Thursday, May 12, 2011 3:36 PM
Can a netbook be just a browser? According to Google, it can and so enters Chromebook on June 15, 2011. Nothing but a piece of hardware that runs the Chrome browser with Adobe Flash support. Google has created an App Marketplace for Chrome, from where apps can be ‘Installed’ on the browser. Most are mere shortcuts to existing websites. Once installed the app gets pinned to the start page (a fancy way of displaying favorites/bookmarks). Some do plugin into the toolbars and others are extensions.
It is supposed to boot up in 8 secs. No patching (as there is no OS). No need for an Antivirus as no other executable application runs on the machine other than the browser. The browser automatically updates itself. Most applications do not need updates as they are merely shortcuts to websites. Security issues are drastically reduced as there is no local storage (yes, that is correct) except the media card reader (probably for transferring pictures and the like to the cloud storage). The cloud is the storage. That also helps in deployment (no data to backup or transfer).
This does raise some questions:
What about Android and its future? Android phones and tablets are getting pretty popular and poised to lead the industry toppling Apple. Will this not fragment the market for Google, even if Google continues supporting both types of devices?
What does one do when there is no network connectivity? Yes, rare these days. Even airplanes don’t stop you from being ‘connected’.
Would you rather buy a tablet (iPad or Android) or the Chromebook as both are similarly priced from a consumer perspective?
It will be interesting to see how this product will be received in the market. One thing is certain, that the emphasis here is on the cloud. Will positioning a product solely on a browser and cloud services generate enough sales? Will mindset of the masses change from having to work with complex eco-systems as OS, patches, upgrades and backups to simply relying on the browser & the cloud?