In my previous post, I talked about the pros and cons of the Google's CR-48 with the "browser only" OS called Chromium. I find this concept very interesting and I have been thinking about it and asking myself as to why no one has done it before. Well, I must say that this is a very good start for Google. I think the future will be browser only OS. I do like the new netbook for personal use but more importantly, I like it because of what it can represent. For me, it represents opportunity. Here's what I mean by that...
I recently had an opportunity to travel to the Philippines for an extended period of time. Its truly a remarkable place blessed with the some of the most spectacular sceneries nature has to offer. However, like most countries, it is not immune to problems. I also have seen the horrible poverty that some people live through on a daily basis. I saw kids on the street trying to sell you stuff so they can eat that day. What surprised me was despite all that hardship, they seem to smile a lot and more importantly, seem to be genuinely happy. They seem to be full of hope. One kid reminded me so much of niece and I couldn't help myself so I decided to buy from one that kid. I chatted with her a bit and see what her story is about. She told me that she is trying to save some money so she can go to school. Her parents do not make enough to feed 8 kids so she has to help out and at the same time, hope that she can go to school. She then left and went to the other kids who were selling stuff too jumping and was so proud she made a sale. I was dumbfounded. I bought a string of flowers called "Sampaguita" and I probably overpaid for it. I gave her 200 pesos (roughly about $5) and told her to keep the change. She was so happy. That was the best $5 I have ever spent in my entire life! The feeling I got was so wonderful I think I actually owe her more!
So going back to how this new CR-48 and what it can be. I think this device presents an opportunity. I can see this kid and thousands just like her having one of these netbooks watching recorded or live classes. You can resolve the issue of overcrowding in schools. More importantly, this resolves the issue of having access to the schools since the school is at home! She can even perhaps earn a diploma, go to high school and eventually college!
Well people might say that you can do that now - you don't need this device. The problem with that theory is that while it is true that cloud computing has arrived, not everyone has access to it. The backend is still very expensive. If Chromium becomes mainstream and everything is open-source, then costs should go down. Access would be much more affordable. I realize that I maybe a bit of a dreamer specially with that college stuff but just giving that kid an opportunity experience the Internet, it would be worth it. Some education is better than none.
Let me put it another way, what if she comes up with a very clever website that a lot of people would like to go to and becomes an interent mogul? Or if she is able to develop a killer app? You don't need degrees for that - just sheer determination and I think she has plenty of that. Wouldn't that be worth it?