Think the hardware world is changing? Years ago, personal computers cost $2,000 or more. Now they are so inexpensive that you can borrow one at the same time you borrow a library book.
Remember the Google Chromebook? It is a laptop that was going to revolutionize laptops. I bought one and wrote about it in a Plus Edition article at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=16209 and I still use it often. Yet I think I am the only person who ever purchased one. I don't know anyone else who ever purchased a Chromebook. Sales apparently have been close to zero for these cloud-based laptops. In fact, the sales have been so low that Google apparently is giving them away to libraries for the purpose of loaning to patrons. With web-based apps, these low-priced lapop computers still have most of the functionality of their more expensive cousins.
The program highlights the Chromebook’s ability to operate as a kind of “disposable computer,” as Google puts it. Some others refer to Chromebooks as "the Choice of the AARP Generation."
"Disposable computers?" There's a new term, at least new to me. Given the plummeting price of hardware in recent years, I guess I am not very surprised. In fact, handheld "smartphones" now perform most of the tasks that our $2,000+ desktops used to perform ten or twenty years ago and smartphones sometimes can be purchased for under $100, provided you also sign up for a 24-month cell phone contract at the same time. You can even keep a rather large sized genealogy database on a $99 smartphone.
What will hardware prices be like in another ten years? Will “disposable computers" be commonplace?
You can read more about the Palo Alto Public Library's "loaner laptops" progam at http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2011/12/chromebook-library
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