back to article Does Google make hardware just so nobody buys it?

Common sense says you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal – but that isn't going to stop Google trying. A Veblen good is a luxury item where demand increases the more expensive* it is. A dumb terminal such as a tablet is now a commodity good sold in supermarkets. Sales follow a conventional demand curve, …

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Holmes

Re: But muh headphone jack!

Counterpoint.

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Re: But muh headphone jack!

I want a jack because i have several sets of very expensive headphones that I am very happy with and don't want to replace.

I also have tinnitus, which means i need to have a volume control that is very sensitive, not a bar scale of volume but a rolling wheel that I can chnage very fact. These I hve and can put between my headphone cord and the final device's jack.

I am in a minority, or course, but not going to Bluetooth is not the moron's choice. And it's nice to have a choice.

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Re: "V-Moda Forza Metallo"

It's not quite that bad. After all, Poul Anderson was able to write "Uncleftish Beholding".

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Anonymous Coward

"Do you want a vente or due with that?"

Ask that in Italy, and no one will understand you... <G>

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Anonymous Coward

"Because if we didn't use words borrowed"

Sorry, you have words for "forza" (force) and "metallo" (metal) - so you don't need to borrow them. Does "force metal" means anything sensible in English?

I'm not surprised a company founded by a DJ is all about the sounding and nothing about the substance...

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Re: "V-Moda Forza Metallo"

"And what stupid names... why use Italian words randomly just because of the "sound"?"

Actually, economist Thorstein Veblen (who first described the concept which now bears his name) was an American. And Sir Robert Giffen, namesake of the Giffen good, was Scottish.

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Re: But muh headphone jack!

"I'm confused about the bitter clinging to the headphone jacks"

I don't know what's so confusing about it, personally. For many use cases, nothing beats the wired headphone.

"There are plenty of Bluetooth headsets and earbuds that are so much better than their wired counterparts for use with portable devices"

Perhaps there are -- but I haven't seen them. The battery life is the major problem with them, but they have further significant issues such as unreliable connectivity (especially in noisy environments), reliability issues, etc.

There are lots of people for whom bluetooth is a perfectly acceptable solution. There are also lots of people for whom it's not. When that latter group has to use bluetooth, they justifiably complain about the degradation of functionality.

When you combine that with the fact that pretty much every reason manufacturers give for getting rid of the jack has been bullshit (the only reason that makes a lick of sense is the one they never say: they want to shave a nickel or two off of the production cost), you can perhaps understand why this becomes a contentious issue.

Personally, a device with no headphone jack is a device that is much, much less desirable because it would require me to have to carry a second device in order to enjoy music.

And yes, I also strongly prefer a corded mouse over a wireless one.

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Re: But muh headphone jack!

Another point:

Don't you work outside of mainstream OSes on your devices?

Drivers for Bluetooth are not available, while the 3.5mm jack is almost always ready when you are.

And yep, the battery issue, but on the host device. Not really good on a x86_64 PC/laptop/whatever battery operated thing

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Re: "Do you want a vente or due with that?" - Ask that in Italy, and no one will understand you

My point exactly. It isn't so much the foreign words as the complete misuse of them.

Though it's mildly funny that in the sports car world Ferrari has a certain cachet, whereas in Italy it used to be a status symbol to put genuine Smith's instruments in your vehicle. And they mean the same thing...

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Re: But muh headphone jack!

> Cords are tangly, ungainly, and always in the way

Adapters are even more so, and NOWHERE TO BE FOUND when you need it, to boot.

The little fuckers can vanish harder than a geocities site.

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@JohnFen

If I agree with you completely on the headphones, I cannot help but disagree on the mouse.

Cordless mouse have come a long way in the past decade. They are very reliable, and working with a cord attached is something I simply cannot do anymore on a daily basis.

In my Logitech G602 I put two AAA batteries and they last me for three or four days of daily use, plus gaming evenings. Not too shabby.

That said, I have a respectable amount of rechargeable batteries and yes, I admit that I have a set in the charger once a week.

Next to my Samsung Galaxy A3, you'll excuse me if I find that peanuts as far as hassle goes . . .

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404
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Re: But muh headphone jack!

Because Options, that's why... If my BT is connected to my car's OBDII sender, it's not connecting to the stereo system to run my AV, so that headphone jack becomes very important. When I take the 4G enabled tablet into the house, it's BT is free to connect to the home system, yada yada yada..

It's having OPTIONS, man!

;)

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Re: @JohnFen

"I cannot help but disagree on the mouse."

