Android, Google’s mobile operating system and Apple’s (News - Alert) iOS have about the same market share in the U.S., however in emerging regions, Android is poised to dominate, at least for the next couple of years. It seems that it is with this in mind that Google (News - Alert) is making a push to get people to use its Chrome operating system, which powers its Chromebook laptops.
Chrome OS is an operating system based on the Linux kernel and designed by Google to work with web applications, as well as installed applications. Initially, Chrome OS was mostly a pure web thin client operating system, with only a handful of native applications, however, Google gradually began encouraging developers to create packaged applications, some of which can work offline.
Earlier this week, Google announced a couple of new products designed to promote Chrome OS. One of the products does not even require you to own a laptop, or PC. I am referring to the Asus Chromebit. This is a small device that looks like a larger version of a flash drive which can turn any monitor with an HDMI video port into a workable computer.
Chromebit will allow you to connect to a Wi-Fi network and run Google's Chrome browser. From here you can check Gmail or watch YouTube (News - Alert) through Google's Chrome OS. You will need everything but the PC, as long as you have an HDMI monitor, wireless keyboard, mouse and of course the Internet connection.
Google feels that this type of device will be appreciated by someone in an Internet cafe in an area such as Indonesia who has to rely on older equipment, but still would like to get a faster Internet connection. The price is affordable as it should sell for under $100 and will be available sometime this summer.
There will also be several new laptops available with Chrome OS. Asus will have an all metal device that is being billed as a cross between a tablet and a laptop with a price tag of just under $250. In addition, we can also expect to see two new laptops from Hisense (News - Alert), a Chinese multinational white goods and electronics manufacturer and Haier, a Chinese multinational consumer electronics and home appliances company, which will cost $149.
According to a blog posting, the motivating force behind these two new laptops is the feeling that “You shouldn't have to choose between a computer that performs well and one that you can afford.” The Haier Chromebook 11 will be available through Amazon, while the Hisense Chromebook will be available at Walmart.
As Caesar Sengupta, a vice president of product management at Google, said "Our goal is not just to sell some of these products, but to make computing accessible to more people." Of course, without an Internet connection, there will not be much of a chance to use these new products. Toward that end, you may recall that last year Google was playing with the idea of using blimps and balloons to create Internet connectivity in rural and remote locations.
I mentioned earlier how Android (News - Alert) is popular in emerging markets. This is due to the fact that by working with the functionality of the OS, Android phones can be made that are high-quality with a low-cost factor. Google is attempting to do the same with Chrome OS.
In the bigger picture, once the operating system is accepted, it stands to follow that if you are running Chrome OS, you will also be using Gmail and Google Docs as your office suite. This makes classrooms and emerging markets like India and Thailand a good starting point.