With all of this iPad buzz
stirring up the tech world over the past couple of weeks, Chrome OS
has almost been forgotten. That may have something to do with the fact that Google has yet to officially release the netbook-centric operating system
to the public, but still, you'd expect a company like Google to keep the details flowing about a forthcoming operating system. Today it seems we're getting exactly what you'd expect, in response to all the recent tablet fanfare.
A while back, we heard that Chrome OS would only be made for certain systems that met certain specifications, namely netbooks that were tailor made to run the OS. This approach is similar to the one taken by Apple with regard to OS X, which will only operate on Apple-built systems. But as the "Year Of The Tablet" really gets going, it makes sense to think that Google would be interested in dipping into that sector. Tablets are certainly going to be a hot topic (and likely a money-maker) in 2010 and 2011, and Google would be silly to just sit it out while the others take advantage. We already witnessed the traditionally search-oriented company break new ground with their Android
mobile OS, and if renders from the Chromium platform team, which is the foundation of Google Chrome and Chrome OS, have their way, Chrome OS will eventually make landfall on tablets as well.
A few new design creations have floated out to the web, and naturally they have garnered quite a bit of attention. These showcase "user interface concepts" where it would be feasible to cram Chrome OS onto a tablet. When you think about, Chrome OS seems perfect for a tablet form factor. The system is designed to be lightweight, meaning that little power is needed to run it with as little overhead as possible, bogging down system resources. We've also seen that cheap, highly efficient chips are available for tablets courtesy of NVIDIA's Tegra 2
CPU, and honestly, Chrome OS would give the iPad the biggest run for its money. Windows 7 still feels too "serious" an OS for something like a tablet, but Chrome OS is perfectly positioned to enter the market as-is and really make an impact. Who knows, one could imagine a situation where Google actually overtook Microsoft's OS market share lead in at least the tablet sector. Though that's a far reach at this point obviously. We can't say that hell would then freeze over, but you never really know...
The Chromium team suggests that a screen of 5" to 10" is optimal for enjoying Chrome OS, and wouldn't you know that tablets, netbooks and MIDs/UMPCs all fit that category. It's rather exciting to think of the possibilities of a Chrome OS-based tablet. Couple a streamlined Google-based OS with NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and a design like this, and you really could have an iPad killer.
In related news, Google is making a serious push
over in Europe to draw attention to their Chrome web browser. The reason? The EU is forcing Microsoft to install a "browser selection window" within new versions of Windows, so people will be forced to choose a browser (rather than just have Internet Explorer in there by default). It's the first major ad push for their web browser, and it just might signal a more serious effort to spread Chrome more to the mainstream. Why would you want to spend money to increase market share of a free browser? If Chrome is a vital part of Chrome OS, you could see one thing leading to another. It's called the "halo effect," and Apple is definitely enjoying the spoils from people who buy iPods or iPhones and are then suddenly hooked into the Mac ecosystem. There's nothing stopping Google from attempting to recreate that same kind of magic, and we can say we'd be fairly bedazzled should a tablet like this hit the market anytime soon.