Chrome OS Smartphone Seems Unlikely Anytime Soon
Anyone expecting a smartphone based on Google's Chrome operating system will have to wait because it doesn't seem like the search engine is going that route anytime in the near future.
Chrome Vice President Sundar Pichai, pictured with a Chrome OS-based Cr-48 test model last December, told Reuters at Computex that he planned to keep pushing Chrome OS for notebooks and has no immediate plan to port it to tablets or to merge it with Android. Pichai said:
Chrome OS is a computer model designed with various form factors in mind, but we are entirely focused on the notebook form factor for now. We have no other plans at this time.
Chrome OS is currently slated to appear on Samsung and Acer notebooks June 15, with a goal to get people using Web applications instead of locally-stored programs.
The more I've mulled Google's launch and cloud computing model, which presupposes consumers and businesses have tired of on-premise based computers powered by Microsoft Windows operating system and Office software, the more I think it has to get some serious adoption on notebooks before it makes its way to tablets.
With that I'll go ahead and throw dirt on the recent speculation that Chrome OS would be used on smartphones in 2012, something pundit Anton Wahlman suggested in a piece for TheStreet.com.
Wahlman sees Google taking Chrome OS to the phone form factor because it hews so closely to the company's cloud computing model. He noted:
This device would only have two major software parts -- the OS and the only allowed browser. However, the OS treats the browser as a de-facto hostile application, not allowing it to modify the OS including locally install any applications.
As I noted last week, this is an interesting theory, but Pichai is adamant that Chrome OS is a clamshell-only platform.
Come to think of it, Pichai merely reaffirmed what he's been claiming since announcing Chrome OS in July 2009, what he repeated in December 2010 for the Cr-48 pilot program launch and for the Samsung and Acer unveiling at Google I/O.
If it weren't for the Chrome OS tablet mock-ups, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation.
I agree that one day phones that run only Web apps might be an option, but Google needs to cement its cloud model on the desktop before consumers and businesses trust it on the smartphone.