I’ve posted a series of articles here on the “revenge of the dumb terminal.” That trend has recently picked up steam with news that HP is planning to sell a Pavilion notebook running Google’s Chrome OS.
What Chromebook means for computer users
For users, especially casual ones who mainly use their computers for email, social networking, and watching videos on the Internet, Chromebook is a viable alternative to Microsoft Windows. Google has essentially stripped out much of the operating system that doesn’t relate to communication. Because of that, Chromebooks can run just fine on greatly reduced specifications compared to a Windows device. Because Chromebook envisions everything running in the cloud, the manufacturer can get away with equipping the machine with a very small amount of storage, similar to the 16 or 32 GB you see on a tablet computer. Add the fact that Google doesn’t sock manufacturers with a license fee, and manufacturers can market a viable product at a price point as low as $199. The machine should also be more secure, at least in theory, because there’s very little for a virus to infect.
What Chromebook means for business intelligence
For the moment, Chromebook does not appear poised to have a major short-term impact on business intelligence strategy. In the longer term, BI strategists cannot ignore this trend. Many businesses have implemented or are taking a long look at instituting a BYOD (bring your own device) policy. These businesses will need to decide whether to include users’ Chromebooks in this policy. I suspect that many businesses will decide that certain knowledge workers require machines with greater storage and on-board processing capabilities. For those businesses that choose to embrace Chromebook, it will lead them inevitably in the direction of HTML as their application delivery channel of choice. With a plethora of devices that the business must potentially support, IT will drown otherwise.