Will Google Chrome OS Kickstart the Smartbook Market?


I’m officially jealous that I can’t go to the Google (s goog) press event on Thursday where the Chrome OS will be shown. Our GigaOm Network Editor in Chief, Sebastian Rupley, has the invite, so maybe I can convince him to livestream right to my monitor later this week. Why do I have Chrome fever? Three reasons.

First, I live in a web browser for most of my waking hours. I don’t need many of the standard features that a full desktop operating system provides, so it’s essentially just feature-bloat for me. Second, in the past two to three years, I’ve moved over to Google’s services for email, contacts, phone management and more. Lastly, while I expect Google’s Chrome OS to run on x86 devices, I’m really hoping to see it to thrive on the ARM platform. Chrome OS is probably overkill for a netbook or notebook, so I’m thinking it will help kickstart the smartbook platform — a lightweight web-based OS for a power efficient processor for all day browsing.

What are you expecting to see out of Google’s Chrome OS this week?


Studley Doright

How ’bout:

– Multi-threading support for multi-core processors
– Sandbox computing (no need for anti-virus, malware sw or disk defraggers)
– Instant startup
– Support for ARM and intel chips (including Atom)
– Super Chrome Browser that does everything (email,im,social networking,network optimization,video editing,voip,etc) AND is very extensible via user plugins.
– 100% Open Source computing platform
– Offline app support (i.e. Gears, web caching,etc.)
– Builtin 1080p optimization (YouTube 1080p video support)
– Gaming extensions and free online dedicated game servers
– Full touch and voice support
– Embedded/Optimized iTunes and Flash support
– Built-in Search and Mapping
– ChromeOS Application Store (ala Apple)
– Low Power requirements (runs 20+ hours on a 6-cell battery)

So, basically the iPhone + MacOSX + Win7 rolled into one small footprint open-sourced OS kernel.

– Can be used in a global CPU network to run CPU-intensive apps via internet sharing with each ChromeOS user being paid royalties for cpu cycles shared.

I am sure i forgot a few things but this is some of the first things that rolls of my cerebral cortex.


How about a local IM client, instead of a browser based one. I have yet to encounter a browser based IM service that didn’t suck. A lot.

I doubt it’d be iTunes optimized, since Apple wouldn’t want that. But Amazon/etc. optimized music is a good idea (and something they’d get if they just made Chrome OS be “Android with Chrome, on a bigger screen”.

A better equation than “iPhone + MacOSX + Win7”, in my mind, would be “Maemo + Android + Ubuntu”.

Otherwise, I agree :-)

Jonathan Cohen

The big question is local vs. cloud. Crunchpad’s betting on cloud-only, but I’m betting that most people still need data in situations where they can’t access the cloud. There’s also a security blanket issue, too.


My hit prediction is that this will fail like every Linux-based netbook has failed so far and it will fail for a simple reason: consumers want Windows on a device that is shaped like a traditional laptop. Most people want a familiar UI and access to the applications that they’ve bought and are familiar with.


I have some expectations for the next generation of netbooks/smartbooks, of which the software part could be met by Chrome OS:

-Fast boot (moblin like or faster)
-Fast webbrowser (I like Chromium on Linux)
-Catered towards HTML5 including updated Google Apps
-ARM based for low power consumption
-h264 GPU accelerator (Tegra and the likes)(including flash 10.1)
-No HD models, only SSD
-HDMI display port connector (allows for slimmer devices)
-Video chat (Skype releases ARM linux version?)
-back to 8.9″ displays?
-No windows CE or even Windows 7! (of course this holds for Chrome OS)


I expect webOS for the desktop. So not a whole lot in terms of optimizing with the hardware. You can still get cloud services without the OS being a browser.
Apps may be more portable with Google setting some standard for writing web apps.
I’m not too confident this will be mainstream from what we know. For a portable device, getting the most out of the hardware is important.


I’m hoping they demo some powerful web apps running on ChromeOS that showcase the capabilities of HTML5, SVG, O3D, WebGL, Native Client, etc. That would help put to rest the notion that web apps can’t be made to look & perform like desktop apps.


I’m mainly interested in seeing what the final feature list will be. I think a web-only platform will fail. Or even web-only + google gears. I think it’s going to need some form of local application layer (in the same way that Android has Dalvik apps). It would make the most sense if Chrome OS also runs Dalvik apps, and Java apps (both Java applets and Java applications), but Dalvik makes the most sense. I’d also think it will need support for local media playing (because sometimes you’ll want to play media on it if you’re, say, on an airplane and can’t access the web).

I think if ChromeOS’s features include:
1) Fast Boot (like a splashtop),
2) can hand off to other OSes (also like a splashtop, but not limited to Windows as the “other OS” … specifically, I may want to have it hand off to Ubuntu and/or Android, depending on other device specifics),
3) can properly handle touch screens, multi-touch, and screen rotation (for both tablets and convertible-tablets) (Ubuntu fails at proper screen rotation with a touch screen),
4) can handle hybrid display devices (like the PixelQi hybrid e-paper/LCD screens),
5) has e-reader software (like the ereader.com software released for Android today, and hopefully Kindle software),
7) has media software (local music files, local video, local pictures, as well as support for remote streaming apps, like Rhapsody, Pandora, and such … though, the remote streaming stuff can probably be done through Flash),
6) can run local Dalvik, Java, and/or Python applications,
7) has some planned tablet and/or convertible-tablet netbook devices in the line-up, and
8) possibly has both x86 and ARM support,

then I’ll probably be rather interested. But for each of those things that isn’t present, I’ll be progressively less interested.

(the reason I don’t think “web only”, even with google gears, will cut it is … we still aren’t ubiquitously connected enough for that to make your netbook always useful; it’ll make your netbook frequently useful … and frequently a doorstop)

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