Google Is Betting Big on Chromebooks

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-05-15 Print this article Print

"We are still unsure why Google is continuing with its Chrome OS rather than rolling its cloud efforts into Android. Chrome is focused on netbooks, which we view as a dying product category," Misek wrote May 13.

No one disputes netbook sales have waned in the advent of Apple's iPad, but there is still a major use case for them, argued Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala.

While tablets hew well to the cloud-computing model, they are largely for media consumption, such as watching movies or playing games, Kerravala wrote in a blog post May 12.

Accordingly, users still rely on laptops, most of which run Windows "built for an era of portability and not mobility with an optimized user experience." The Chromebook, he maintained, offers the accessibility of cloud-hosted content with the comfortable input mechanism of the keyboard.

"Our research is focused around the thesis that the companies that find a way to provide a high-quality, connected user experience will be the long-term winners in this era of pervasive connectivity," Kerravala added. "With that understanding, Chrome OS gives Google a legitimate shot at taking some corporate share from Microsoft."

That has, after all, been one of Google's goals with Google Apps. Now, it has the OS platform and hardware vehicles with which to drive its applications in the cloud.

Misek also noted that Google has still not solved the problem of using Google Apps while offline the way users may do with Microsoft Office.

Indeed, Hilwa noted that eschewing traditional PC applications will narrow the scope of Chromebooks, making them mostly unsuitable for everyday business use at this time.

However, Google Chrome Senior Vice President of Product Management Sundar Pichai noted that offline support for Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar and dozens of other applications are forthcoming.

"I expect hybrid architectures using cloud+offline to be the prevailing norm for a long time to come, and I am going to guess that Windows will start featuring more and more cloud services in its next release," Hilwa added.




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