Dell, which already has Android-based smartphones in China, will reportedly be releasing a ChromeOS “laptop” in the not-too-distant future. That future is likely “holiday 2010,” when the first ChromeOS netbooks/laptops in general will be out. Dell says it wants to be “one of the leaders” with Android and Chrome devices.
The previously announced ChromeOS hardware partners are Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments. You can now add Dell to that list. (Dell, currently the number two global PC maker by a hair, has a “default search”/toolbar deal with Microsoft. Would that apply to ChromeOS netbooks?)
One of the interesting things since ChromeOS was announced in early 2009 and sort of re-announced late last year is that the market has changed considerably. In the interim the direction of computing has become a lot more mobile.
That has raised the question of the relationship between ChromeOS and Android on devices. As an aside Google TV is based on Android, not Chrome. This and other perceived Android momentum has caused some to proclaim that Android has “won.”
Then there’s the iPad — and its forthcoming rivals and imitators. The iPad is having much the same effect on the broader market that the iPhone had on smartphones. Android, rather than Chrome, is poised to be the chief beneficiary of all the hardware OEMs that want/need to bring out tablets to compete with the iPad.
In addition there’s some evidence that argues the iPad is “cannibalizing” netbook sales, and that the tablet category as a whole as it grows and evolves will continue to do so. So as Google and its hardware partners prepare to release ChromeOS netbooks (or “inter-nebooks” as perhaps they should be called) there’s a question of how much demand and what the market outlook will be for these machines.
If Google and its partners produce well-built PCs at the right price there will likely be buyers for them. However that previously and apparently solid market opportunity is now complicated by five categories of devices: Desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets and smartphones.