Say Hello to the Google Tablet


There’s a hot web tablet coming next year, perhaps you’ve heard rumors about it? The tablet will be a simple slate that is designed to do one thing well, surf the web. It will be thin and light, and the 10-inch screen will sit in a package that is a no-frills design. It will be a simple slate device, comfortable to use in the hands for hours of tapping into the Internet.

The tablet will not run a “full” OS, that would be overkill. It will be designed from the ground up to work with the web. It will not be expected to replace full compute functionality for everyone, it will just do the web. It will do the web flawlessly, however, as that will be the entire purpose of this web tablet. It will leverage all web technology well, from Flash to HTML5, and that will open up a magical web experience. This tablet will not be coming from Apple (s aapl) as you might have thought, it will be coming from Google (s goog).

This new device will not run Intel (s intc) processors, that would be overkill. It will rather be based on ARM technology, as that will provide all of the oomph needed to run the web stuff. It will have Wi-Fi and integrated 3G, as that will allow it to stay connected to the web all the time, using the fastest pipe available. It will be connected to the Google cloud, and the guts of the tablet, which are basically the same as that in smartphones, will mean it will be getting email and other pushed information even when sitting to the side.

The connection is important, as a good web tablet is a cloud computer through and through. All data will reside in the cloud, all apps will be web apps. Local storage will be kept at a minimum as it won’t be needed. The interface will be designed around working with the web, and it will be optimized for touch. It will not be a smartphone interface blown up to fit the bigger screen, it will be designed from the ground up to fit the display.

The slate will provide a great window into all of the major social networks that are popular. It will be able to visit any web site and deliver a great browsing experience. The philosophy behind the design will center around the understanding that most of the user’s needs for the tablet will center around the web, and it will do that as well as any computer can.

If this sounds like the Google Chrome OS that is coming next year, then you catch on quickly. Google is going to set the mobile world on fire next year with the introduction of Chrome, and a tablet is the perfect vehicle to showcase its strengths. I believe the smart folks at Google will single-handedly bring credibility to the smartbook genre, as Chrome netbooks will be smartbooks by their very design. They won’t be called smartbooks, they will simply be Google Computers. Google won’t be content to stay with the notebook form factor, as it is a simple jump to a tablet form.

A slate makes sense on so many levels that I believe Google is already thinking about one. The constant buzz about an Apple tablet, and with the strange situation surrounding the CrunchPad/ JooJoo, demonstrates the interest in a web tablet. Google already has everything in place to produce one based on the Chrome OS, and produce one better than anyone else. Such a Google ChromePad would be aimed at distributing through phone carriers with data plans, and could be produced cheaply enough to make them virtually free with typical subsidies.

The Google Tablet would be sold in major retail outlets, in addition to carrier distribution. Imagine how many tablets would be moved in a very short time if consumers could walk in Walmart and pick one up for free, or nearly free, and be online in just a few minutes. It won’t take long for most people to realize that most everything they do outside the work environment is now centered around the web, making a Google Tablet the most useful thing they own.

We may see a tablet from Apple, if the constant rumors pan out. But an Apple tablet will be expensive, making it a niche product. Google can make deals with anyone they want to build their tablet, and cheaper is better than expensive. The Chrome OS core will straddle the smartphone/ computer fence, providing a richer user experience than an iPhone OS tablet from Apple. Google has everything in place to do this, and do it right. I think they’ll take advantage of that situation.


Pankaj Garg

I would love to see various boot options in Windows i.e. boot windows only to play music, or to watch movie or to only browse.


Eh, I don’t know if the description is all that marketable. No memory or minimal? What about downloading eBooks and movies to be viewed later in the car? Weblets are only good as long as they’re connected. Break the connection and you might as well put it away. Limited connection speeds mean movies don’t run smoothly. I rely entirely on my data card for Internet connection and that means even flash video halts and starts according to the traffic in the pipeline. At the very minimum it would require 1.6 Ghz processor and 4GB of flash to keep up with the challenges of upcoming technology. How about an sdio slot for transferring data to phones and pda’s or just playing music and movies previously collected? If it isn’t a standalone computer and it doesn’t accomplish anything with the data I’m discovering or creating, but simply facilitates my surfing through it, it’s too closed a niche for a real market. One use I can see for it is YouTube “how-to” videos. Take it to the kitchen and select that video which teaches you how to create the perfect sufle’ where you can pause it till you’re ready for the next step, or the workshop where you are being guided through a carburetter rebuild on the old ’66 Stang. Imagine how well that works when the line goes dead on your cable connection feeding your wireless router.

Lightening the load via the OS? Perfect! Lightening the function? Not so much.


Good article. I hope they include a usb/SD ports and the ability to play divx and/or vlc so I don’t need a stupid winbox anymore. Oh wait, they bought that codec company…. heh

As long as I can connect my multifunction this device will be a gimme.


If it has Dalvik, I’d be interested. Probably not interested without some form of application add-on ability, ssh client, vnc client, etc. (I understand that Chrome DOES have media player apps, though, so that’s covered at least).