Totally fair, and I understand. I use both cordless and corded mice, but prefer the corded ones because they give me one less thing to have to be mindful of. I do use a cordless mouse when I'm taking my laptop on the go, so I'm not completely allergic to them. But if I don't need to be mobile, I prefer the corded ones.

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Re: But muh headphone jack!

"I personally love my V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless over-ears and V-Moda Forza Metallo earbuds (I prefer V-Moda's sound profiles - nicely accurate highs and mids, and fantastic bass presence without being excessively boomy or distortive) and the thought of going back to corded ranks right up there with the thought of going back to a corded mouse. I mean, you could, but... why? "

If you work with not just one system but many systems (at work and in office) especially in IT, then you'll see why we don't use wireless device as much.

Wireless means,

-Another item to replace (battery) for each system.

-Another thing to do (recharge battery) for each system.

-Another thing to care (battery lifetime) for each system.

-Another thing to worry (replacement when battery die) for each system.

-Another security issue to care (wireless hack) for each system.

-Another interface issue to care (wireless signal interference) for each system.

-Another safety consideration (any device with battery glued on can explode/ cause fire) for each system.

In exchange for ONE benefit

-No tangling issue

The negatives don't stop there. If you work with music, most 'real' amps and 'real' music equipment like a guitar amp support the 6.5mm headphone jack, which is compatibility with the 3.5mm headphone jack, which does not have Bluetooth support.

Maybe you'll get one or two wireless devices like plenty of us (because of the convenience), but in no way does it replace the wired device.

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Re: But muh headphone jack!

As someone who is probably one of the older and stodgier greybeards in this forum, even I'm confused about the bitter clinging to the headphone jacks.

When I'm travelling, and realize that I've forgotten to pack any headphones, it's much cheaper to pick up a pair of wired earbud thingies that will tide me over than to have to buy yet another Bluetooth headset. This happens to me often enough that it's significant.

Having the 3.5mm jack doesn't prevent one from using high-quality Bluetooth headsets, but it provides the ability to use cheap and readily available earphones in an emergency. (Emergency? Ha! Talk about First World Problems.)

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All about the sounding and not the substance....

Actually, I've been told there's a good bit of substance (and expense) involved in sounding. The results are purportedly rather spectacular.

I wouldn't actually know, myself. My kinks are more leather-oriented as opposed to medical.

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Re: ecarlseen

I mostly agree, i have a number of bluetooth headphones and they are great, but i have one question.

Without a headphone jack, how do i plug my phone into my cars aux port, and charge it at the same time? (oldish car, no bluetooth on stereo)

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Re: But muh headphone jack!

Also, with Bluetooth, you can only use one pair of headphones at a time.

How do you, for example, on a long flight or train journey with a friend, connect two sets of headphones to be able to watch a film together.

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Anonymous Coward

DOA

its DOA. Period.

And, I might point out, orphaning "premium" consumer products is the kind of BS that happens when a firm has lost touch with it's customer base and is in the first stages of decline. This is the kind of BS that HP did over and over again on their way down. At some point, enough people have been jammed that trust is lost. We will use your search engine (or printer), but we wont by your digital entertainment center, or your wearable, or any other high priced digital device that you really have no intention of keeping... much less supporting long term... unless it is a huge hit.

Sony did this a few times, and I stopped buying their stuff. HP did this MANY times, and I stopped buying their stuff. Google is going to learn just how fickle the public is. I know that this is probably not meant for "the public", but just noting the typical hubris that results in a company's downfall.

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WTF?

What's the market for this?

People buy ChromeOS devices because they are cheap. That's why they've been popular with schools, they don't buy the devices and then spend 1-2x that much on support/licensing during their lifetime. No school is going to buy a $1600 ChromeOS slate - they could buy 5 iPads for that, or three iPad Pros, and have tons of software designed for the iPad available to them. Or they could buy god knows how many ordinary Android tablets, which may have to mostly make due with phone apps but at least they get the bigger screen.

So who is the customer here? Enterprises? They are still on Windows, and sure aren't going to spend as much on a single ChromeOS device as they spend on fancy laptops or Surface Pros for their C-suite people. Consumers have little use for ChromeOS, given that ChromeOS devices have almost no pricing advantage over cheap Windows tablets - they sure aren't going to be dumb enough to spend $1600 on this thing. They wouldn't buy it even at half the price.

Do Google managers get bonuses based on creating products, and then further bonuses based on canceling them? The number of products they introduce and then kill suggests that may be the case!

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Anonymous Coward

Sponsored content

If it's a Microsoft tablet, then all about talking up why spunking £1500 on a tablet is a great thing.

