Google starts developing Chrome OS for tablets

Chrome OS, the web based closed source Linux based operating system from Google, is now being developed to work on tablet computers. According to CNET, "details in Google's source code reveal that company programmers have begun building a tablet version". This may not come as a surprise to many as Google had previously released a mockup last year (pictured), however this latest news shows that a release will happen, although we are not sure when.

Chrome OS is different from the open source Chromium OS, launched in 2009, in that it is closed source and only developed by Google, unlike Chromium which can be compiled by anyone from the widely available source code. The closed version was originally meant to be released on specific hardware last year, however various reports have said the release will be delayed until mid 2011.

So far Google have acknowledged the news but would not talk about any specific details, instead they said "We are engaging in early open-source work for the tablet form factor, but we have nothing new to announce at this time", and explained how a tablet version is not a priority at the moment, "Chrome OS was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of form factors. We expect to see different partners build different kinds of devices based on Chrome OS, but for this initial release we are targeting the notebook form factor."

CNET listed a few points which show further proof of the development, these include finding a specific "user-agent string" in the source which would allow sites to see which version of a website needs to be produced, either touch-based or traditional mouse-based and  a "virtual keyboard with a number of keys--tab, delete, microphone, return, and shift" which shows obvious signs that a touch screen version is in the pipeline.

Image Credit: CNET

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20 Comments

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Wow I'm so NOT excited, sometimes I think Google is a little confused, Android for tablets and now possibly chrome for tablets.

I don't want a cloud only OS, I'd would rather have an Android tablet or better yet Windows 8 in tablet form than Chrome.

All the cloud stuff could be integrated into Android as well so I'm totally at a loss what the point of Chrome OS is. It doesn't offer any advantages over Android or iOS, just disadvantages. I really don't get where they are going with this and why it's being delayed time after time.

.Neo said,
I honestly don't see the appeal of having a device that's limited to a web browser window.

I think what google is getting at is that your browser is actually a lot more powerful these days than it used to be. It really is possible to ONLY use the browser for everything - music, films, games, etc.

carson2255 said,
Well if they are smart they will be able to use the same apps, afterall most of the apps are java based.

Which would mean even more confusion for the end user; two operating systems running the same apps?

Aethec said,

Which would mean even more confusion for the end user; two operating systems running the same apps?

How would that lead to more confusion? All they have to do is state that it (also) runs Android apps in the advertizements for any device using ChromeOS. Microsoft has been able to have multiple OSs running the same apps for a long time now without confusing people.

Hercules said,
So they are going to compete against their own OS.

Yep, really smart.


Microsoft had NT and 9x at the same time, so...

Hercules said,
So they are going to compete against their own OS.

Yep, really smart.

Windows 7 vs Windows Embedded 7, yeh no competition there

MafiotuL said,
So... They have Android for tablets and now Chrome OS for tablets? Hmm...

Chrome OS could perhaps be for cheaper, lower end tablets?..

MafiotuL said,
So... They have Android for tablets and now Chrome OS for tablets? Hmm...

To be Fair, Android and Chrome OS are sort of targeting vastly different things. With Android, a lot of your data is still stored on the device, plus the devices capabilities can be directly accessed by the various apps and such. Chrome OS is entirely Cloud based. In a way, you could say that Android is designed to be a single-user OS for a single-user device, while Chrome OS can be used by multiple users.

Kushan said,

To be Fair, Android and Chrome OS are sort of targeting vastly different things. With Android, a lot of your data is still stored on the device, plus the devices capabilities can be directly accessed by the various apps and such. Chrome OS is entirely Cloud based. In a way, you could say that Android is designed to be a single-user OS for a single-user device, while Chrome OS can be used by multiple users.


and eventually they could be both merged

thealexweb said,
Closed source? Isn't its source code available through Chromium OS's source code?

Never mind, really need to learn to read the whole article xD