Google’s Chrome notebook is likely to hit the markets early in 2011. A pilot version is already operating.
Price: not determined yet, but likely around US$200
Functionality: 12″ screen, full keyboard and web browser: primarily a wireless only machine
Applications and storage: mainly in the cloud (well, it is a Google product)
Security: high – more difficult than laptops or desktops to hack
Battery life: Similar to iPad, i.e. seriously long.
For an excellent analysis of the pros and cons of the Chrome see:
Rothman, W. (2010) Why Google’s Chrome will succeed Innovation on msnbc.com, December 20
Why a game-changer?
See: Joshua Kim (2010) The B.R.I.C.I.’s, Higher Ed, & the Chrome Laptop Inside Higher Education, December 9
Joshua argues that:
The Chrome is a leapfrog tool, perfect for the people of the emerging world who are currently on mobile phones (having skipped landlines), and will soon be in the market for an affordable computer. Over the next 40 years, the vast majority of the growth in higher ed will be concentrated in the emerging world – in the B.R.I.C.I.’s (Brazil, Russia, India, China, Indonesia) and their neighborhoods. It is in these countries where the important innovations in higher education will also emerge.
There are lots of reasons why the Chrome may not make it. Rothman’s article gives a comprehensive risk analysis. Competition in the notebook field is fierce, and Google doesn’t always get the market right (e.g. Google Wave).
However, I’m with Joshua Kim here. It’s not going to be in North America but in the BRIC countries where the growth in IT technology markets as well as in innovation in higher education is going to be over the next 10 years, and the Chrome looks like a perfect fit for this market.