Last week we saw the iPad, Apple’ s hugely controversial tablet. This week? What more than Google’s long-awaited ChromeOS - running on a tablet itself? Looking very tablet-like indeed, these images and a video of prototype OS mock-ups running on 5-10 inch tablets have just surfaced on Google’s ChromeOS User Experience page (Chromium Projects).
In these tablet-charged times, it doesn't take much to start a touchscreen rumor running. Google's Senior Product Manager of Search, Anders Sandholm, found that out yesterday, when questioned about Google Chrome OS and the possibility of a touchscreen device running the web-centric platform. Sandholm reportedly fumbled about for a tactically answer, settling on "I can't... I mean... right now we are targeting netbooks, that's what we're focused on, but I expect it to work well... we expect it to target everything up to desktop computers."
Acer's plans for 2010 include ebook readers, Google Chrome OS netbooks, an app store and - potentially - a tablet running either a Microsoft or a Google platform, according to Jim Wong, the company's president of IT Products. The executive has revealed that by the end of June, Acer will have announced its first 6-inch E Ink based ereader, around the same time that the company expects to launch an app store with titles for Android, Windows and Windows Mobile; Chrome OS support will follow on later.
Qualcomm have announced that they are now adding Google Chrome OS to their list of supported platforms, with CEO Paul Jacobs revealing the news on-stage at CES 2010 this morning. It comes as little surprise, perhaps, since potential specifications for the first Google-branded Chrome OS notebook which leaked back in December tipped an ARM-based processor, just like Qualcomm's Snapdragon.
HTC's potential tablet plans have always been played down by the company - CEO Peter Chou edged around speculation a few months back, before speculating that his engineers were "carefully looking" at netbook possibilities later on - but that hasn't stopped the rumors. According to Smarthouse HTC are preparing "several working models of a touch tablet", including at least one running Google Chrome OS; their sources reckon HTC will be giving private demos of an Android version at CES 2010 next week.
Back when a Google-branded Chrome OS netbook was tipped for late 2010, we were still in the dark regarding potential specifications for the web-centric ultraportable. Now IBTimes is claiming to have the official spec sheet, and as speculated there's both an ARM-based CPU and NVIDIA's Tegra chipset among the components. There's also a 10.1-inch display with multitouch-capable touchscreen mentioned, able to display HD - likely 720p - video, together with a 64GB SSD and 2GB of RAM.
Back in November when Google spilled the beans on Google Chrome OS, their upcoming platform for netbooks, they confirmed that they'd produced a reference design list of suggested hardware for manufacturers to go by. Now, TechCrunch are claiming to have heard from multiple sources that the search giant has gone one step further, and are working with at least one manufacturer to produce a Google-branded Chrome OS netbook that it would sell direct to consumers.
On of CES' more interesting launches will be the Lenovo Smartbook, the first confirmed model of the new segment. While Lenovo themselves have been frustratingly quiet regarding the Smartbook's specifications, and the segment as a whole is relatively poorly understood, a recent interview with Qualcomm's Steve Mollenkopf has got us wondering just how the platform will be differentiated from regular netbooks. Mollenkopf describes them as representing a new paradigm: "a smartphone-type operating system, but for a two-handed device".
Acer have thrown their hat into the ring as one of the first netbook manufacturers to commit to using Google Chrome OS. According to DigiTimes' usual unnamed sources, the company have been working on the netbook - which will only run webapps, and make heavy use of cloud-based storage - since midway through 2009; it's expected to launch in the second half of 2010.
Normally we'd nod and smile at this point, and remain moderately sceptical, but Acer chairman JT Wang has already publicly suggested that his company will be putting out a Chrome OS machine. No specifications for the Acer netbook have been given, but Google's recent launch event for the platform did outline that typical Chrome OS netbooks would have SSD or flash memory storage, be either x86 or ARM based, and have the usual USB ports for peripherals.