December 08, 2010, 2:18 PM — Google is going back into the hardware business.
Actually I was all ready to scoff at the Chrome OS and its potential in the enterprise, not least for its relatively low ability to operate offline and Netbook-like simplicity (which, when you're actually using a netbook, you recognize as just underpowered technology).
Gartner analyst Nick Jones isn't too excited about it, either. It won't ship until mid-year, will confuse consumers who don't know the difference between it and a "regular" computer, and could be too focused on the cloud in general and Google in particular.
All valid points.
Chrome OS is a work in progress, according to Google. So is Windows, only the progress is slower.
it runs on the Chrome 9 browser, through which all the controls for the PC are available.
It can sync with your desktop PC -- so it's designed as much as an adjunct device than as your main computing platform -- and can operate offline using HTML5's offline caching and storage capabilities.
The only app Google promises will be able to work offline is Google Docs, though it will have to update that to get it to work.
It can link up using WiFi or a 3G cell connection from Verizon Wireless, which includes pay-as-you-go pricing on either per-Mbyte or per-day plans.
If the pricing is anything like Verizon's current per-day pricing, that will be no pleasure.
The little machine encrypts everything so you're not broadcasting your life in clear text every time you walk out of the house, can do 3D media rendering using the new WebGL spec, and has convenience features like the ability to use hotkeys to call up favorite links.
There is, inevitably, a Chrome Web Store with apps, almost all of which seemed to be just links back to other sites.
There are Citrix clients to let you connect ChromeOS to Mac, Linux and Windows machines, and a Trusted Protection Module (TPM) that verifies whether it has been hacked.