Analysts Discuss Chrome OS Netbook from Google
IDC analyst Al Hilwa told eWEEK that consumers are ready to try new things, making it a great time to launch disruptive appliances at the right prices and with the right content and usability. "I would withhold judgment on whether this is a runaway success until I am able to play with one," Hilwa said.Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin told eWEEK that the goal in launching the Nexus One and Chrome OS netbook might be different. For instance, with the Nexus One Google wanted to disrupt the mobile phone market by reducing the role of the carrier. "Consumers already buy their netbooks like other retail products, and carriers play a very small role-our data shows that a paltry 6 percent of netbook owners bought theirs from a carrier-so the same objectives wouldn't seem to apply in this case," Golvin added. In any event, Golvin said Google had better offer good tech support if it sells a Chrome OS netbook, which is likely to be purchased by very tech savvy buyers in the early going. "As the buyer profile becomes more mainstream (if it does), the lack of physical retail outlets where consumers can actually experience the UI and hardware will be more problematic," he added. Google and computer makers face another challenge in spurring adoption for Chrome OS netbooks in the form of tablet computers. Apple's iPad tablet computer has come on so strong that it has spurred Samsung, Archos, ViewSonic and others to build Android tablets to get a piece of that mobile computing action. Tablets are already feasting on netbook share, making Chrome OS machines no safe bet this holiday season.
"My instinct is that there are specific scenarios where this makes sense, but the bar for usability has been set high by Apple and Microsoft in the PC space, so it will be tough for a general-purpose platform to breakthrough."