The OS Battle is coming to your… kitchen?

by David on December 15, 2009

Last month I wrote about Google’s Chrome OS and how it might give Windows a run for its monopolistic money. I received some criticism for such musings.

It looks like Chrome OS is a cross between a souped-up Web browser and a watered-down OS. With the lack of a harddrive, users must rely on The Cloud for both applications and file storage. That means security concerns and subscriptions for everything. Kind of like our phones.

That got me thinking about the big debate ranging between the iPhone and Android. One has to be better than the other. Or is Blackberry better? I have friends who absolutely love their Crackberries. That means it’s better, right?

Is there such a thing as better?

Wrong. Technology often is better for one individual over another. Rarely is a technology right for everyone.

In the consumer OS world (let’s ignore servers as none of us really does much with them knowingly) there is Windows and Mac OS is still screaming “Me too!”. Linux never made a dent. Windows, it seems, it right for just about everyone. Only, it is wrong for just about everyone and we suffer through it. Microsoft is a great marketing machine and managed to win with the lesser of two products. Then again, VHS beat Betamax and I’m sure we can list many others where the inferior product or service won. (Thank God Coke still beats Pepsi in sales even if it lost the Pepsi Challenge prompting the heinous introduction of New Coke.)

Windows tries to be everything to everyone. Statistically speaking, you are reading this on either a desktop or laptop running Windows. I’m typing on a laptop running Windows 7. [Did you notice that in the last 14 years Microsoft went 88 versions backwards?] Maybe you have a tablet PC. Or maybe you have a netbook that is using Windows XP because netbooks can’t run Windows Vista and just started getting Windows 7 Starter. [Author's note: Windows 7 should be a free upgrade to Vista as it is mostly a necessary bugfix for a misguided release.]

Microsoft Home

Several years ago Microsoft hauled around the Microsoft Home booth to trade shows. It was a little cool. I think it was based on Bill Gates’ mansion and all of the technology in his home.

At the heart of it was Windows Media Center. Your PC was supposed to be adjacent to your TV and stereo, really be at the heart of it all, in control of your entertainment center and even your lights, HVAC, etc. Do you or any of your friends have that set up yet? I didn’t think so.

Your Kitchen

The title of this article promised that I would tie the OS battle to your kitchen and I don’t want to disappoint my loyal readers.

Google’s Chrome OS is wimpy. Microsoft’s Windows is bloated. As long as Moore’s Law holds and app developers build everything for Windows, I’ll go with a bloated OS on my main productivity device. I spend a little extra for more RAM to handle the bloat. [I also need to have Windows to test sites the way most users experience them.]

So what do I need to run my house? It sure isn’t Windows. Windows can’t even run my smartphone. [Don't get me started on Windows Mobile. (Sorry, Randy.)] I need a light OS that can handle video display including streaming over the Internet, radio and other audio, photo albums, telephony (VOIP, video or landline) with my voicemail (can you say Google Voice?), my contacts, calendar, recipes, Twitter, Facebook, sports scores, news, art, etc. Maybe it will even control the climate and lighting in my house. I might be able to call to have it turn on my settings in the house and open the garage door for me.

I want that in my kitchen. I want that with all of my TVs. I don’t want it in my bathroom (but if you do, I recommend a good, cheap tablet that should be coming in the next few years to kill the Kindle and company).

What OS do you think is going to run all of that? It’s not going to be a bloated OS that costs the hardware manufacturers money. They want to keep cost down. Less memory and an open source OS will help keep it cheap. That means the sticker on the front just might say “Powered by Google Chrome”.

Talk amongst yourselves

I’ll leave you with a question: Why does Google have Chrome OS and Android? Can’t my Android G1 do everything I need my house to do?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Big Brother December 15, 2009 at 9:32 pm

The world is full of PLC systems. They are robust and versatile. All that is missing is for one of the big players to dumb-down their industrial equipment and make a home version. It will make X10 a bad memory. Or you can learn a little VHDL and program everything.

Reply

thedavidlewis December 15, 2009 at 9:36 pm

I think that it is more than process logics. X10 has spent over 10 years trying to bring it home but can't seem to break into the mainstream. When it hits your kitchen (or more like my kitchen) it is going to be more than just a system to control the house. It will include an information hub. Of course as one of the few people left subscribing to a daily print newspaper, I don't know if I want all that… yes I do.

Reply

Big Brother December 16, 2009 at 5:32 am

The world is full of PLC systems. They are robust and versatile. All that is missing is for one of the big players to dumb-down their industrial equipment and make a home version. It will make X10 a bad memory. Or you can learn a little VHDL and program everything.

Reply

thedavidlewis December 16, 2009 at 5:36 am

I think that it is more than process logics. X10 has spent over 10 years trying to bring it home but can't seem to break into the mainstream. When it hits your kitchen (or more like my kitchen) it is going to be more than just a system to control the house. It will include an information hub. Of course as one of the few people left subscribing to a daily print newspaper, I don't know if I want all that… yes I do.

Reply

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