No Chrome OS Tablet on the Horizon
IMS Research analyst Anna Hunt said users can expect most of the big mobile network operators to deploy tablets throughout the year. "Many of the carriers and OEMs are looking to Android to offer an ecosystem of apps competitive to Apple," Hunt told eWEEK. In pairing with Verizon, it seems clear Google's Android tablet will be 3G-enabled, challenging the recently launched iPad 3G with AT&T."Some people are calling it the first significant challenge to Apple [in the tablet market] and that may well be but at the moment it's not even vaporware, it's a throw-away line," Gartenberg told eWEEK. What it does mean, he said, is that Apple's speedy sale of 1 million-plus iPads has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the industry. "It would appear that Verizon and Google and most likely others are simply not going to cede this market without a fight." Gartenberg and Hilwa also put to rest the question of why Google's initial tablets will be on Android instead of the Chrome operating system. Gartenberg said Google intends Chrome OS for clamshell-style devices with keyboards that run Web applications. Chrome OS is more of a science project today, a vision for the future of computing. "I suspect that the purity of its cloud-orientation may be a bit too futuristic and impractical at this point," Hilwa added. "I think when we have 100 to 1,000 gigabit networks coming to the last mile, it may be safe to have such pure reliance on the cloud." That's a different world from the one Android targets today on smartphones, tablets and set-top boxes. "Android is about rich apps, that Google wants to see scale from the device that goes in the pocket to the 60-inch screen on the wall," Gartenberg said. In between is the tablet computer, which can't be put in the pocket, but can be carried everywhere to let users access Web content. The iPad proved this market valuable to consumers; Verizon and Google hope to target that market before Apple extends its lead the way it did with the iPhone.
Altimeter Group analyst Michael Gartenberg noted that Verizon's dearth of specifics makes it hard to compare to Apple's iPad 3G.