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, …

  1. Noonoot

    When you have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    You can make what you want when your pocket is deep.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When you have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      "You can make what you want when your pocket is deep."

      Only up to a point. Google have a growing reputation for dropping stuff and leaving users (and indeed customers) stranded, investment analysts are looking for returns, and the wider public enjoy a good pratfall.

      Microsoft had deep, deep pockets, and still couldn't cut it in phone. Appears that Google haven't learned the lesson on that.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: When you have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

        Microsoft had deep, deep pockets alright, but I don't think they could organize a piss-up in a brewery any more. Their whole phone thing was a Keystone Kops routine all the way back to when it was running Windows CE.

        The problem with Google is they're out of touch with reality, and they get bored easily.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When you have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

          Microsoft had deep, deep pockets alright, but I don't think they could organize a piss-up in a brewery any more. Their whole phone thing was a Keystone Kops routine all the way back to when it was running Windows CE.

          The only thing fundamentally wrong with Windows Mobile (7.5, 8, etc) was that it was too late. Like BlackBerry's 10, which was also too late, it was actually a pretty decent OS. There were some nice features. MS also did a pretty good job of the hardware spec which brought sanity to OS updates, multi-vendor support, etc (all things Google didn't, and still doesn't, have a grip on).

          The problem with Google is they're out of touch with reality, and they get bored easily.

          I'm in complete agreement with that. Their promotions structure, completely incoherent product / service strategy, disregard for prudent spending, corporate constitution that prevents most shareholders voting, and their continual clashes with anti-trust regulators in Europe; there's a lot of bad stuff in Google that is masked by the large profits. Given that their profits are built on very large volumes of quite low margin stuff, that profit can be wiped out by not very large shifts in law, policy, etc. One day they might look back at their current profligacy with regret.

          1. se99paj

            Re: When you have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

            Microsoft's mistake was going for the consumer market, they should have focused on the enterprise market. At the time Blackberry was a mess and Apple/Google were focusing on consumers - Deciding to go head to head with Android/iOS was a mistake. They already had relationships with enterprise customers.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: When you have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

            Microsoft's mistake was releasing a brand new mobile OS - Windows Phone 7 - and then almost immediately (within about 12 months of launch) announcing it was a dead end and there would be no upgrade path to the next version 8 (which also wouldn't be backward compatible with the old version). And then that next version was late, and by the time it appeared the mobile market for Microsoft was totally and irrevocably dead.

            So basically, it was a botched Windows Phone launch and non-existent upgrade roadmap that doomed the platform, because they were far too late to the party so small things like rewarding customer loyalty or speccing sustainable rather than barely adequate hardware were considered unnecessary.

            They could have been late and still had a chance, if only they hadn't abandoned their initial customer base. That was such a dick move.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When you have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      Standard anonymous former employee comment: when your promotions structure is predicated only on individual employees being able to prove that they solved a problem of sufficient complexity, not on whether that problem has already been solved by twenty other teams in twenty other products, or whether solving it has any market appeal, this sort of launch is inevitable. As is the product cancellation in 12 months or so — no promotions to be found in supporting existing products.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: When you have the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      $1600?! I really can't see Slurp selling many of these at that price. You can get a decent proper computer like a Surface Pro for that sort of dosh.

  2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

    Isn't that exactly what an iPhone is? Dumb computer terminal plus various apps including a voice app called "phone"?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)
      Headmaster

      Re: you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

      A typical dumb computer terminal is a "green screen". Since the device has a very powerful chip, which is capable of performing most of the work locally, I would say No, Arthur - you are being silly.

      https://www.apple.com/iphone-xs/a12-bionic/

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

        Well Andrew, then, by your own reasoning, the Pixel also isn't a dumb terminal, is it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Pixel also isn't a dumb terminal, is it?"

          The issue is not the hardware. It's the software. A "dumb terminal" is something that's designed for remote processing and storage, and only display tasks are handled locally.

          Apple iOS is designed to run and store data locally. ChomeOS is not, and most of its local features have been added later when it was clear the original design wasn't much appreciated. Still you wonder why Google can't use Android on both, like Apple does with iOS.

          1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

            Re: "Pixel also isn't a dumb terminal, is it?"

            @Anonymous Coward

            The issue is not the hardware. It's the software. A "dumb terminal" is something that's designed for remote processing and storage, and only display tasks are handled locally.

