Reuters reports today on the delays in the Google Chrome Netbook which will push the device launch into the middle of 2011. Although it’s far too early to see if Google can break into the hardware business profitably, it’s somewhat surprising how difficult is has been for Google to branch out successfully into hardware adventures like smartphones and netbooks: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B65H620101207
My take is that Google is very concerned about protecting it’s dominant and hugely profitable online advertising empire, and is working hard to find ways to make sure they can capitalize on the boom in mobile device usage. However I think all parties are exaggerating the profits to be had in mobile. Tiny screens mean far less real estate on which to advertise. Also, difficulties with targeting, advertising fatigue, and many other factors suggest to me that even as mobile online use explodes the profits from this may not, although larger screens and more netbooks could help preserve the existing advertising streams indefinitely.
As always we’ll have to stay tuned to see how this new online landscape shakes out.