When it's anyone else, do your best to shittalk it...

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Re: Sponsored content

I don't like the Surface, but heck, it's a proper computer, in the sense that it runs whatever OS you want, and proper firmware, not the Google shit.

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Re: Sponsored content

I have stated in these fora that I considered the Surface Go overpriced.

I must admit that this Google thing leaves me a bit speechless. No buy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sponsored content

You know this will run Windows right? If you really want that bloated corpse on your hardware.

ChromeOS is a really nice OS, and despite what most morons think, runs content without internet connections just fine. It's called offline apps, and has been around for over 5 years.

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Another theory

Apple doesn't get investigated for non-competitive practices so long as there is the appearance of competition in the tablet market. As long as Google and Microsoft pretend to be competitive the backscratching continues in other areas.

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Re: Another theory

Apple's failure to use any anti-competitive practices to expand its tablet market probably helps too.

Except maybe that time it took part in an illegal monopoly in book pricing. Which was investigated. And led to appropriate penalties.

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Re: Another theory

Apple doesn't have enough market share in most of its sectors to be considered anti competitive. They might enjoy around 15% share in phones and maybe laptops, but they don't care - they've got the lucrative 15% of the market.

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Linux

Do we care anymore?

We penguinistas used to have high hopes for ChromeOS because it was a potential avenue for mainstream desktop Linux adoption. But now that Microsoft has given up on non-desktop platforms and Google has become at least as evil as Microsoft ... do we care anymore?

We seem to have reached a weird stability point where neither Microsoft, Google, nor Apple control enough of the market to wield monopoly influence over it.

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Re: Do we care anymore?

"We penguinistas used to have high hopes for ChromeOS because it was a potential avenue for mainstream desktop Linux adoption."

Wait, we did??

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do we care anymore?

Someone probably just hoped in cheap hardware subsidized by Google... ChromeOS is exactly what Linux is not.

And remember, as long as Google runs most stuff on its own servers, it can use GPL software at will without giving anything back. Only what is "distributed" falls under the GPL "copyleft" clauses... so, maybe, Linux punters chose the wrong ally.

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Re: Do we care anymore?

I wasn't in on that memo. Just because it uses the Linux kernel doesn't mean it's good. You can build all sorts of things with the Linux kernel running the low-level stuff. The resultant device can be terrible, it can be evil, it can give you no options, and it can lock you out completely. Linux on its own doesn't guarantee anything; it's Linux plus a free user level and access to root and system components that gets you a system that either is great already or can be made so.

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Re: Do we care anymore?

The term "Tivoization" springs to mind. The kernel can be GPL and its source code distributed, but anything on top of that kernel is fair game; thus, someone provided an example of how Tivoization is impossible to prevent, not even if the kernel were converted to GPL3 (they can black-box the proprietary bits in a VM and still not violate GPL3).

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I expect Acer, Asus and HP will run with the overall idea

Once Android apps run well on Chrome OS (they seem to be getting there), and the tablet mode of Chrome OS starts to look like a tablet (that too is getting there), then others will run with this. Google, OTOH are trying to compete with Surface when they can’t even compete with the iPad. The base iPad is more capable than the entry level slate (as is the Surface Go) and thst’s before you take the ecosystem into consideration.

In the meantime, Google needs to take the person who who answered “How do we compete with Apple,” with “Something with a Celeron in it” out back.....

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Vanity project

Isn't ChromeOS untouchable at Googlebecause Sundar Pichai used to be its PM?

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I bet its good when running linux. Not sure its worth the cost though.

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This post has been deleted by its author

TRT
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In terms of names with negative connotations...

calling it just a slip of the tongue short of "Pixelate" isn't too cool for a tech product.

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One should check links on a computer not logged into anything

Link for "Veblen good". Some Oxford University thing.

You do not currently have access to this article.

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Re: One should check links on a computer not logged into anything

Wikipedia provides a good-enough rundown and provides enough sources for further reading. I believe one of the references is the wine study mentioned previously.

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Pint

Having experienced the Nexus promise...

Being a Google tablet, it's assured that it'll be first in line for updates to the OS forever^h^h^h^h ...about three years, just like all the others.

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Yes and this was the plan all along...

Google makes this phones so no one buys them. Except for people that would read an article about Google not making phones to be successful.

These are "model'" devices, Google wants to influence the design/development/features of hardware as it is paramount for the success of Android (and other services).

They are the phones for developers, effectively the reference platform, so an application that runs on Pixel should run on all androids.

And people who would read HYS about Google not making phones to be sold.

And that is it.

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