Some stories emerge and snowball so quickly, that trying to piece them all together in a coherent manner takes a keen ability to make sense of all the developments. There has been a quite a bit about netbooks, low-cost PC notebook computers, in the news recently. Netbooks are experiencing a tremendous growth in sales world-wide. A previous post had detailed how telcoms in India have started bundling these PC’s with long-term mobile data contracts. In North America, Verizon now offers a sub-$200 netbook for it’s mobile data subscribers.
From GigaOm, news of a new entrant to the market and the dramatic rise in netbook sales:
Nokia plans to launch an ARM-based netbook that relies on the Google-pioneered Android mobile operating system in 2010, writes Lazard Capital Markets analyst Daniel Amir in a research note issued this morning. In the same note, he predicts that the total number of netbooks sold worldwide will reach 25 million in 2009 vs. 10 million in 2008
… called the Google Chrome Operating System, is initially intended for use in the tiny, low-cost portable computers known as netbooks, which have been selling quickly even as demand for other PCs has plummeted. Google said it believed the software would also be able to power full-size PCs.
The move brings Google into more heated competition with its key rival, Microsoft. Windows software has a virtual monopoly on how users interact with and use personal computers, but things are about to change:
Google’s plans for the new operating system fit its Internet-centric vision of computing. Google believes that software delivered over the Web will play an increasingly central role, replacing software programs that run on the desktop. In that world, applications run directly inside an Internet browser, rather than atop an operating system, the standard software that controls most of the operations of a PC.
The Google vision for the future of computing is a direct threat to Microsoft’s lucrative business of selling operating systems and applications that run on personal computers. Netbooks have very quickly emerged as a platform that will dramatically alter the shape of computing in the future. In emerging markets, they will play an even more crucial role in helping get technology and Internet access into the hands of the average user.