When Google announced its Chrome OS last year, it intended this operating system to be for netbooks. Last week’s unveiling of the Apple iPad has made tablet computers hot, though, and Google is making sure its upcoming OS will have this class of devices covered, too.
To make this happen, the Chrome OS will clearly have to be modified to include features not generally used by netbooks. At the top of this list is support for touchscreens. An on-screen keyboard will also be a necessity.
Google is clearly still exploring this concept, and has posted on one of its websites images and a video showing how a Chrome-powered tablet could operate. These include some different keyboard arrangements, and ways of launching and switching between applications.
More about the Chrome OS
Google offers its own web browser, called Chrome. Last summer, it announced plans to develop an open-source operating system based on this browser. Basically, the Chrome OS will be the Chrome web browser running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.
Naturally, this will give it access to this company’s online services for e-mail, navigation, word processing, spreadsheets, etc.
Although Google original vision for the Chrome OS was as an OS for low-cost netbooks, there’s nothing about the it that would preclude it being used on a tablet, once Touchscreen support has been added.
Comparisons to Apple iPad
Google and Apple appear to have the same general concept for a tablet computer: a device with a relatively large capacitive Touchscreen but no physical keyboard. Wireless conectivity of some form is a given.
Browsing the Web and exchanging e-mail are important uses, but with a range of other applications available.
Google clearly intends for Chrome OS-based tablets to have at least one advantage over the iPad though: multi-tasking. Apple’s iPhone OS has limited support for running multiple applications simultaneously, while Google’s will apparently offer full multitasking support.
Google Concept Video
To demonstrate how a tablet computer running the Chrome OS will work, Google prepared a short video: