What Will Hardware Partners Do?

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-21 Print this article Print

Gartner analyst Ray Valdes wonders how serious potential hardware partners will be about Chrome OS. Will netbook makers use Chrome OS as a bargaining chip to get better deals on Windows operating system licenses from Microsoft?

Chrome OS is also another validation of Google's broad strategy to disrupt the computing markets it enters. It's done it in search, it's doing it in mobile with Android, and now, in general computing.

It was clear from reporters' reactions to Google's pledge to abstain from offering local applications on Chrome OS netbooks; several media members asked Pichai if Google would depart from this stated strategy. Pichai did not waver; only Web apps need apply for Chrome OS.  

Indeed, Valdes said Google is trying to redefine the value proposition of netbooks, which have to this point largely been viewed as watered-down versions of laptops -- cheaper but not as good.

"The proposition is that it will be a faster, safer, richer way of accessing the Web than a laptop, or a smartphone," Valdes told eWEEK. "It depends on the execution from not only Google but their hardware partners. If they can do that, netbooks won't be a temporary, transitional hardware category."

Valdes has another valid question: Will the emergence of Chrome OS dilute the value proposition of Android, the company's mobile OS? Or will Android bury Chrome OS, as some suggest.

More broadly, will consumers who already own laptops and smartphones make room for a third computing device? If they do, will they part with their laptop or smartphone?

So many questions, so few answers.

Regardless, Google Chrome OS has a long, hard road ahead of it as it seeks to challenge Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and other Linux distributions that are finding their way in the still largely Windows computing world.


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