            Apple iOS is designed to run and store data locally. ChomeOS is not, and most of its local features have been added later when it was clear the original design wasn't much appreciated. Still you wonder why Google can't use Android on both, like Apple does with iOS.

            I agree with the first paragraph but somewhat disagree with the second.

            iOS does store data locally, but not in a filesystem that's visible to the user as such in a typical fiile manager.

            1. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: "Pixel also isn't a dumb terminal, is it?"

              Running into this issue with a friend right now. She has an idevice (not sure why, she's otherwise clever) and she cannot find out how to download a file, then open it. It constantly wants to stream things?

              1. sabroni Silver badge

                Re: She has an idevice (not sure why, she's otherwise clever)

                You don't have to be stupid to want a convenient device that works well and gets security updates.

                I have an Android phone and, as usual, after a year of use the experience has degraded noticeably yet it's not had anything new installed on it in over 6 months. It's not an experience I choose willingly but choice is very limited in the smart phone market.

                1. Martin-73 Silver badge

                  Re: She has an idevice (not sure why, she's otherwise clever)

                  But idevices also slow down over time, oddly enough, when new models come out

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Pixel also isn't a dumb terminal, is it?"

                Re: Downloading on iOS

                You can download files with Firefox on iOS, it might be worth trying that instead of Safari?

                (and also installing VLC to play media files)

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

          By "green screen" he means something like a Network Computer: basically, all the grunt work isn't done on the device but on a remote server (aka "the Cloud"). A ChromeOS device doesn't do a lot of local work; thus why it relies on an Internet connection.

          IOW, you don't expect a device that depends on an Internet connection for even basic operation to be a status symbol.

      2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

        "No, Arthur - you are being silly."

        In fairness, Andrew, he's a cat; it comes with the (very-well marked) territory.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

          In fairness, Andrew, he's a cat

          That's rich coming from a building tool......

        2. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Re: you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

          This confusion is easily cleared.

          When @Arthur said "dumb terminal", he was (probably) thinking about the lack of filesystem access, Steve Jobs' own personal vision.

          When @Andrew Orlowski said "powerful chip", he was (probably) thinking about thin clients and how they used underpowered chips because the workload doesn't really need anything more powerful and for power saving.

      3. dajames Silver badge

        Re: you can't make a Veblen good out of a dumb computer terminal

        A typical dumb computer terminal is a "green screen".

        I remember those days.

        These days a typical "dumb computer terminal" is a PC running some kind of thin client under Windows 10. The device is capable of so much more ... but that's not how it gets used.

  3. Spazturtle Silver badge

    Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android. Look at the Android x86 project, android already works on small laptops with multi window support.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Because Android doesn't funnel you into using the cloud as much as ChromeOS does.

    2. Voyna i Mor

      Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

      Because Chrome OS is designed to work as a desktop and Android isn't. They may be slowly converging but at the time of the CR-48 Android was nowhere near ready.

      Chrome OS works better with a touchscreen than Windows and works much better with a keyboard and pad or mouse than Android.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

        There are few tablet-optimised Android apps. Also, there were inherent issues with Android that dated back to its rushed deployment - not least updates. Chrome OS was developed after a few lessons had been learnt.

        And then there's Google's Fuschia OS on the distant horizon.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

        Chrome OS works better with a touchscreen than Windows and works much better with a keyboard and pad or mouse than Android.

        And Chrome OS just works, reliably and securely (by mainstream OS standards). I know Google are tracking everything I do, but Microsoft try to, AND they expect me to pay cash for their bloatware, AND it is still a bit flakey, AND the updates keep borking my chosen settings or installing shite I don't want.

        Chrome OS is exactly what I want: Mac OS for poor people who don't need to do heavy lift computing.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

          Re: Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

          I was initially torn between running Chrome OS (as CloudReady or Chromium OS) or Android-x86 on a laptop/tablet convertible.

          But there's the problem of the fact that Chrome OS is not even ready for un-slurpage (or is it de-slurpification?)

          And the fact that Chrome OS is designed with the internet in mind. What if I do most of my work offline?

          And the fact that Android (especially as Android-x86) is way closer to Linux that Chrome OS. You can run Linux in a chroot under Android-x86, and even start a X server, but with Chrome OS, you need to use crouton, which is not native enough.

