Google is working towards crafting a tablet version of its light-weight, browser-based Chrome OS in its attempt to act as a catalyst to trigger creation of quality web apps to counter apps created for closed-walled companies like Apple and Microsoft.
CNET reported that Google has acknowledged that they are working on an open-source version of OS for tablets.
Google released its Chrome OS-based beta notebook Cr-48 in December 2010. The open-source Linux-based OS Chrome allows users to access apps directly through the browser. The Chrome-OS based notebook boots faster. It takes 60 seconds to start the system when first set up, as most of the software is run on the cloud. Also the Chrome-OS notebook is designed to be consistently connected to the web.
CNET stated that Chrome source code reveals that Google has added elements to the code which allows web servers to locate the Chrome OS tablet and accordingly deliver a web page designed for touch interface. Other additions include a virtual keypad, and gestures to make the browser touch-oriented.
The addition of Chrome OS as a platform for multiple devices has raised questions about Google's strategy to have a competing OS to Android. Google will be supporting two operating systems which could be cumbersome as it adds extra burden on Google to create an ecosystem around Chrome.
One of the reasons cited for Google's attempt to deliver a Chrome OS-based tablet is to make web-apps ubiquitous. Google is attempting to replicate the app revolution, which has come to Apple's iOS and Google's Android platform, in the web-sphere.
Apps supported by Android and iOS device run natively while Chrome runs are accessed through the browser. This will allow Google to offer a cheaper tablet as most of the resources required to run apps will be sourced over the cloud, thus, eliminating the need for storage and heavy computing.
Primarily apps created for Android and Apple devices are sold or downloaded from Apps Store and Android Market. Here, Chrome will allow users to directly access apps from the browser thus eliminating the need to store apps on the device.
Chrome OS on tablets is also Google's attempt to safeguard its core business model which is a search-based model and its growth is directly proportional to the volume of web usage. Thus, any approach that keeps users from accessing the web affects Google's proposition. Current models of specific apps designed for specific OS keep users tied to the OS and device, fenced from the web like Apple iPhone.
Google Chrome is essentially an attempt to break these silos by enticing users to move to the cloud. As users move much of their data to the cloud through Chrome OS, users will be able to access data from any device, thus reducing dependence on a specific device or OS.
Also viable web-apps which can challenge Microsoft's hold have not been created. Like Microsoft Office apps still do not have a worthy competitor on the web. Thus, Google is trying to break this hold by garnering mindshare to create quality web-apps.
However, as Google continues to innovate on Chrome OS, questions whether Chrome OS-based devices can become the third-option after Apple iOS device like iPad and iPhone and Android devices, still remain.