Chrome Taps the Web's Power

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-02-03 Print this article Print

5. Google Knows How to Make Touch Work

As the company's Android platform has shown, Google can be successful at delivering a touch experience to users. In fact, a recent update to the software on its Nexus One smartphone provides users with multitouch options. Google is arguably the only company that has come close to re-creating the iPhone's outstanding multitouch experience. If it brings that technology to a Chrome OS tablet, Apple might be faced with a real contender.

6. Apple's iPad Isn't Groundbreaking

Although Steve Jobs wants the world to believe that the iPad is revolutionary on all fronts, it really isn't. There are other tablets on the market that can boast several of the iPad's features. We also can't forget that the device lacks multitasking, it requires AT&T's 3G to connect to the Web away from Wi-Fi, and it lacks Flash support. The iPad is hobbled by its omissions, which could pave the way for a Chrome OS tablet to steal market share away from Apple.

7. The Web Is the App Store

One of the iPad's main advantages is Apple's App Store. At last count, the company's marketplace had over 140,000 applications available for download. It's certainly a competitive advantage that won't be easily matched. But Chrome OS might have the best shot at it. The operating system doesn't necessarily require so many apps, since the Web is its app store. Users can surf to Pandora to listen to music and can go to Facebook to check in on friends. If they want sports updates, they can head over to ESPN. Apps wouldn't be as important on a Chrome OS tablet as they are on the iPad.

8. The Built-In Software Is Just Fine

When Apple unveiled the iPad, the company also talked about a revamped iWork that would allow consumers to use the productivity suite on the tablet. The only problem is, iWork isn't the most viable Office alternative. And thanks to the iPad's functionality, it might suffer from some design issues. Google Docs is a different story. It's widely recognized as the best Web-based Office alternative on the market. And based on my experience with both products, Google's software is far better. That might not matter to entertainment seekers, but to enterprise users, Google Docs could make all the difference in their choice between an iPad and Chrome OS tablet.

9. It Could Hit the Right Price Point

Google has specifically designed Chrome OS to be lightweight and affordable. That could help Chrome OS tablets hit a price point that would make the iPad look expensive. Admittedly, $499 for an iPad is a great price. But let's not forget that that version features no 3G and has the smallest available hard drive. The best value is arguably a few hundred dollars more expensive. Thanks to Google, Chrome OS could be offered at a much cheaper price.

10. Ubiquity Is Key

Chrome OS has one advantage that might prove to be Apple's biggest obstacle: It can run on any vendor's computer. Apple's software will run only on the iPad, meaning consumers have just one option if they want to run Apple's OS. But if consumers opt for Chrome OS, they could conceivably choose between several alternatives from vendors ranging from Dell to HP to Lenovo. That's important. The more vendors that offer Chrome OS, the more likely the market will try it out. If users like what they see, they might just opt for a Chrome OS machine, rather than an iPad.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, 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

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