          1. James Henstridge

            Re: Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

            "And the fact that Android (especially as Android-x86) is way closer to Linux that Chrome OS. You can run Linux in a chroot under Android-x86, and even start a X server, but with Chrome OS, you need to use crouton, which is not native enough."

            To run Linux in a chroot on Android you need to root the device, subverting the device's security. Crouton is just a script to let you run Linux in a chroot on ChromeOS devices where the security has been subverted by entering dev mode. That sounds basically the same to me.

            The article briefly mentioned how they're improving this for ChromeOS though, by letting you run a standard Linux distro in a container on unrooted devices. This is using the same APIs that make Docker, Kubernetes, LXC, etc possible, and lets them give you root access within the container without compromising ChromeOS's security. That sounds a lot better than what you can do on Android.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

          "And Chrome OS just works, reliably and securely (by mainstream OS standards)"

          Let's not move the goalposts around "securely". Chrome OS, like Windows (or any other OS), can't be considered "secure" if it's spying on you.

          1. Chz

            Re: Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

            Yes, but you do have to hand it to them - outside of the engineered in slurpage, ChromeOS is really quite excellent. It's a huge boon for the majority who couldn't give two figs about who's spying on them. I wouldn't (yet) recommend it as a primary device, but as a secondary one I think it's quite superior to all the other options for a portable device.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

              Yes, I have a little laptop like a Macbook Air, with a HD screen but with plastic casing so it's superlight. Runs chrome OS and linux, has a nice keyboard, battery lasts 10 hours and cost £200.

        3. sabroni Silver badge

          @Ledswinger: "Chrome OS is exactly what I want"

          "I know Google are tracking everything I do"

          Why do you want to be tracked?

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why does ChromeOS still exist? It should have just been replaced with android.

          How do you "know Google are tracking everything I do"?

          It's pretty clear they aren't tracking YOU, read the privacy policy.

    3. AK565

      "And Chrome OS just works, reliably and securely (by mainstream OS standards)."

      I think this is it in a nutshell. People know that google's spying on them but they believe Windows does the same AND borks their data & machine. With Chrome your data & machine remain relatively unborked.

      Then you factor in the fact that people spend more and more of their time on other people's schedules. They have a limited amount of time write their email/video chat with g'pa/reap the benefits of porn, etc. They don't have time to futz with anything, even if they have the skills and desire to do so. Shit has to work the first time, every time and personal preferences aren't even in the equation.

  4. mscha

    Want a mediocre keyboard cover with it? That's an extra $200.

  5. Flywheel Silver badge

    Could I put (GNU) Linux on i though?

    If I could get rid of the Google-Dross and put a copy of Gallium OS on it I'd be chuffed to nuts.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: Could I put (GNU) Linux on i though?

      It's a Chromebook, sir. So yeah, you could.

      And with Windows / "AltOS Mode" on the way, it could be the case that you could install any x86_64 operating system on there.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Could I put (GNU) Linux on i though?

      WRONG!

      The official text is:

      "But can I wipe it and put a PROPER Linux on there?"

      And it's supposed to be the first post. 3 out of 10. Must try harder.

  6. gbru2606

    Old Acer C720

    I have an old Acer C720 which I picked up for £179 about 5 years ago. It's still working really well and I've run Linux on it from time to time after upgrading the m.2 ssd to 128GB - which was very easy to do.

    If it dies, I can't really see myself buying another as they've all got soldered in EMMC's these days, unless you fork out an absurd sum for a high-end Chromebook - which I really don't see the point of unless money is no object.

    For all its open source origins, it's all getting a bit locked down on the hardware side, and I wonder if the security chips on the new pixels will kill off rooting devices completely?

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Unhappy

      Re: Old Acer C720

      Sadly, I expect you're right about this. Apple is taking steps to prevent third party repair, and I suspect where Apple leads, others will follow. And given the way Microsoft is, they'll use this as a chance to try and finally kill Linux desktop installs forever.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old Acer C720

      I'm running Kali on my old Dell, it's great - access to any network, anywhere, any time, any place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Old Acer C720

        Duly noted.

  7. ST Silver badge
    Devil

    it's like Vertu only cheaper

    I seriously believe that people buy Google hardware just so they can show their friends they bought and own Google hardware. It has nothing to do with functionality or features.

    The defining characteristics of this Pixel Slate are (a) ridiculously expensive and (b) under-spec'ed. For some people that's a thing.

