Why Google Wants 3G On Your Netbook
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While two of netbooks’ main selling points are ultimate portability and accessibility, a woeful minority of netbooks actually get 3G internet. As I argued a few weeks ago on ASK NBB, 3G is often the crucial step that changes a cheap, small, laptop into a full fledged netbook.
As technology improves, netbooks could throw off the shackles of the pre-3G era sooner than we think. But what will that mean for the industry?
According to iSuppli, 3G netbook sales will hit 17.8 million units this year, up from 443,000 in 2007, That number could be even higher by 2012 – a staggering 36.2 million. Alternatives to Windows XP are increasingly appearing in the form of Linux and Google operating systems, but Windows still owns the market. Matt Wilkins of iSuppli explained why:
“The small penetration of Linux in netbooks is not due to any technical shortcomings… Rather, the OS has suffered from the fact that there is not one Linux brand name that is capable of taking on the strength of the Microsoft trademark in the PC market. Because the vast majority of people who buy netbooks are consumers, who do not have a high degree of knowledge of the key players in the OS market, they are going with the names that they know. And in PCs, that name is Microsoft.”
Google’s recently-announced Chrome OS will be a viable choice for many consumers, but only if it positions itself to be available to them. Wilkins went on to explain that “Google must counter the high visibility of the Microsoft brand name on countless products in retail outlets, ranging from software, to PCs, to peripherals.”
Google has interest in making 3G available, given the variety of cloud applications it has to offer the consumer. The market’s swift expansion could make netbooks an intensely profitable place, and who better to rake in all the profit than Google?
If Google pushes its Chrome OS into the arms of OEMs, it would love those netbooks to have instant access to Google tools like Maps and Finance. Will it be a major force in speeding up the transition to 3G? If what iSuppli projects is true, the answer is a hearty yes, and I think that’s an idea we can all get behind.