Could Chrome OS revive slumping netbook numbers?

Could Chrome OS revive slumping netbook numbers?

Summary: Google's new Chrome operating system will be out later this year. With XP in decline, has the netbook playing field opened up to increase success in the neglected device range?

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The student market is not exactly flush with netbook users, while others agree that the entire netbook market barely took off in the first place. But with Google's Chrome OS due for 'hardware release' and thus wide general availability later this year, this could turn the now device-in-decline into the next big thing.

There is almost no doubt in my mind, to the point where if I were a betting man I would place a large quantity of my savings on this, that Windows will never be overtaken until Microsoft ceases to produce newer versions of the operating system.

Though, avid users of the Android mobile operating system with hopes that it will be ported to the desktop will be disappointed, as Google's vice-president of product management, Sundar Pichai, states that Android and Chrome are "two separate operating systems" with Android firmly in the mobile market.

The vast majority of today's students can identify only two desktop operating systems: Windows and Mac, and Google will have one hell of a time to dent that already firm impression. Many are still unaware that Android has anything to do with Google, giving the company a difficult typecast to break through.

However two major upsides to the declining netbook figures is that, as sales continue to decline the cheaper they will become - which is already very cheap for the main benefit of day-long battery life, but also that Chrome OS is open-source and therefore free and at no additional cost to the user; a vital characteristic for often cash stripped students.

Google's focus is on netbooks at the moment, though today's announcement shows that Chrome OS will not be mutually exclusive to the netbook market but notebooks and fully-fledged laptops, perhaps desktops also.

But Windows XP takes up a huge portion of netbook operating systems. Microsoft will cut off buying the ageing operating system for downgrade in 2011 to make way for Windows 7's prominence, which will no doubt overshadow the release of Chrome OS. The sooner XP is out of the picture, that is when Google can make their move and attempt to take the netbook market by storm.

Though, netbook users will know full right that Vista on a netbook is like throwing mud into a Formula 1 engine. Windows 7 makes up for Vista's memory-hogging and bloatedness, but XP still rightfully takes precedent.

All Google has to do is now convince the student market that their Google Chrome OS is suitable and compatible with their lifestyle. Search, I can understand. Apps, which include email and collaboration access, may not be such an incentive seeing as Microsoft is snapping up more of its demographic by the minute.

I doubt whether Google can make Chrome OS a viable replacement for this albeit growing online subculture, but with Windows XP out of the way it is a level playing field for anyone wanting to take a share.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Operating Systems

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61 comments
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  • RE: Could Chrome OS revive slumping netbook numbers?

    Nope.
    Loverock Davidson
    • ChokemOS = dud

      The fact that hardware vendors are clearly more interested in building Android tablets than this ChokemOS netbooks says it all.

      But there is a way to instantly turn the corner for this dead horse: Add a SilverLight plug-in to it, and I guarantee its potential to succeed will increase by 10 folds.
      LBiege
  • Probally not, since netbooks are availalbe

    with both Windows and Linux as options and are still showing declining sales.

    It's not what running on them, it's what they are that is the factor in reference to slowing sales.
    John Zern
    • Chrome is based on Linux, but, the consumer will only know it is Google OS.

      And, Chrome OS runs Arm, giving manufacturers another option to cut cost, extend battery life, and reduce heat.
      DonnieBoy
      • Doesn't change the fact that the OS isn't the reason

        that people aren't buying netbooks near the numbers they where in the past.

        A great many people really don't want netbooks anymore, no matter what OS is on it.
        John Zern
      • Well, before they did not have the option of Google branded with longer

        battery life, cheaper, faster booting and faster running.
        DonnieBoy
      • DB, That Google brand hasn't helped sell

        the Nexus One, And it really isn't used all that much at all in many of the Android based phone ads I've seen beyond the requirement instilled by Google itself to be able to use the software.

        Putting the Google brand on a netbook won't be much of a factor at all beyond the initial curiosity of the device/OS
        John Zern
      • People buying Android phones, know that the OS is made by Google. All in

        all, the combination of a Linux OS, the Google brand, has allowed Android to jump ahead of iPhone in a very short time. The problem with the Nexus one was the business model of selling it online, once HTC re-introduced it as the Droid Incredible available at Verizon stores, it has been very hot.
        DonnieBoy
      • Most people don't know that Android is from Google

        Maybe on these sites they do, the techies , but I checked before posting: My boss didn't know who made his Android OS, our salesguy didn't, and the only other person who has an Android based phone had no idea what Android was.

        Most people just want an iPhone like device that doesn't require an AT&T contract, and some just don't want an iPhone at all.

        Google's name has absolutelly no leverage in relation to sales.
        John Zern
      • Yes, users know very well that Android is made by Google. The branding is

        very prominent, and the Google icons are all over. The Google branding is part of why they have passed iPhone.
        DonnieBoy
  • The biggest factor might be Arm based netbooks running Chrome OS, as they

    will be cheaper, faster booting and faster running, longer batter life, less heat.
    DonnieBoy
    • RE: Could Chrome OS revive slumping netbook numbers?

      @DonnieBoy ... you could say all those things about Ubuntu as well. No matter which OS, it's hard to justify paying $299 for a single-core netbook with 1GB of RAM, 160GB of HDD, and a 10" screen of you can get a fully functional dual-core notebook with 3GB+ of RAM, a 160GB+ HDD, and a 15" screen for $350+.
      M Wagner
      • RE: Could Chrome OS revive slumping netbook numbers?

        @mwagner@... unless the price is the reason you got a netbook.
        CobraA1
      • RE: Could Chrome OS revive slumping netbook numbers?

        @mwagner@...

        Agreed! Net books should be a helluva lot cheaper. Perhaps PC makers are afraid of cannibalizing their PC and Laptop sales if they were to release a cheaper net book.

        I see a potential where net books cost under $100, or maybe even under $50, and where they would be as ubiquitous as pocket calculators.
        hamobu-22333136139518773481685514128812
  • RE: Could Chrome OS revive slumping netbook numbers?

    Google learned that cell phones can't be sold direct, but netbooks certainly can be sold direct. You do need a big name recognition factor to see in this market, and google brings this to the table. Look for a big deal with Walmart and Target for the Christmas season...
    tburzio
    • It will be interesting to see if Google sells them or not. I think they

      would be better off with a partner, and maybe subsidizing them, but not selling them directly.
      DonnieBoy
  • Doubtful

    Netbooks are stagnant because the market wants more functionality than they offer, not less.
    Lester Young
    • Or, maybe they want cheaper, lighter, longer battery life, faster booting.

      NT
      DonnieBoy
      • Cheaper? Linux is already free, Windows 15 dollars

        more, if that. ARm won't extend that battery life all that much more, and faster booting is meaningless if it still boots to an underperforming computer.
        John Zern
      • There have not been mass market Arm netbooks yet. The iPad has shown that

        you do not need Windows or x86 on portable devices if the UI is done right, and you have the brand.

        But, you get rid of the bloated OS, and the inefficient processor, and you can have GREAT performance, and LONGER battery life. Chrome OS Arm based devices will be screamers that sip energy.
        DonnieBoy