    Vertu complex or envy or something.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

      "I seriously believe that people buy Google hardware just so they can show their friends they bought and own Google hardware."

      But why? Owning Google hardware doesn't boost your social standing in any group that I know of.

      1. ST Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

        > Owning Google hardware doesn't boost your social standing in any group that I know of.

        There exists a - small - group of individuals who are Google hardware fanboys. They buy Pixel phones, tablets, Pixelbooks, etc. And they believe these things are cool. At a minimum, cooler, or better than all the other brands.

        Are they really better? Not by a long stretch IMO.

        Never mind the fact that today is October 11, 2018, and the Wow! factor of any of these pieces of hardware, regardless of their brand, is close to zero. It's an Android smartphone or tablet. There are many others just like them, and there have been many others just like them for quite a while.

        > But why?

        Rationally, I have no idea. Irrationally, I'd guess antropomorphism.

        1. Maty

          Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

          'Irrationally, I'd guess antropomorphism'

          Buying something because it has the shape of the antropos font is certainly irrational.

        2. se99paj

          Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

          Welcome to the consumer world we live in, you can replace your words with any other product that exists on the planet:

          There exists a - small - group of individuals who are fanboys. They buy "Something" And they believe these things are cool. At a minimum, cooler, or better than all the other "Things".

          Just find and replace with whatever you like, Cars, Music, Vegetables, etc

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

            "Just find and replace with whatever you like, Cars, Music, Vegetables, etc"

            Vegetables??

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

              Re: "Vegetables??"

              Clearly you do not partake of avocados, you peasant? ;-)

              1. rskurat

                Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

                Don't forget kale or quinoa

        3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

          There exists a - small - group of individuals who are Google hardware fanboys. They buy Pixel phones, tablets, Pixelbooks, etc. And they believe these things are cool. At a minimum, cooler, or better than all the other brands.

          And I'm in the opposite group, the one where your bragging rights is how *little* you've managed to spend (or hacked together something from discarded parts) on making a usable device. Kind of like the time a co-worker tried to brag "I bet I spent more on my tie than YOU did", to which I replied "Probably. I usually never spend for than fifty cents or a dollar on mine." He slunk away thoroughly shot down and defeated.

          Sure, sometimes it bites you in the ass (like my piece-of-crap Insignia Flex tablet from WorstBuy), but I'd *still* prefer to spend $100 or less on a piece of shit than $1000+ on something that's almost as much of a piece of shit.

    2. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

      The tablet is crap. But the keyboard _is_ awesome. Can't help but give them kudos for it.

      (Except if the keys themselves turn out to be terrible in actual use).

    3. VulcanV5
      FAIL

      Re: it's like Vertu only cheaper

      Ah: gilt by association. Vertu.

      Except that when you decide to examine its wares, you're greeted by an oh-so-posh website which proclaims: "Signature: Powerful Performance. Nearly a decade since it's launch. . ."

      Do I really wish to suffer the guilt by association that results from being seen to be a customer of an outfit so illiterate that no-one in its management, marketing, or web design comprehends the purpose of the possessive 's'?

      Vertu. The company that say's everything there is to say about the kind's of purchaser wot fork out for it's product's.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. LDS Silver badge

    It's simply the Google's hate for "personal" devices.

    Google can't understand personal devices running local software. It's trying to build them because others, especially Apple does, but it's wholly outside their DNA something working locally on local data.

    So they can put an i7 inside, but will still need to run something that calls some remote Google server to perform anything. Android wasn't developed at Google, otherwise it would have looked much more like ChromeOS. Data slurping is not enough, everything must happens on Google's servers - were, BTW, competition can be even controlled better.

    That's why they didn't replaced ChromeOS with Android.

    Apple, from this point of view, care far less about you doing everything on Apple's remote servers - as long as they can sell you Veblen goods, it's fine if you keep you work locally. Sure, they will slurp some data, just they are not obsessed doing it.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: It's simply the Google's hate for "personal" devices.

      I was just thinking about that. I used to call it the Midas Touch, but now I've read about Veblen goods. In its heyday, iPhones were Veblen goods, which is why they sold like crazy in spite of their high price: perhaps because they sold because of their high price and their status symbol effect. These days, the effect is a bit blunted after Apple had a few missteps and the tarnish started to set in.