Bob Lozano

Along those lines, this statement:

“The Chrome OS core will straddle the smartphone/ computer fence, providing a richer user experience than an iPhone OS tablet from Apple”

is just over the top.

On what evidence? is it possible? Of course. A given? Hardly.

The possibilities are fascinating, but a little objectivity would make these sort of articles more useful.

Jim Ringle

“Google is going to set the mobile world on fire next year with the introduction of Chrome, and a tablet is the perfect vehicle to showcase its strengths.”

Geez Jim, can you be more over the top in your enthusiasm for Google? Thank goodness we can count on you for critical reporting…


I would not want to use one of these mobile. Its too big for me to carry everywhere. But I would like to have one on the nightstand, on on the coffee table and one in the kitchen.

Make it wifi only, charge me 200 or less and I’ll buy at least three.

Ramon Nuez

This is truly remarkable – not simply from a technology perspective. This is rather obvious. I am referring to the history of Google – how a simple idea “how to make search better” became the thesis; that became one of the most influential companies in the world.


“It will rather be based on ARM technology, as that will provide all of the oomph needed to run the web stuff.” Especially if it is looking to have the same speed and worth anything of value. Google is doing all they can to stick Chrome OS into any piece of hardware they can. Found you via


@Me2 – Yes and if ubuntu, red hat or any of the others even come close to Mac in terms of that polish then they would have a viable alternative to a PC but until then….


I love watching Android run on all the new toys, and Chrome looks to be a real , but I must admit I’m still taken by WebOS. Is it too naive to hope for a WebOS Tablet?


This could be really cool if they include one of the new screens coming from Pixel Qi (, which would give it both a hi-readability, sunlight friendly e-book display with full color/video all in the same low-power screen.


Notion Ink has a smartpad along these lines: but this is an android pad, not a ChromeOS pad.

Regarding ChromeOS vs. android or another linux distribution for these pads, I see only negatives in staying with ChromeOS. I want to be able to carry lots of ebooks on the pad’s memory (SSD or SD). I want to be able to carry videos to show on the road as well. With USB host ability and keyboard drivers (and a LAN port), I can even just leave a keyboard at work and use a smartpad for email, documents, etc.

Basically a smartpad with a stand-alone OS has much more flexibility than what I think ChromeOS is designed for. ChromeOS seems ideal for businesses and hospitals to hand to ever changing users to interact with their custom-built databases. Oracle’s “thin OS” is still not “in” for general use.


OMG… the Notion Ink is just about what I’ve been saying I want for weeks/months. Almost exactly fits my bullet list of features. Thank you for posting that!

Sam Eaton

i wonder if eric schmidt when he was on the board of apple carried all these ideas of phones and tablets back from those meetings to google.


This is not rocket science that needs industrial espionage. Techies have been dreaming of devices like this for more than a decade or two.


this is great but for one problem. the cost of a data only plan for a subsidized device is still way too high. to really take off the recurring cost would have to get to under $20.00/month. with perhaps an option to pay slightly more and have the tablet also include tethering functionality so that it doubles as a MIFI like device.

if the cost does not get down that low for the data plan that it is critical that the device be released simultaneously also as wifi only. for many people that would be a fine option as they are in wifi coverage enough of the time. this would have two major impact. for one there would be no recurring charge for the 3G data access. the other is that without the subsidy the price would not the grossly inflated as cell phones are.


Have you tried using Chrome on a tablet? It’s pretty close to being unusable. They need to do a lot of work to Chrome itself before a ChomeOS based tablet can be possible.


Hmmmm, this seems very unlikely Chrome OS wont take off just like the rest of the linux bases distos. users want windows geeks would go for linux which are a very small number of the target audience.


I am yet to see how the ChromeOS will bridge over gaps like Video conferencing – Skype like.
Its all about the maturity of these things. And about a reliable storage in the cloud.
So while it could be that they overcome the former, I have serious doubt about the later still.


But there is one part missing

Whilst a tablet is a great consumption device as you describe, it has a very useful other function. Note Taking.

A tablet with something like OneNote or EverNote is a very desirable thing.

But to date, Google does not have such a thing in it’s huge array of applications. So I believe for a Google tablet to be a winner, first we need a Google version of OneNote and EverNote at which point, put me down for 3 please?


What’s missing? I use EverNote with Google Chrome every day and it works great.

The EverNote client for the Pre is lame, but otherwise they go a good job.


Looks like Google will be the next Apple plus more. Google will have its own hardware and OS. Right now I have been using the Archos 5 for the past 3 weeks and I have been able to do pretty much everything I normally do for my work stuff, plus GPS. I am limited to the 5″ screen but the web pages render great on this device. I have all my Google calendar, Gmail, music, and all runs fast on the ARM core processor. The 10″ Google tablet should a nice sizel for display. One thing I do wish that Android and Google Chrome OS would have is inking. That would make it better. I use inking on my Viliv S5 and is much faster than typing with screen keyboard; at least to me. I still carry my Toshiba NB205 for woork as well, but the Archos 5 just goes on my back pocket. :)


Great post and why not? They have their own smartphone now, why not a tablet. Maybe they are trying to be the common-man’s Apple?

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