An analyst said this week that Google Chrome operating system imposes so many expensive requirements for hardware that smartbooks featuring the OS will end up being more expensive than Microsoft Windows-based netbooks with Intel Atom or similar AMD microprocessors. Another problem is that smartbooks should always be online, which is inconvenient.
Apparently, Google demands that smartbooks running Chrome include relatively high performance graphics, accelerometers and other sensors in addition to hardware already installed into typical notebooks, reports EETimes web-site. The additional hardware will make those systems more expensive than those based on Microsoft Windows despite of the fact that ARM architecture-based microprocessors may be less expensive than Atom chips.
“There's a serious challenge for Chrome, and I don't think people will like it. PC OEMs say the hardware requirements – still under NDA – will make the systems actually more expensive than a Windows device, yet they don't have anywhere near the applications support,” said Bob O'Donnell, vice president of client s and displays at IDC.
Even though Google Chrome and ARM do not seem to have a lot of opportunities in the smartbook field, they may have a chance with various mobile Internet devices, such as slate-type computers. In addition, ARM already powers a lot of specialized systems and overtime their amount will only get bigger.
“I think there are interesting opportunities for ARM with specialized devices because they can have a proprietary OS kernel and other elements. That's an area ARM will have opportunities, but the x86 owns multipurpose systems,” said Mr. O'Donnell.
IDC forecasts that notebooks and smartphones will both ship in volumes of more than 240 million units a year by 2011. Tablet devices will be the most successful of a range of in-between devices shipping as many as 16 million units in 2011. Electronic books will be a distant second at 6 million units in 2011, according to IDC. By contrast, ARM-based smartbooks will not exceed two million units a year by 2011 and MIDs are already on the decline with sales of far less than a million units.