Posted Jan 6, 2011 5:06 UTC (Thu) by jtc (subscriber, #6246)
Parent article: 2011 predictions
"ChromeOS will struggle this year. The need for another 'thin terminal' system is not entirely clear, especially once ChromeOS users discover that they can get a real Linux-based operating system on the same hardware."
IMO, ChromeOS will appeal mostly to non-geeks who are average or below-average in their tech/computer knowledge - users who just want to get things done with a minimum (none, if possible) of hassle and administrative tasks that don't directly relate to what they are trying to do. Most current computer users who fit this description are Windows users, of course; but once it becomes apparent that a system is available that provides for them the ease of use at least as good as (probably better than) Windows without the hassles (worrying about viruses/security problems, data backups, etc.) and having the same "desktop" and data available no matter where they are connecting from, most of them will gradually ditch Windows and move to ChromeOS, as will many young children who have not yet used a computer.
This does depend on timing - this new paradigm will not start to become the default setup for non-geeks for a few years (maybe 2 to 5), but it seems, to me, inevitable. Microsoft will try to keep its user base, of course, by convincing them to use its cloud-based services instead of ChromeOS, but I don't think they will succeed - they are not as agile nor as capable as google and aren't the dominant player they used to be.
Many people may be worried about control of data, privacy, security (in the cloud); but there will be enough demand that these issues be adequately (for them) addressed that those companies that are smart and responsive enough (which probably includes google) will do so.
A good proportion of people may want to run local apps, but I suspect that a larger proportion will (again, at the appropriate point in time) be quite satisfied with the cloud-based option. "ChromeOS will struggle this year." may turn out to be true, but I think 2012 will see it start an upward trend that will reach large popularity by, say, 2017. (I could be off - it might be not until 2023 or later and it may not be ChromeOS, but I think it [i.e., most - > 50% - people in the developed world using cloud-based systems much of the time] is inevitable at some point.)