’s mobile division, in an interview with PC Pro. “Over time, the web will win because it always does.”

Web proponents such as Mozilla and Google dream that internet standards will enable any app to run on any device, just as Java proponents touted a “write once, run anywhere” vision in the 1990s. Similarly, Adobe’s Flash emerged as a cross-platform environment for creating animations, games and apps for the web. But many consumers and developers have complained that Java and Flash exhibit bugs, performance problems and security vulnerabilities, among other issues. And Java’s promises of universality didn’t quite work out, because different implementations of the Java virtual machine (not to mention wildly varying hardware capabilities) mean that, even today, Java coders need to rework their apps for each target device.

But web proponents maintain that the wide acceptance of next-generation internet standards, particularly HTML5, will win out where Java failed.

It’s a tempting vision. Currently, when deciding whether to buy a Mac or a PC, an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3, or an iPhone or a Droid, you need to consider which applications you’ll be able to run on each one. If programmers head in the direction of the web, then ideally you’ll be able to gain access to any application regardless of the computer or smartphone you own.

Google is attempting to lead the web movement. The search giant is pushing its web-only regime with Chrome OS, its browser-based operating system for netbooks that will run only web applications. Also, in July, Google’s engineering vice president and developer evangelist Vic Gundotra said in a conference that mobile app stores have no future.

“Many, many applications can be delivered through the browser and what that does for our costs is stunning,” Gundotra was quoted in a Financial Times report. “We believe the web has won and over the next several years, the browser, for economic reasons almost, will become the platform that matters and certainly that’s where Google is investing.”

But iPhone developers and analysts polled in July by Wired.com explained the problems with current web technologies, and some highlighted the merits of native-app architecture.

Interpet analyst Michael Gartenberg noted that many iPhone apps are a combination of native and web technologies, because many apps download or share data through the internet. He said it’s beneficial for the apps to be native, because they’re programmed to take full advantage of the iPhone’s hardware.

“It’s odd that Google feels the need to position as one versus the other,” Gartenberg said in July. “That’s last century thinking…. It’s not about web applications or desktop applications but integrating the cloud into these applications that are on both my phone and the PC. Ultimately, it’s about offering the best of both worlds to create the best experience for consumers — not forcing them to choose one or the other.”

With Firefox’s mobile browser rolling out soon, we have yet to see how consumers and developers react to Mozilla’s attempt to spark a web-only exodus.

via Will the Mobile Web Kill Off the App Store? | Gadget Lab | Wired.com.

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Say Hello to the Google Tablet December 19, 2009

Posted by pannet in Mobile & Gadgets.
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There’s a hot web tablet coming next year, perhaps you’ve heard rumors about it? The tablet will be a simple slate that is designed to do one thing well, surf the web. It will be thin and light, and the 10-inch screen will sit in a package that is a no-frills design. It will be a simple slate device, comfortable to use in the hands for hours of tapping into the Internet.

The tablet will not run a “full” OS, that would be overkill. It will be designed from the ground up to work with the web. It will not be expected to replace full compute functionality for everyone, it will just do the web. It will do the web flawlessly, however, as that will be the entire purpose of this web tablet. It will leverage all web technology well, from Flash to HTML5, and that will open up a magical web experience. This tablet will not be coming from Apple as you might have thought, it will be coming from Google.

This new device will not run Intel processors, that would be overkill. It will rather be based on ARM technology, as that will provide all of the oomph needed to run the web stuff. It will have Wi-Fi and integrated 3G, as that will allow it to stay connected to the web all the time, using the fastest pipe available. It will be connected to the Google cloud, and the guts of the tablet, which are basically the same as that in smartphones, will mean it will be getting email and other pushed information even when sitting to the side.

The connection is important, as a good web tablet is a cloud computer through and through. All data will reside in the cloud, all apps will be web apps. Local storage will be kept at a minimum as it won’t be needed. The interface will be designed around working with the web, and it will be optimized for touch. It will not be a smartphone interface blown up to fit the bigger screen, it will be designed from the ground up to fit the display.

The slate will provide a great window into all of the major social networks that are popular. It will be able to visit any web site and deliver a great browsing experience. The philosophy behind the design will center around the understanding that most of the user’s needs for the tablet will center around the web, and it will do that as well as any computer can.

If this sounds like the Google Chrome OS that is coming next year, then you catch on quickly. Google is going to set the mobile world on fire next year with the introduction of Chrome, and a tablet is the perfect vehicle to showcase its strengths. I believe the smart folks at Google will single-handedly bring credibility to the smartbook genre, as Chrome netbooks will be smartbooks by their very design. They won’t be called smartbooks, they will simply be Google Computers. Google won’t be content to stay with the notebook form factor, as it is a simple jump to a tablet form.

