Chrome OS Will Fight an Uphill Battle

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-12-20 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


  

5. Vendor support is critical 

Chrome OS could be derailed quite quickly without the proper support from vendors. Acer, Samsung, and several other companies currently plan on supporting the operating system, but it's a long-term game. If they don't see the OS selling as well as they would like, they will jump ship. Google must keep that in mind. The sooner it can attract consumer attention to the software platform, the sooner it can limit its chances of seeing Chrome OS become a failure. 

6. Are consumers ready? 

As mentioned, consumers need to decide if using Chrome OS is really necessary. But Google must also consider if the consumer market is ready for its platform. The tech lovers almost certainly are. But what about the mainstream consumer that doesn't follow the tech space so closely? If they're comfortable using Windows or Mac OS X, what would make them want to switch to Chrome OS, a new way of interacting with a computer? It's a question that Google must answer before it sees its Web-based operating system fail. 

7. Software considerations 

When Chrome OS launches, Google is assured that users will be able to access many of the programs they desire from the company's online Chrome app store. However, the operating system won't support Windows applications designed for the desktop, which means enterprise customers will be out. Plus, it might be a hard sell to get consumers to buy apps that won't be as powerful as the desktop alternatives they already paid for. Simply put, when it comes to software compatibility, Chrome OS will fall short. 

8. Hardware concerns 

If there is trouble on the software side with Chrome OS, the issue must also span the hardware market. Windows and Mac OS X users want to be able to connect their USB devices, FireWire-connected products, and other hardware to Chrome OS devices and get them to work. The only problem is, they will only work if hardware vendors get down to making them compatible with Google's software. That could be a tall order for quite some time. It will likely cause some serious concern among consumers. 

9. Android, the competitor

 Chrome OS is designed to be a lightweight operating system at launch, potentially making it effective for customers using netbooks or even tablets. That's fine. But the only issue for Google is that its other operating system, Android, is also capable of running quite well on those devices, which means the search giant could effectively be competing against itself. For its part, Google has said that it doesn't view its two platforms as competitors. But will consumers? Time will tell. 

10. Data plan considerations 

As a Web-based operating system, Chrome OS requires an always-connected experience for users. When using the computer at home, that probably won't be such an issue for consumers with Wi-Fi. But when they venture out of the house, away from Wi-Fi, they will be forced to connect to the Web via 3G, which of course, requires data plan charges. Now, more consumers than ever are paying for data plans nowadays, but that doesn't make the additional cost any more acceptable to the average customer. Simply put, Chrome OS requires a monthly fee to work properly that many customers might take issue with.




 
 
 
 
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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