      1. Voyna i Mor

        Re: It's simply the Google's hate for "personal" devices.

        "These days, the effect is a bit blunted after Apple had a few missteps and the tarnish started to set in."

        Citation needed. Only Samsung can match Apple's top-end sales and they make far less money per phone.

        (Not that I have either company's products except for a Samsung washing machine, which is very good.)

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: It's simply the Google's hate for "personal" devices.

          That's the thing. They got beat by Samsung as a single brand (I'm talking social effects, not economic) and their ecosystem is eclipsed by Android. Furthermore, the Third World is now in play, and bling doesn't attract them.

          1. Spazturtle Silver badge

            Re: It's simply the Google's hate for "personal" devices.

            You can't treat Android as a single entity when comparing it to Apple.

            Consumers don't think Samsung and OnePlus are any more related then they do Samsung and Apple.

          2. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: It's simply the Google's hate for "personal" devices.

            "They got beat by Samsung as a single brand"

            I think you mean beaten.

        2. ROC

          Re: It's simply the Google's hate for "personal" devices.

          So that Samsung washer has not exploded during the spin cycle yet?

          https://www.consumerreports.org/washing-machines/some-samsung-washers-may-pose-safety-risk/

  10. Steve K Silver badge

    Giffen good?

    When I did Economics it was a Giffen good.

    Is Veblen even more expensive? If so, I'll have 2!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Giffen good?

      A giffen good is something everyday that becomes desirable as the price goes up. Bacon has been known to show this tendency.

      A veblen good starts out as a status symbol and gets more so as the price goes up.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Giffen good?

      As I read it, the two work slightly differently.

      In a Veblen good, the perceived value of a good (its "status symbol" value) rises WITH the price, precisely BECAUSE it's expensive. Something like a Rolls Royce or a very old bottle of single-malt Macallan.

      In a Giffen good, the price itself (and alone) determines its desirability. When it goes up, so does the demand. This goes to the other end of the price scale, where low prices get instantly perceived as "cheap" or even "substandard". Best way to see this is in common consumables like fresh produce (where a cheap product would be seen as marked down because they're trying to move it before it goes bad). Or, another way, it's something that people will ONLY buy because they can't afford anything else; IOW, people don't substitute the Giffen good because the GIffen good IS the substitute for something they'd rather have but can't afford anymore.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Giffen good?

        Thank you @Charles9 and @Mycho - I last studied Economics in 1990, so the mists of time have muddied the waters of my mind (if I may illustrate why I did not study Poetry instead).

        Steve

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Giffen good?

          Welcome.

          I only remember because of a fight with a psychologist at university (not long after the 90s)

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Giffen good?

      No. A Giffen good is the cheap product. If the price goes up, people have less money available for more expensive products and therefore buy more of the cheap Giffen good. It is unclear whether it is really a thing, whereas a Veblen good is.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Giffen good?

        I thought the standard example of the Giffen good was potatoes in the Irish famine. As prices rose, so did demand. This was because prices of all foods were rising, so people abandoned all the increasingly expensive alternatives in order to maximise the bulk they could get with their decreasing spending power.

        Most of European agriculture was hit in various ways during those years, otherwise a rise in potato prices caused by the blight should theoretically have lead to people substituting for other goods like bread.

        1. stephanh Silver badge

          Re: Giffen good?

          This is indeed the standard example, but later economists have argued that people did actually move away from potatoes as their price increased.

          The statistics seem inconclusive so we are still unsure if this was actually a Giffen good. And if such a thing exists.

  11. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Trollface

    If you build it will they come?

    "Amazon sells a colour tablet for £49"

    As opposed to a black and white tablet?

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: If you build it will they come?

      Yes. Otherwise known as "an e-reader". Traditionally equipped with a very low-power, but also very slow and black-and-white screen. When you're Amazon and that's where you're coming from, your tablet being a colour one is a meaningful distinction, even if e-readers aren't quite really "tablets"...

      1. 404 Silver badge

        Re: If you build it will they come?

        Something I never saw in an e-reader was one in a paperback book format - same size & shape, open to see two e-ink paperwhite screens, exactly like a paperback. I'd pay good money for that even now.

        1. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: If you build it will they come?

          Something like this: http://www.fabricedubuy.com/flipbook.html ?

          Or for something you can buy today: https://www.gvido.tokyo/

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: If you build it will they come?

