Google Chrome OS: 10 Major Issues Blocking Its Large-Scale Adoption

NEWS ANALYSIS: Google’s Chrome OS has yet to strongly establish itself with significant share of the OS market since it was officially launched a year ago. And if Google finds ways to overcome the obstacles standing in the way, there is little prospect for future robust growth.

Google€™s Chrome operating system came on the scene last year with hopes of becoming something special in the marketplace. The platform is cloud-based, comes with a slimmed-down interface and, according to Google, can take advantage of the next big trends in the online world. What€™s more, it€™s running on a number of Chromebook models, which are designed to take on Windows-based PCs.
However, so far, Chrome OS has done nothing of the sort. Quite the contrary, the platform has been largely ignored by both consumers and enterprise users. To help change the situation, Google recently announced some updates to its operating system that delivers a more traditional desktop user interface. In addition, two new Chrome OS-based devices launched to ring in the updates. Simply put, Google isn€™t ready to let Chrome OS go down without a fight.
However, even with the updates, Chrome OS and Chromebooks are falling short. Furthermore, there are a number of major issues standing in their way of widespread adoption. Read on to find out why Chrome OS adoption isn€™t going the way Google had planned.
1. Who knows about it?
Easily the biggest issue standing in the way of Chrome OS adoption is that the majority of consumers today just don€™t even know about it. Yes, today€™s tech fans are well-educated on Chrome and its value to customers, but what about the average, mainstream consumer? Until Google can bring the platform to everyone, it won€™t succeed.
2. The updates came too late
There€™s no debating that the recent updates Google announced for Chrome OS €”namely, making it a more Windows-like operating system€”are welcome. However, it€™s important to point out that Chrome OS has been around since last year. It would have been better if Google offered the major update last year when people were hearing about Chrome OS than now, when they€™ve lost interest.
3. Vendors aren€™t promoting them
Samsung, Acer and a few other vendors have signed on to build Chromebooks. The only issue is, they€™ve done little to help Google promote the platform and increase its sales. In fact, they€™ve largely ignored the fact that they€™re selling those devices. That€™s not helpful€”and it€™s something Google will need to address.
4. They€™re hard to find
Go ahead and try to find some Chromebooks on store shelves. Having some trouble? So are the rest of today€™s consumers. For some odd reason, Google decided to make Chromebook availability relatively exclusive, creating a scenario where even interested customers couldn€™t find them. Remember, Google: there€™s no way to earn market share if products aren€™t available to customers.
5. No answer to tablets
If any vendor wants to jump into the mobile-computing space nowadays, they€™ll need to be able to answer a very difficult question: €œWhat makes my product better than a tablet?€ Unfortunately for Google and its vendor partners, they€™ve yet to find a way to coax would-be tablet owners into buying Chromebooks. Until Google changes that situation sales of Chromebooks will remain becalmed.
6. Ultrabooks are all the rage
After Google launched Chrome OS as a platform for lightweight, highly mobile computers, the company was faced with real competition in the form of Ultrabooks. That form factor, which delivers ultrathin and lightweight computing, is widely believed to be the next big thing in the mobile space. Chromebooks, meanwhile, are fated to gather dust on store shelves.
7. The Apple effect
In order to be successful in today€™s mobile market, companies need to find a way around the so-called Apple effect. That effect is what makes the iPad so successful and the MacBook Air a sales juggernaut. It makes the iPhone the top smartphone in the world. Apple is hugely popular among today€™s consumers, and in order to be successful in the mobile market, trying to find a way to trump Apple€™s products is an absolute necessity.
8. A long-term goal that€™s too far out?
Google has said on countless occasions that its ultimate goal is to make Chrome OS a long-term winner in the mobile market. What Google didn€™t anticipate, however, is the reality that today€™s consumers aren€™t willing to wait indefinitely for a platform to be market-ready. The consumer market is ruled by instant gratification. Keeping customers hanging on for years with the eventual goal of seeing Chrome OS maximize its potential just doesn€™t work.
9. The enterprise doesn€™t care
The enterprise could have been Chrome OS€™ gateway to success. After all, the corporate world helped Windows become so successful and Dell relied on Windows to build up its consumer business back in the 1990s. But the enterprise has ignored Chrome OS, creating a scenario whereby Google has to hope consumers will start to take notice. They haven€™t.
10. Young people are driving sales of latest mobile devices

Over the last few years, something rather interesting has happened in the technology industry: younger people have become increasingly likely to determine the fates of products. Those younger people are bringing their products into the office, telling older generations which products to buy and buying their favorite devices in mass. Unfortunately for Google, it has failed to appeal to younger people€”and Chrome OS and Chromebooks have suffered because of it.
Follow Don Reisinger on Twitter by clicking here

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...