Google's Chrome Operating System isn't yet ready for prime time on notebook computers, but the company has landed corporate remote-access powerhouse Citrix Systems as a partner.
Google Dec. 7 said at an update event that consumers would be able to purchase netbooks based on its Web operating system, which lets users run Web apps in the Chrome browser, from Samsung and Acer in mid-2011.
Concerns about bugs, performance tuning, and connecting digital cameras to the mix are a few of the reasons Chrome OS had been delayed in the market.
While most enterprises wouldn't dare to embrace such a nascent offering, Citrix plans to use Chrome OS in 2011 to support Citrix Receiver, a software client for application and desktop virtualization.
Citrix customers' employees will be able to bring Chrome OS netbooks into the office and get immediate access to enterprise apps through Receiver.
Gordon Payne, senior vice president of Citrix Systems, demonstrated Citrix Receiver running Microsoft Excel on Chrome OS, with the document actually hosted in the company's data center. He also showed off a Solid Works CAD app and Hyperion business intelligence app running the same way.
Touting Citrix's long track record of helping users shuttle business apps from their PCs to corporate data centers and running them on different computers inside and outside the central office, Payne said Chrome OS lends itself nicely to Citrix's service-delivery model.
"With that centralization and delivery of enterprise and business apps as a service, this is a natural partnership with Chrome OS and Chrome notebooks," Payne said.
While the endorsement of such a fledgling product and an unproven computer paradigm should be enough to make Google executives blush, it's Citrix's installed base of 250,000 global customers that should warm hearts.
This base includes banks, retail and hospitals ranging from dozens to hundreds of thousands of workers, all prime targets for Chrome OS, as it seeks to challenge the Microsoft Windows PC hegemony.
One solid enterprise player alone is not enough to put Chrome OS on the map in a PC-centric world, but it's certainly a conversation starter. Couple that with the dozen-plus Chrome OS pilot partners-Department of Defense, Kraft, American Airlines and Virgin-who agreed to test the unbranded Cr-48 netbook Google is offering, and Google is doing quite a bit to secure interest from the corporate sector.
"The level of partnership that Google has been able to muster up is quite impressive," IDC analyst Al Hilwa told eWEEK.
"It is certainly the case that evolutionary technologies stand a much bigger chance of being adopted than revolutionary ones, and being able to run traditional apps designed for other platforms, such as Windows, is a clever way to roll out Chrome OS."