A slate makes sense on so many levels that I believe Google is already thinking about one. The constant buzz about an Apple tablet, and with the strange situation surrounding the CrunchPad/ JooJoo, demonstrates the interest in a web tablet. Google already has everything in place to produce one based on the Chrome OS, and produce one better than anyone else. Such a Google ChromePad would be aimed at distributing through phone carriers with data plans, and could be produced cheaply enough to make them virtually free with typical subsidies.

The Google Tablet would be sold in major retail outlets, in addition to carrier distribution. Imagine how many tablets would be moved in a very short time if consumers could walk in Walmart and pick one up for free, or nearly free, and be online in just a few minutes. It won’t take long for most people to realize that most everything they do outside the work environment is now centered around the web, making a Google Tablet the most useful thing they own.

We may see a tablet from Apple, if the constant rumors pan out. But an Apple tablet will be expensive, making it a niche product. Google can make deals with anyone they want to build their tablet, and cheaper is better than expensive. The Chrome OS core will straddle the smartphone/ computer fence, providing a richer user experience than an iPhone OS tablet from Apple. Google has everything in place to do this, and do it right. I think they’ll take advantage of that situation.

via Say Hello to the Google Tablet.

// More info why Google should make a tablet to be found here at gizmodo

Google’s Chrome for Mac has arrived | VentureBeat December 9, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities.
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chrome_macGoogle has now launched Google Chrome for Mac. Of course it’s still in beta testing, but at least it’s now out the door.

The delay in the Mac version of the Google Chrome web browser was a big disappointment for Google. Co-founder Sergey Brin stated this publicly at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco.

Luckily that wait ends today. Mac users can now surf the web using a faster and lighter browser, compared to Firefox. However, unlike Safari, Chrome doesn’t have a toolbar. So you would have to familiarize yourself with the complete lack of buttons at the top. The Mac version ships with themes right out of the box. So if customization is your thing, Chrome won’t disappoint you.

In addition to launching Chrome for Mac users, Google has also turned the switch on Google extensions for Windows and made them available for everyone. Previously, extensions were just available to developers. Extensions or plug-ins were one area where Chrome seriously lacked Firefox. I, for one, seriously missed the possibility to tweak Chrome and extend it to my liking, like the way I used to do with Firefox. Some of the popular extensions include Google Mail Checker, Bubble Translate, Xmarks for Chrome Beta, Google Reader, and Chromed Bird.

via Google’s Chrome for Mac has arrived | VentureBeat.

Google Chrome OS To Launch Within A Week November 13, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities.
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Google’s Chrome OS project, first announced in July, will become available for download within a week, we’ve heard from a reliable source. Google previously said to expect an early version of the OS in the fall. […]

via Google Chrome OS To Launch Within A Week | TechCrunch.com

Google: You too could win millions in stock November 3, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities.
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The company threw open its doors Monday to the engineering community Monday, announcing that it granted a Founders’ Prize – “a multimillion-dollar stock bonus” – to the team that developed Google Chrome. “(The) future is shaped by small teams of creative people who want to make a difference. We’re on the hunt for these kind of people – let us know if you think you’re one of them,” wrote Alan Eustace, senior vice president for engineering and research at Google. […]

via Google: You too could win millions in stock | Relevant Results – CNET News

Five Reasons Google Chrome OS Will Fail July 9, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities.
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As smart and popular as Google may be, the success of Chrome OS is not a fait accompli. Sometimes the smartest and most popular kid at school simply falls on his face. Google Chrome OS could very well turn out to be that kid.

Will Chrome OS be the promising upstart that fails to thrive in the real world? It’s much too early to tell, but here are five reasons that Chrome OS could fail

  1. Netbooks aren’t the world
  2. Microsoft Can Shoot to Kill
  3. Google Docs is the best they can do
  4. Chrome isn’t a “real” operating system

Read more over at Five Reasons Google Chrome OS Will Fail – LinuxWorld

Introducing the Google Chrome OS July 8, 2009

Posted by Matthias Kiefer in Internet & Communities.
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It’s been an exciting nine months since we launched the Google Chrome browser. Already, over 30 million people use it regularly. We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we’re announcing a new project that’s a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.

[…]

via Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS.

Google to advertise its Chrome browser on TV May 9, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities.
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Google didn’t advertise its way to becoming the most popular search engine in the world, but it has since shown more willingness to pay for some of its newer products. Case in point is Chrome, the web browser it began rolling out last fall — ads for Chrome are going on TV, starting this weekend.

The ad, embedded below, will run on Google’s TV Ads platform, a remnant ad network for network television. Google has already been introducing professionally-created videos to promote Chrome on the web, designed for distribution on YouTube and anywhere else. […]

via Google to advertise its Chrome browser on TV » VentureBeat