By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, August 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm
The list of present, future, and speculative iPadversaries I compiled last week wasn’t comprehensive–for instance, I didn’t include Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. And it’s growing more incomplete every day. Download Squad, for instance, is reporting a rumor that Google and Verizon will release a tablet on November 26th. Unlike the scads of Google-powered tablets that will run the Android OS, this one is supposedly powered by the still-unreleased Chrome OS.
I don’t know if there’s anything to Download Squad’s story, but it would be stunning if Chrome OS didn’t wind up on one or more tablets in the next few months. When Google announced the OS thirteen months ago, it looked like a glimpse of one potential future for personal computing. But the intended hardware–clamshell case with physical keyboard–no longer feels like it’s part of the next wave of anything. And another aspect of the OS–its dependence on the Web–feels like it might be part of the next wave after the next wave, not the immediate future.
The obvious point of reference for a Chrome OS tablet is the iPad. But from everything we know about Chrome OS so far, there’s one crucial point of differentiation: iPads are all about local apps, and Chrome OS (like the JooJoo) is designed to subsist entirely on Web apps. (Google is readying a Chrome OS app store, but the apps in question will all live on the Internet.)
If Verizon is involved with a Chrome OS tablet, it’ll presumably have built-in 3G connectivity, which means that the notion of it living off Internet services isn’t completely screwy. But I’m convinced that when it comes to mobile devices, apps are where it’s at–for the next couple of years, at least–and that a platform that doesn’t even try to play catchup with Apple’s iOS would be operating at a severe disadvantage.