10 Reasons Why Google Chrome Might Fail Without Tablet Success

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-06-03 Print this article Print

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5. Simplicity is nice-for tablets

Chrome OS is simple. But that's a good thing. A key component in Google's strategy must be marketing. It needs to make the case to consumers that its operating system is worth using. It can do that by calling upon the simplicity of Chrome OS in all of its marketing efforts. In the netbook space, such a marketing scheme wouldn't work so well, since Windows is so capable. But iPhone OS is relatively simple too. And it's what consumers expect in the tablet space. Chrome OS' simplicity could be the "hook" it needs to stay relevant in the market.

6. Money plays a part

Consumers only have a finite amount of cash to spend on any one gadget. And although the iPad is more expensive than most of the netbooks on the market, they don't seem to care. They want the product that, in their mind, would offer the best bang for the buck. That should tell Google all that it needs to know about the netbook market. Try as it might to revive that space, consumers are now looking for something different. And they're only willing to spend their money on one product. In the netbook space, Chrome OS might not have a chance at getting that cash. In the tablet market, it just might. Google needs to put itself in the right position.

7. The Web isn't enough

Yes, it would be nice to be able to use an operating system that provides Web access, but it's not enough to revive the netbook market. Consumers are looking for more than a small, lightweight notebook that costs a few hundred bucks. They want to be able to use their fingers to control what's happening on a device. The Internet is just one small component in what consumers would like to see in a Chrome OS device. Google needs to come to grips with the fact that if its Web-based operating system is to get off the ground, it needs to work with vendors and deliver tablet functionality.

8. Android and Chrome can work together

There might be an opportunity for Google to offer both of its operating systems to tablet makers. The reason is simple: Android OS is a mobile operating system. And although it can be adapted to work with tablets, it was first designed with smartphones in mind. Chrome OS wasn't. That operating system is designed for full-fledged computers. It can offer something different and unique that Android can't. So while Chrome OS could eventually cannibalize Android sales, it's important to realize that they both could work in the tablet market. The same can't be said in the netbook space.

9. Consumers see it as an unknown

One of the biggest issues facing Chrome OS in the netbook market is that it's relatively unknown. That only hurts its chances of being a success in that space. But in the tablet market, the unknown is all that consumers have. Yes, the iPad has been on store shelves for about two months now, so consumers know about it, but every other product will be a mystery. That could play into Google's hands and give its operating system a better shot at competing. The tablet market is a bit more forgiving than the netbook space. Google should welcome that.

10. What else is there?

When it comes to Chrome OS, Google is all out of options. The netbook market is dying, the operating system isn't ready for desktops and notebooks, and the future is a big question mark for Web-based operating systems. If Google doesn't try its luck in the tablet space and do what it can to be successful, Chrome OS will almost undoubtedly fail. And although Google will still try its luck on desktops and notebooks eventually, getting off on the wrong foot is never a good thing for any software package. Google needs to focus its time on tablets. If it doesn't, Chrome OS might be destined to fail before it's even released.  

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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