SANTA CLARA, Calif. Mobile systems using Google's Chrome software will be more expensive than competing mini-notebooks using Intel processors and Microsoft Windows, according to one analyst. That's one reason why Chrome will not be successful in an expanding mobile systems market that will see multiple winners, said Bob O'Donnell, vice president of client s and displays at International Data Corp.
Google's requirements for systems using Chrome include relatively high performance graphics, accelerometers and other sensors. "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," O'Donnell said in a talk at Directions 2010 here.
In addition, Chrome is designed for online use only. However, users of Wintel-based netbooks report they use their systems offline as much as 40 percent of the time. In addition, Chrome runs all applications in a browser, an approach O'Donnell said others have tried but has not worked.
"There's a serious challenge for Chrome, and I don't think people will like it," he said.
O'Donnell was also skeptical about ARM's chances of breaking into any mainstream mobile computing systems such as netbooks and notebooks. "Clamshell systems need Windows or Mac OS because if a system looks like a notebook people want it to act like one," he said.
"I think there are interesting opportunities for ARM with specialized devices because they can have a proprietary OS kernel and other elements," O'Donnell said. "That's an area ARM will have opportunities, but the x86 owns multipurpose systems," he added.
Notebooks and smartphones will continue to be the most successful mobile systems, both shipping in volumes of more than 240 million units a year by 2011, IDC predicts.
Tablet devices will be the most successful of a range of in-between devices shipping as many as 16 million units in 2011. E-books will be a distant second at 6 million units in 2011.
By contrast, ARM-based smartbooks will not exceed two million units a year by 2011 and so-called mobile Internet devices are already on the decline with sales of far less than a million units, IDC forecasts.
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