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Before I start this article, I have a disclaimer: I am talking about normal users here, not hardcore gamers or IT professionals. I am not talking about the guy who cannot let the day go by without Counter Strike or the guy whose photos do not get finished without Photoshop.
I am talking about the regular Joe who wakes up in the morning and opens up their browser and loads Facebook, Gmail or Twitter. The guy who is connected to all the other regular Joes and who is the gold mine of data that every company is after.
Now, the question: are OSes still important?
Well, I ask this because a company that believes it most strongly recently launched the second version of its Chromebook (or is it the third iteration). The first one did not have the success company anticipated, to put it mildly. To be blunt, it bombed.
Maybe it’s because it came out just as tablets were becoming big. If netbooks and ultrabooks could not survive the onslaught, what chance did the poor Chromebook stand? The second iteration though is out and this time with more oomph and ahhs… Google definitely believes that browser is all that is needed in the PC world now.
The reason I do not think the OS is obsolete is because of the dismal performance (in perspective) of Chromebook. Yes, some people might say it sold, but it sold poorly. When something that is cheap, revolutionary or both, an average or below average performance is downright bad.
So, the question is: are OSes important now?
They are in the mobile world. A whole ecosystem is generated in the mobile world around different OSes. The PC world is a different matter though. Except for a few games and Microsoft Office (and one more important thing) everything is online now.
Thus, in a way, OSes are reducing in importance. Still, there is one thing that Chromebooks missed and that was storage. People love to surf the internet but what they like even more is to keep a part of it with themselves.
For example, I like to store a few Rage comics I find on the net because either they are very hilarious or I have to share it with someone and see their reaction. I know it sounds like something that happens rarely and maybe it does. But, the fact that I can do it is important.
Then there is the case of videos. YouTube is fine but we want our shows and movies on our laptops. I like to keep rips of the movies I like (original and purchased) instead of carrying their DVDs. It is good to have a constant internet and upload everything to cloud but still, it is not the primary method I would want to have.
We may be in an age when we are always connected but none of us wants to be in a situation when the cloud betrays us and we are left stranded. Be it for entertainment or work, this fear is what I believe acting as the major deterrent. Of course, if a person keeps an external HD to store the data then this problem is solved, but then it is equally easy to buy a proper laptop.
Browsers are therefore making people OS agnostic and it is the lack of ample storage that is keeping sales of Chromebook low.