Chromebooks and the “Post-PC” Age
The first laptops running on a Google-designed software system will go on sale in 7 countries including Britain and the US later this month. Google is launching its brand new Chromebook (manufactured by Samsung and Acer) on June 15th , and despite some negative media attention, this could have serious implications for the computer market. Essentially just a “dumb terminal”, this machine acts as a portal to cloud-based applications and services, all accessed through the Chrome browser, and represents a major challenge to both Microsoft and Apple.
Most people don't want to deal with the ongoing problems and maintenance issues that come with running a PC and Google are claiming that Chromebooks are removing the “burden of managing a computer”. So is this the perfect time to aggregate applications and services in the cloud, make desktop computing simpler to use, and centralise the security/privacy problem?
No need to back-up your data or ever worry about it
Chromebooks will have keyboards, but no hard drives for storage, operating like computer terminals dependent on a connection to the Internet, and negating the need for a server by utilising cloud computing. Whilst the cloud computing market is growing rapidly (Forrester Research forecast recently report that the global cloud computing market will reach $241billion in 2020 compared to $40.7billion in 2010) and KPMG claims that in 2010, 66% of individuals used cloud services for applications such as email, photo sharing, and video sharing, there are still those who are wary of the technology. The top 2 inhibitors to using cloud computing are lack of awareness and a perceived lack of need by consumers .
Too immature and insecure for adoption?
As the Chromebook is a completely cloud based computer, it is wholly dependent on being connected to the Internet to work properly. Therefore its attractiveness will depend mainly on whether wireless and 3G networks can provide the ubiquity, speed and responsiveness that make a web appliance useable. Although many individuals and companies are benefiting from cloud computing services today, the vast majority of IT professionals view outside-the-firewall cloud infrastructure, software, and services as undeveloped and vulnerable to attack (as Sony has found to its cost).
Convergence Goes Mainstream: Convenience Edges Out Consumer Concerns Over
Privacy and Security – KPMG, July 2010