Speculation Mounts: Google Chrome Netbook?
Is Google mulling a more aggressive move into the hardware market with a range of partners? Could Google’s Chrome OS set the stage for a Google Netbook? Buzz about a potential Google Netbook seems to be growing. But will Google really make the move — and what are the implications for solutions providers?
So let’s look at a Chrome OS. Personally, I think Google’s apparent strategy so far has been brilliant: launch the OS early, get people to build support and fix bugs and build the community. Then, when all the code is tidy, and the demand is brimming, launch the most rock solid netbook ever created. That’s a pretty groovy plan, and it could be a huge hit. In a way, Google’s already done this. They’ve made Android a success and built the community around so-so phones. Then they go out and build their own phone, the Nexus One. Just poke around the web for the very confirmed rumors. It’ll be here soon or later.
Now, the official word from Google is that they been working with a number of technology companies to design and build devices that deliver an “extraordinary end user experience.” And these companies include Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, HP, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Toshiba. But TechCrunch is also reporting its more than speculation — in fact — tech specs are blueprinted and Google is looking into manufacturing for a 2010 launch.
And so that’s where PC World steps in with their speculation. They’re looking at Google’s strategy as another Apple. In this case, another vertical computer company. I couldn’t say it better myself:
Venturing into Google-branded hardware, and working so closely with the hardware manufacturers on design specifications, sounds like a strategy straight from the Apple playbook. Perhaps that isn’t a coincidence. Until recently Google execs were active on the Apple board of directors, so they are familiar with Apple strategy.
By developing hardware that is specifically designed to maximize the potential that Android and/or the Chrome operating system are capable of, Google can manage the user experience and help ensure the success of those platforms. It is a similar strategy to the way Apple controls the software development and hardware platforms for its products, like the iPhone and the Mac, to protect the user experience.
So there you have it. With 2010 expected to be the year of the Netbook and Tablet, this could be Google’s big coup. PCWorld disagrees with me, but just look at Google’s entire product line up. It’s an exciting time to be watching the computer industry. All this mobile technology and software, just when Microsoft pretty much figured out how to make a regular operating system. Ironic, isn’t it?
Hardware as a Service
For solutions providers, Netbooks represent a potential path into the hardware as a service (HaaS) market. With HaaS, customers pay a monthly fee for their hardware (netbooks, notebooks, desktops, servers, network infrastructure) rather than outright purchasing the hardware.
Already, we’ve seen big cellular service providers offer “free” netbooks with wireless contracts. We expect the trend to increasingly include notebooks and maybe even desktops. At the same time, upstarts like CharTec and MSP on Demand are promoting HaaS approaches to VARs and managed service providers. True believers include MSPs like Everon Technology Services.
Could a Google Chrome netbook strategy eventually spill over into the HaaS market? Too early to say. But we’re watching.