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Portable device market will want tablets not netbooks

Comment by Craig Skinner, Senior Consultant at Ovum

With employees and consumers starting to use multiple devices, there is an associated trend to store information and services in the cloud to be available across the set of devices rather than confined to the traditional desktop. Google’s Chrome OS looks to take advantage of this trend by removing the non-essential functions from a portable device to focus on just accessing the information and services.

Chrome OS is not the only platform Google has targeted at the portable device market. Google of course has positioned its Android OS for tablets and smartphones, and it is doing very well in the latter. While there is currently a difference in focus between Chrome OS and Android, it is likely these will converge over time.

While the pilot CR-48 device and the devices announced by Acer and Samsung for mid-2011 are notebooks, the functionality level of Chrome OS positions it more against tablets rather than general use notebooks and netbooks, which will still appeal to those who still require client side applications. Tablet like devices using Chrome OS will need to follow in the second half of 2011 if the platform is to be successful.

Whether Google likes it or not, its former ‘partner’ Apple has all of the current mind share on web connected devices with its iPad tablet – a product that has seriously dented the netbook market. Apple has the jump on Google in this market, and it will have a second version of the iPad with an updated version of its own iOS before Chrome is officially released to the world in the second half of 2011.

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