While Google’s Android operating system was designed for smartphones, it seems to be a fairly popular OS choice among tablet makers. A fair number of prototypes I saw at CES this year were running Android, and you can already pick up an Archos 5 Internet Tablet running the mobile operating system. But it looks like Android isn’t the only tablet-friendly OS Google is working on.

Google Chrome OS is designed primarily for netbooks and laptops with full keyboards. While Android is a light weight OS designed for a mobile computing experience, Chrome is basically an OS designed around a web browser. The idea is that most of the apps you run will be web apps, and that the hardware and software should really just be a conduit for getting online. And you know what? That doesn’t necessarily require a physical keyboard.

There’s a page on the Chrome OS developer site showing a series of concept drawings for how Chrome could work with a tablet. The mockups include several images of an on-screen keyboard which can be repositioned or reconfigured. For instance, you could type with all ten fingers on a full sized on-screen keyboard much like the Apple iPad on-screen keyboard. Or you can split the keyboard so that some letters show up on the left side of the screen and others are on the right. This would make it easier to hold the tablet in your hands and type with your thumbs.

Right now, the Chrome tablet UI is just a concept. There’s no confirmation that Google or anyone else is working on the hardware for this device, or that PC makers are planning to install Chrome on tablets. But it certainly looks like Google is at least thinking about the possibility.

You can check out a concept video after the break.

via TechCrunch

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3 replies on “Google Chrome netbook OS could make its way to tablets”

  1. he last thing consumers need is competition and a Web OS.
    We should all stick with Microsoft and pay the hefty Microsoft price tag.
    And who needs a system that starts and shuts down instantly.

  2. I like the basic concept of Chrome OS. I really do, and if the cloud does become as robust as they think it will, the OS will be fine for just about every daily task.

    That said I’m with Apple right now. The cloud can’t do it all yet. Web enabled apps seem to deliver better performance RIGHT NOW. Once HTML5 and NACL go live on a wider scale I may change my mind. The Google Voice web app goes a long way to proving that point. But with that in mind, I’d rather have Android on a tablet than Chrome OS or Windows… Actually Moblin or Jollycloud might rock too, but I don’t know if they’re optimizing for tablets yet or are still focusing on devices with keyboards. I definitely agree with Anand from Anandtech that it’s going to come down to matching the OS with the power of the chip, and Windows 7 despite having touch features is just not optimized properly for this class of product (case in point: it doesn’t work on ARM processors), and I have yet to see a version of Windows CE I like.

    That said I like that Google is playing with use models on the keyboard to find what works. It will probably bear fruit later, in either OS.

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