Presuming everything is going to plan then Samsung and Acer will be releasing their Google ChromeOS computers in about two months time. The first ChromeOS computers were planned for release by mid-2011 and mid‑2011 is only eight weeks away now.
It is going to be very interesting to see how the market reacts to these new computing devices. It is getting sort of confusing with so many different computer devices available now.
Tablets: By the end of the year there are going to be over 60 different tablet computing devices on the marker running five different operating systems if you don’t count Windows 7.
At the moment the clear leader in this group is the Apple iPad with its iOS operating system but if the computer research companies have got it right Apple’s iPad will begin to lose its position as early as late 2012 with tablets running Google’s Android operating system making heavy inroads.
Netbooks: Then there are the netbooks running mainly Windows 7 and Linux. Netbooks did so well in 2008 and 2009 but dropped off significantly in 2010. Industry commentators seem to be putting the blame for the drop in netbooks sales down to a combination of market saturation for netbooks and the popularity of the Apple iPad.
Notebooks: There is also the ever popular notebook—both the PC notebooks and the Apple notebooks. Notebooks have become truly amazing over the last couple of years. Now available with SSDs (solid state disks) instead of traditional hard disks so they are so much faster. They boot faster and they run faster because one of the biggest performance bottlenecks for notebooks was the slow old hard disk. Not any more with SSDs. SSDs are 50 to 200 times faster than a hard disk, and they use less power so that’s another bonus; the notebook runs longer on battery.
Screens and graphics cards in notebooks have also improved along the way making them interesting to even gamers who demand the absolute best from screens and graphics cards.
The built-in screens on many higher-end notebooks now have sufficient resolution and colour quality to be used for serious photo-editing. Whereas only a couple of years ago if you wanted to use a notebook for serious post processing of digital photographs you needed to connect an external high-resolution screen with suitable real-estate (room on the screen).
Desktop PCs: At the top end of town you have the basic ‘desktop’ computer. Still by far the highest selling form of PC, although some forecasters have announced that 2011 is the last year of the desktop PC and that starting 2012 the demise of the desktop PC will commence.
One factor that has kept desktop PC numbers so high is what might be called the ‘corporate standards effect’. But the view is that starting in 2011, and picking up steam in 2012, corporations will move more and more away from the desktop PC as the preferred standard unit for employees and swing over to notebooks. In the past large companies have more or less worked on a ratio of around 6:1 for desktop PCs to notebook PCs. This was due to the cost of purchasing notebook computers, the relative performance of notebook computers, and, even more so, to the cost of supporting notebook computers—which traditionally had a three year support loading of around 2.5x to 3.0x when compared to the cost of supporting a desktop PC.
Smartphones: Smartphone have become another type of computing device. Smartphones can browse the Web and run applications. Apart from the restrictions brought about by the screen size most smartphones can perform many of the same functions as tablet computers.
So where will ChromeOS computers fit in?
So, with all these computing device options that are already available the question I am mulling over is where will the new—soon to be available from a store near you—Google ChromeOS computers fit in? Obviously Google see a future for them. So must Samsung and Acer, and the other Google partners who have decided to manufacture and bring out ChromeOS computers.
Personally I am just not seeing a slot for a completely new computing device for which the operating system is basically a Web browser on steroids and it needs to be connected to the Internet in order to do anything (from what I can tell). But then I never picked the tablet computer to become so popular as fast as it did either.