March 12, 2010 at 1:56 pm
Google ‘s Chrome operating system is not expected to launch until the second half later this year. Many question marks over OS remain, however what we do know is that Chrome OS will be heavily cloud based and Google is likely to dictate hardware requirements for devices running it.
Whilst the requirements are under wraps for now, it is believed to include relatively high performance graphics, SSDs and accelerometers. This has led Bob O’Donnell, VP of clients and displays at International Data Corp, to say that Chrome OS smartbooks will be even more expensive than Microsoft Windows-based netbooks. “PC OEMs say the hardware requirements—still under NDA–will make the systems actually more expensive than a Windows device, yet they don’t have anywhere near the applications support,” O’Donnell said.
He also questions Chrome OS’ online-only use, especially since as many as 40 percent of Wintel netbook owners use their devices offline around 40 percent of the time. “There’s a serious challenge for Chrome, and I don’t think people will like it,” he said. O’Donnell is bearish on smartbooks in general, mainly as people will want to use familiar applications as in the desktop Windows environment.
“Clamshell systems need Windows or Mac OS because if a system looks like a notebook people want it to act like one. I think there are interesting opportunities for ARM with specialized devices because they can have a proprietary OS kernel and other elements. That’s an area ARM will have opportunities, but the x86 owns multipurpose systems,” O’Donnell said.
He says that smartbook sales will not exceed 2m units by 2011. In contrast, tablet devices will ship as many as 16m, whilst e-readers should reach 6m units. Netbooks will continue to see strong growth, IDC expects 45m units shipped by 2011.