Google recently announced that it had begun work on a computer operating system that might accelerate interest in the popular mobile Internet device market.
Mobile Internet devices (MIDs), which are sometimes called netbooks, are physically small and application-lite laptop computers designed specially to access the Internet over wireless protocols.
MIDs have been growing in popularity with some 21 million of the small Internet appliances expected to be sold in 2009. MIDs, which often lack many customary computer applications, are expected to have a major impact on ecommerce as more consumers use MIDs to shop on the go, without firing up the “big” computer.
How the Google OS Might Impact MIDs
In spite of stellar growth, MIDs are often consider too expensive ($250 to $800) for what they do, since they are typically not as powerful as a “real” computer nor as mobile and convenient as an iPhone. And many MIDs run on the somewhat geeky Linux OS that many consumers find just plan unfamiliar.
The proposed Google Chrome OS could be a game changer that helps MIDs hurdle price and familiarity challenges.
Although many MIDs were originally released with the aforementioned Linux OS, consumers rebelled and demanded Windows XP. Microsoft’s XP OS is more expensive than Linux and may be a significant contributor to the MID costs.
The Google Chrome OS will be free, which means that MIDs running on the Chrome OS could be significantly less expensive.
The Google Chrome OS will be familiar. Unless things at Google change radically, the Chrome OS is very likely to follow the company’s austere and minimalist design aesthetic, meaning that it will be familiar to the millions of consumers who regularly use other Google products like Gmail, AdWords, or Google Docs.
In theory, the Chrome OS might speed interest in MIDs, opening the door for more mobile ecommerce, and, perhaps, encourage design changes on ecommerce sites.
What’s Known About the Google Chrome OS
Using “The Official Google Blog” as a platform, the Google vice president of product management, Sundar Pichai, and the Google engineering director, Linus Upson, announced the Chrome OS product on June 7, 2009.
Pichai and Linus said that the company had decided to announce the project for two reasons. First, they had already begun to have conversations with MID manufacturers so news was going to get out anyway. Second, Google intends to make the Chrome OS open source and they wanted to get developers excited enough to create lots of Chrome OS-related applications.
According to a published report, Google is already partnering with Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Lenovo, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, QUALCOMM, and HP to implement the Chrome OS in 2010.
What Isn’t Known About the Google Chrome OS
What still remains to be seen is whether or not the Chrome OS will actually be a real challenge to Microsoft’s OS supremacy. Also, Google has “under designed” some of its products. Gmail, for example, doesn’t render HTML emails well.