We've been hearing rumors Google would release its own branded netbook, and while speculation has been spotty, the chaps over at UK's IBTimes claim to have the inside scoop.
Let's get the obvious out of the way. Google's netbook will come equipped with the search giant's Chrome OS, which is only surprising if you were expecting Android to power the platform. Less obvious is the inclusion of Nvidia's Tegra chipset, along with an ARM processor rather than Intel's uber popular Atom chip.
Other rumored specs include a 10.1-inch HD-ready multi-touch display, 2GB of RAM, a 64GB SSD, and standard-fare additions such as Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, an Ethernet port, USB ports, webcam, audio ports, and a multi-card reader.
The latest rumors suggest the netbook will be subsidized when it starts shipping during the 2010 holiday season.
Take your pick: astromancy, pendulum reading, spirit boards, tasseography, cartomancy, crystallomancy, or even cheiromancy. It all amounts to the same thing: making stuff up about the future based on the thinnest (if any) real world information. Now center stage in the world of ‘let’s pretend’ is speculation about a possible Google Chrome OS netbook, produced by none other than Google.
What’s the basis for this projection? The obligatory unnamed sources, a vague posting on the company web site, and an unsubstantiated report of a request-for-proposal being issued to an unidentified manufacturer. Wave a handful of bones over the mix and all signs point toward Google releasing something in time for the 2010 holiday season.
Anything concrete, like actual specifications? Sure, it will have an ATOM processor, unless something else is used, like Nvidia’s Tegra. Memory and hard drive? Naturally. And mobile enabled? You bet, with it more than likely tied to a carrier (or two) with a subsidy for subscribers. It’s the stuff of dreams.
Making things up about the future doesn’t mean it won’t happen. But, just as with Bigfoot or UFOs, I’ll reserve my excitement until something tangible is trotted out.
Citing un-named industry sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes reports that Acer has been working on a new netbook built around Google's upcoming Chrome OS since the middle of this year, and will launch the unit sometime in the second half of 2010.
DigiTimes also claims to have heard it straight from the horse's mouth, with Acer chairman J.T. Wang expressing confidence during an interview that his company will beat all others to the punch and bring the first Chrome-based netbook to market.
And if Wang's saying it, there's reason to believe it. Acer, after all, was the first top-tier vendor to release a Google Android-based nebook. Though demand for the model didn't meet the company's expectations, that apparently hasn't given Acer cold feet when it comes to releasing netbooks not sporting the Windows platform as the sole OS.
According to Gizmodo a “trusted” but unnamed source has actually seen a Google phone. Gizmodo adds the phone won’t just be a run-of-the-mill Android device, but something special: Google-branded and running a new or different version of Android. (No, not Chrome OS.)
Gizmodo further reports prototypes, sporting large LCDs, will soon get a public introduction.
The list of people who are jonesing to get their netbooks up and running with the alpha version of Google’s ChromiumOS is fairly short, especially given the relatively poor driver support for Wi-Fi. Its hard to hold a grudge against any piece of software with the “alpha” tag, but lets be honest, a netbook OS without Wi-Fi is sure to put a bit of a damper on our enthusiasm.
Some users have reported early success getting wireless working with the newest line of Asus EEE PC’s, but Dell is among the first to offer semi-informal Wi-Fi driver support on its Mini 10v line of netbooks. To further sweeten the deal for Dell owners, you can pickup a preconfigured USB key image that is ready to rock and roll. The file contains the OS along with functioning support for the Broadcom Wi-Fi adapter.
Before you get too excited however, you should know that Dell describes the image as “highly experimental, untested, and unstable”, so it would be best to keep your expectations in check. If you’re thinking of giving this a try, make sure you check out the Dell blog posting to see the complete list of caveats.
Have you given Chrome OS a try yet? Make sure you let us know what you think.
Limiting the time it takes to reach the desktop from the moment the PC is turned on (no pun intended) may not be the holy grail of personal computing but it is something that merits attention. Google is just not chasing distant dreams in the “cloud” with its Chrome OS. It is also trying to address – or exploit - the growing mass resentment of slow boot times. In fact, the focal point of most reports about Google's operating system in the mainstream media has been its ability to boot in just 7 seconds. Not that tech-savvy people don't like quick boot times, but this is wonderful publicity as it is simple enough to stoke the curiosity of tech greenhorns, the majority.
In the wake of Google’s Chrome OS announcement last week, some have questioned the search giant’s software vision. Cofounder Sergey Brin popped in for a brief appearance at the event and made some interesting statements about the future of Chrome OS and Android. Brin said that Android and Chrome "will likely converge over time," but gave no indication of the form that might take. Indeed, the Chrome OS will reportedly have support for ARM based CPUs. Brin also talked up the similarity in the products’ code bases. Both are based on Linux and the Webkit browser rendering engine.
CEO Eric Schmidt also had something to say about Android and Chrome. The sheer murkiness of his statements is a little intriguing. Schmidt said that Chrome is for users on a real computer, a device with a keyboard and larger screen. However, he also said that Android’s real strength is its ability to run powerful PC-quality apps.
Cnet interviewer Molly Wood prodded Schmidt slightly about the possible overlap in the emerging Smartbook category. Schmidt was quick, yet broad in his dismissal saying, “let’s not prejudge what these things are best used for… our end users will ultimately judge.” Google seems to be waiting for queues from users to tell them how (if at all) these products will be integrated. So, post any thoughts you have in the comments.
Google's Chrome OS press conference gave us plenty to discuss on this week's No BS Podcast. We give you a recap of what juicy nuggets were revealed, and explain why Windows won't be replaced by Chrome any time soon. We also talk about benchmarking a dual-Radeon 5970 system, comparing it to a tri-SLI GTX 285 machine that we reviewed a few months ago. Finally, we answer some listener questions and Gordon breaks not one, but four NDAs to tell us about a super secret product.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Google pulled the wraps off of Chrome OS today, and while there isn't a general availability announcement today, they spoke briefly about the Chrome browser (Linux and Mac versions due this year, along with support for extensions) before diving into the nascent OS. You can expect to see Chrome ship in about a year, and showed the first glimpses of the new OS, details about the architecture, the hardware it will run on, and gave us the first hints about what the Google Cloud OS will really look like.
Here's why Chrome OS won't be replacing Windows anytime soon.
This morning, Google gave the first public demonstration of the Chrome OS they announced earlier this year. We'll have a full recap of the presentation later today, but Google has also released a 3 minute video explaining the basics of their netbook-targeted operating system. The basics: Chrome OS is Chrome web browser, built on top of a Linux kernel, which only runs web apps (ie. primarily used when you're connected to the internet). And it's being designed with specific hardware specs in mind.