Update: Robert X. Cringely’s Op-Ed is out. Not at all what I expected, but that’s what I like about RXC. After watching a couple hours of Google IO ’09, I finally realized the deal with Chrome OS. Learn more about Native Client and it will all make sense – Google IS revving up for a fight for the Desktop OS and NaCl is how they’ll do it. And I wish the “Tech” blogs would understand the difference between Linux, GNU/Linux, and a Distro. It’s almost embarrassing to read. Disregard my blathering below.
I must have read over 50 articles on this whole Chrome OS thing and I’m still baffled. Here are some of the better articles I’ve read on the subject:
- Putting What Little We Actually Know About Chrome OS Into Context (Daring Fireball)
- Let’s all take a deep breath and get some perspective (Fake Steve Jobs)
- Android, Chrome OS Relationship Confusing Everyone, Including Google (Gizmodo)
To see a more complete list of stuff I’ve read, take a look at my Recently Read Articles. I’m still waiting on what Robert X. Cringely is going to say (he loves to take his conclusions to the logical extreme), but he’s holding out for an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times.
Some interesting theories:
- Chrome OS is a way of sticking it to the man. By giving netbook/smartbook OEM’s another Windows alternative to use as a bargaining chip to lower the Windows tax.
- Chrome OS is meant as a dual-boot solution. It will be installed alongside any other operating system to give you a way to boot and jump on Gmail within 10 seconds.
- Chrome OS is meant to be a distraction for whatever Microsoft is set to announce on Monday.
What I think is going on, and what is hinted at in the Gizmodo link above, is that Google is using Chrome OS as FUD against itself. Android is creeping into a market for which Google never intended, the netbook/smartbook realm, and in order to prevent Android from seriously forking, Google is saying “We will have an OS for that space, don’t go there!” I’m not going to blather on about this because, as I said, I’m confused.
One other thought, any netbook/smartbook that Chrome OS goes on will be FREE. Not just the operating system, but the hardware – subsidized by Google and a minimal contract with a carrier.