“Google’s Chrome OS may have missed its moment”
Jetting into wrong conclusions
Living in the New York City metropolitan area offers interesting insight. For example, it’s always fun to watch the New York Yankees play a nationally broadcast game. The shiny nationwide television “A” broadcast team jets in. Through the game they espouse countless facts about the Yankees. The only problem is – for us locals – the information is dead wrong, or a week old. It’s simple, locals hear about the Yankees 7 x 24. In NYC there are two sports radio stations, dozens of newspapers and countless internet resources. These resources disperse news, facts and fiction about the Yankees. The shiny nationwide “A” broadcast team doesn’t stand regardless of how outstanding their production meeting is. I guess this is why my cross country betting buddies call me up to get the local view on the game.
Recently CNNMoney broke a story entitled “Google’s Chrome OS may have missed its moment”. To us Chrome OS locals, this is a rather stunning statement. Now how could this be?
It all starts with a 30 second exchange from an interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Sean Hollister from Engadget: Wanted to ask – You’ve spoken a little on where Chrome OS fits, can you tell us when we’ll see it on netbooks and if we’ll see it on tablets?
Schmidt: Well, because it’s open source so the answer is yes, yes, yes and yes. Just as you’ll see Android on everything. The primary design center, again, has been on netbooks. But of course there’s nothing preventing it from being on larger or smaller devices. It’s designed around something with a keyboard though.
Hollister: But a timeframe?
Schmidt: The answer is that the software is coming out in the next few months.
Hollister: And do you have a timeframe for Gingerbread? I’ll just tack that on.
Schmidt: The next few weeks.
CNNMoney jets in, and “Google’s Chrome OS may have missed its moment” is born.
Let’s examine just a few of the premises in the article that led to this conclusion.
First Premise – Android is hot, Chrome is not
Google has two operating systems. One is wildly successful, and the other may be dead on arrival.
Android, Google’s mobile operating system, is the fastest-growing OS on the planet and is being tested out on everything from tablets to refrigerators. It even powers the new Google TV system.
First Premise Issues to us ‘Locals’
In anyone’s heaven, I am sure there is just one operating system. In anyone’s heaven, I am sure there is one remote control that operates the TV, recorder, etc… Unfortunately the real world is not quite heaven yet.
Case in point is smart phone operating systems. Wouldn’t it be nice to have one ubiquitous operating system for all smart phones? Unfortunately the real world is not quite heaven yet.
Numerous articles have chronicled the big players – HTC, Windows Phone 7, Palm and Nokia – and their drive to create proprietary operating systems for smart phones (see – HTC May Develop Proprietary Smartphone Operating System). Do we need to mention that iPhone and Blackberry have competitive operating systems?
Best guess is Android’s immediate future will be spent solidifying its ‘wildly successful’ growth by staying competitive with the onslaught of new players in the smart phone industry. Maybe then Android can start worry about powering refrigerators.
Second Premise – Netbooks are Fading Fast
“Now, netbooks are fading fast. Uncomfortably sandwiched between laptops and the iPad in terms of computing power, mobility and form factor, the netbook has become a device without a defining trait. The $499 iPad is not significantly more expensive than most netbooks, and many full-on laptop computers are beginning to encroach on the $300 to $400 netbook price range.”
Second Premise Issues to us ‘Locals’
Ipad computing power compared to Netbook computing power is poor.
An iPad has a 9.7 inch size screen. Netbook sales have mostly come in the 10.1 inch size, with a minimal size available of 7’. Weight wise – iPads weigh between 1.5 and 1.6 pounds (.68kg, .73kg). Netbooks weigh between 1.15 and 2.3 pounds (.6kg,1.3kg).
Currently iPad prices out at about $500. The most popular Netbook sold on Amazon is a 10.1 inch model that is selling for $299. Us locals know there will be a $50 reduction in price (minimum) since Chrome is free and Windows isn’t. That lowers the price point to $249. We haven’t even mentioned price reductions expected from the ARM chip that’s forthcoming.
The computing power of a Chrome OS Netbook will be at least on a par with iPad. Chrome OS Netbooks will share the same ‘mobility and form factor’ as the iPad, at half the price.
If Netbooks are sandwiched between laptops and the iPad, I guess it’s an open faced sandwich.
Further, if Netbooks are dead, what about poor Apple Air. By the way, Apple Air’s 11 inch model starts at $999.
Third Premise – Chrome OS relies on Cloud Computing, Downloaded software is where it is at….
“Chrome OS is unique, because it puts the emphasis on the browser. In fact, that’s essentially what it is — an operating system that makes use of Web-based applications rather than downloaded software.
… Android does the opposite: It has more than 100,000 apps in its marketplace, which users download and store directly on their device.”
Third Premise Issues to us ‘Locals’
Are there more Android apps then web-based applications? Is reliance on the new cloud computing model vs. the current downloaded software model a detriment?
There’s more to make you wander about CNN Money’s conclusion that Google Chrome OS is dead. In the article a quote is given by an analyst from the respected Gartner Inc. A quick Wikipedia lookup reveals the following stellar prognostications from Gartner –
“In October 2006, Gartner issued a statement that they believed Apple Computer should abandon its hardware business, instead licensing it to alternative PC manufacturers such as Dell. In December 2006, Gartner made the prediction that blogging activity would reach a peak during 2007,] and that Windows Vista would be the last major release of the operating system.”
Conclusions? It is doubtful Google Chrome OS is dead. Perhaps a more grandiose conclusion would be to stay away from the bright shiny Big Media types – listen to the locals.