            That gvido is pretty awesome! Close, so close lol.

        2. John 110

          Re: If you build it will they come?

          Like this?

          https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2017/9/27/16374118/eonebook-manga-digital-reader-progress-technologies-kickstarter

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: If you build it will they come?

            Almost perfect - paperback size is/was to accommodate back pocket. Pretty cool.

      2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: Dropbear

        It seems like a waste. Double the screens and you halve the battery life and double the cost. Since you can only read one screen at a time it seems wasteful and pointless.

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Except

          for the music score display in Spazturtle's link. That absolutely makes sense. And maybe reading manga is somehow like playing music?

        2. 404 Silver badge

          Re: Dropbear

          Tigra - that doesn't matter. It's the look and feel I'm looking for. Kinda like sure, you can drive a Nissan Cube around, but it's not going to have the look and feel of a Ferrari lol.

          1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

            Re: 404

            A better comparison would be wanting a Nissan Cube, but twice the size and cost of a Ferrari, with half the mileage.

        3. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Dropbear

          "It seems like a waste. Double the screens and you halve the battery life and double the cost. Since you can only read one screen at a time it seems wasteful and pointless."

          Nope. An e-ink reader doesn't use any power to display a page, only to change the display on the page. It would only use more power if it were backlit. In any case e-readers can last for days or weeks without needing to be charged, even with a backlight, so it's not that much of an issue.

          Besides "wasteful" and "pointless" aren't necessarily related. Yes it might be wasteful to have 2 screens when 1 will do, but it's not pointless if the reader gets a better experience.

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: Dropbear

            The utility of a wide e-book reader might be debatable (although I would prefer a "two page" one given the choice), but the point I was trying to make was merely that at the time Amazon launched their tablet the "colour" tag was not really redundant - it really was their first device with a honest-to-goodness colour screen...

        4. D@v3

          Re: Tigra

          Except, while you may need more battery to power both screens, you have more space for battery.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: If you build it will they come?

      Amazon sells a colour tablet for £49

      I had one (briefly). It was ONLY useful if you were as heavily tied-into the Amazon Ecosystem as Apple-heads(tm) are tied into their own particular walled-garden. If your world revolves around your Prime membership, then the low-end tablet is probably usable. Not so much if you don't get your music, movies and books through their accursed "1-Click" system.

  12. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    ChromeOS Pyrrhic victory

    ChromeOS isn't really going anywhere. Given that it runs on Intel I wonder if this started life as an Intel project that Google agreed to brand: Intel is even worse at selling to consumers than Google.

    I assume the Android team is letting them have their glory, while companies like Samsung work on stuff like DeX. It's the apps that will matter for this kind of device.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: ChromeOS Pyrrhic victory

      Relax please, Chrome is just an OS... No more, no less - and like all OS's it will be replaced. Meanwhile it's just a tool.

    2. Voyna i Mor

      Re: ChromeOS Pyrrhic victory

      Many Chrome OS devices run on ARM. The original CR-48 had an Atom CPU, but most vendors hedge their bets with models with both.

      I find a 12 hour battery life trumps slightly higher performance, and I find ARM more than adequate.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: ChromeOS Pyrrhic victory

        Many Chrome OS devices run on ARM.

        Yes, but this one is an Intel and that means emulation for Android for ARM apps. And that's assuming Intel is maintaining the transpiler.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: ChromeOS Pyrrhic victory

          I can see your point about the long battery life making an underpowered device more useful, but consider two points:

          1. This chromebook has a ridiculously overpowered processor for the processing it can actually do. If they included a processor that ran with less power, it would run for more time,

          2. I like long battery life too, which is why I look into computers with processors that can standby or sleep in many conditions, then load them with operating systems that don't thrash them. I can still do real work on them, rather than be tied to my internet connection. This also helps my battery life because I can shut down my WiFi and bluetooth radios to save even more power when I'm not using those services. I have a laptop that I was recycling for someone else, with a really low-end AMD chip in it. It can run forever with a minimal Linux install, even though it has a smallish battery. I think this one was very cheap when it was bought new, as well (although I doubt the battery life using its preinstalled windows was so nice).

        2. dajames Silver badge

          Re: ChromeOS Pyrrhic victory

          Yes, but this one is an Intel and that means emulation for Android for ARM apps. And that's assuming Intel is maintaining the transpiler.

