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.
Benchmarking the very earliest publicly-available code for Google Chrome OS seems destined to only highlight the platform's early stage of development, especially when you throw rivals such as Moblin 2.1, Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10, Fedora 12 and openSUSE 11.2 into the mixture. Still, that's just what Phoronix have done, and unsurprisingly the new Google netbook OS came in last position.
Back in July, Google's execs were grudgingly agreeing that Google Chrome OS and Android have "a great deal of commonality" and "may merge even closer." Now co-founder Sergey Brin has further stoked that speculation, telling reporters after last week's Chrome OS reveal that "Android and Chrome will likely converge over time". Brin pointed to the common Linux and Webkit browser code as existing points of convergence in the two open-source platforms.
Week in review time again, here we go! The Lenovo IdeaPad Pineview netbook hit the FCC Monday. The FCC is one of the most prolific leaker of gadgets and gear around and we love them for it. The CrunchPad is now said to be steamrolling toward a launch and may have a sponsorship deal in place. Word was a few weeks back that the tablet was dead.