          Most Android apps are platform agnostic. They're written in something (usually Java) that generates a bytecode image for the Dalvik runtime or for ART, and will run on any Android device. No emulation is required.

          Some Android apps are written either in C++ or some other native-code language, or are built with some component written in such a language for speed. Those apps are usually built in ARM and Intel (and other?) variants, and the right version for the target hardware must be downloaded (Google's store does this automatically, I believe). Again, no emulation is needed.

          I'm honestly not sure what happens if you have (say) an Intel x86 Android device and want to run a native code app written for ARM. I'd guess it probably doesn't run, because I'm not aware of the availability of any emulator for Android targets (there is an emulator for PC-hosted debugging in the Android SDK, but that's clearly different).

          So, no, I don't think it means emulation. You just download the Intel version of the Android app.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a mafia front for laundering codecs.

  14. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Linux

    In Other News

    Every other day comes an announcement that some luxury goods house is closing their flagship store. I suspect the marketing philosophy of 'charge less than one week's illegal drug supply' for their 'targeted' segment isn't working any longer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In Other News

      Only of they aren't luxury enough...

  15. ecarlseen

    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. This isn't Bluetooth 1.0 anymore. There are plenty of Bluetooth headsets and earbuds that are so much better than their wired counterparts for use with portable devices - mainly because they have better DACs, amps, and can devote more battery to the aforementioned parts. 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? Cords are tangly, ungainly, and always in the way. I've set up a few charging stations in my home with the various cable types (micro-USB, lightning, USB-C, etc) where we all just dump our chargeable electronics when we're not using them. It's reduces the amount of effort to keep things charged to pretty close to zero.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: But muh headphone jack!

      Using a corded (?chorded?) mouse means never having to search around for batteries or battery charger at inopportune moments.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "V-Moda Forza Metallo"

      About Veblen goods...

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

      Ah, but they believe "fugazi" is an Italian word - believe me, there's no such word in Italian - even as a slang term.

      What jerks...

      1. Voyna i Mor

        Re: "V-Moda Forza Metallo"

        Do you want a vente or due with that?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

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

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

          1. Voyna i Mor

            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...

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: "V-Moda Forza Metallo"

        "why use Italian words"

        Because if we didn't use words borrowed from other languages, I'm not sure we'd actually have any words of our own, and we would end up having to borrow an entire language from somewhere else.

        1. John Savard Silver badge

          Re: "V-Moda Forza Metallo"

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

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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...

          1. AK565

            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.

      3. Charles 9 Silver badge

        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.

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: But muh headphone jack!

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

      Well, quite apart from the charging, there's the slightly inconvenient aspect of swapping about. At home, unplug the flying 3.5mm and plug it in to the next device, or spend 30 seconds to force a re-pairing with the Bluetooth-enabled amplifier.

      At work, where I often have to get clients audio into PA systems, 3.5mm 'just works' and is easy to swap around, or to have two or three of. Bluetooth often doesn't, and isn't.

      Many phones have excellent DACs built-in, particularly when driving a line input instead of low impedance headphones, and quite frankly for PA purposes very few people would even claim to be able to hear a difference, let alone be able to reliably prove it. Processing algorithms aside (personally I'm of the school which believes there should be as litle faffing about between the source and your ears as possible), I see no advantage to having only Bluetooth available, and no real disadvantage to fitting a 3.5mm jack as standard to everything.

      M.

    4. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: But muh headphone jack!

      Counterpoint.

    5. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      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.

    6. JohnFen Silver badge

      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.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

        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

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        @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 . . .

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          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.

    7. Gene Cash Silver badge

      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.

    8. 404 Silver badge

      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!

      ;)

    9. Tim Seventh

      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.

    10. dajames Silver badge

      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.)

    11. D@v3

      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)

    12. D@v3

      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.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  17. DougS Silver badge
    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!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    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...

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      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.

      1. stephanh Silver badge

        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.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

  19. Sierpinski

    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.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      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.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        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.

  20. IGnatius T Foobar !
    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.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      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??

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          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.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            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).

  21. Jason Hindle

    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.....

  22. Fazal Majid

    Vanity project

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

  23. nattydread

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

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. TRT Silver badge

    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.

  26. heyrick Silver badge

    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.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      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.

  27. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    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.

  28. harryk100@yahoo.co.uk

    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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