The last time we spoke about Google’s upcoming Chrome OS, the search giant was in the midst of adapting the operating system to work on ARM processors and devices featuring System-on-a-chip designs. Since then, news about the development of the browser-based OS has mostly gone cold. However, the project is far from dead, and the search giant has claimed that it is still on track for a year-end release of Chrome OS. Or is it?
Read on to find out more.
As far as the daily news updates go, Google has been popping up in the headlines quite regularly for various reasons. Of course, most Google-related news is mostly centered about its services such as Gmail, Google Docs and more recently, the Android smartphone operating system which has taken the world by storm.
And yet, for all its achievements, the search giant has remained uncharacteristically silent over the development of one of their other key technologies, which was earlier touted to have the potential to change the way users interact with their computer. Yes, we are talking about Google’s ambitious foray into the desktop/notebook operating system market with its upcoming Chrome OS.
For those who may not be aware, Google had previously demonstrated unreleased builds of its upcoming browser-based OS to select OEMs, while claiming that the operating system was ‘good to go’ for a year-end release. And at the time of our last Chrome OS related news update posted way back in April, it was clear that Google was hard at work in preparing Chrome OS on use for mobile devices. Well-known ARM and SoC developers like Samsung and NVIDIA were making code changes to the Chrome OS source code for greater compatibility, most of which have already been committed or merged into the main tree by Google.
However, Google has since kept its development of Chome OS a hush-hush affair, and little, if any updates about the operating system were publicly announced. This has prompted TechCrunch to pose a direct question to the search giant about the availability of the OS. Google’s response? Chrome OS will still be available by the year-end.
But things get interesting from here. According to TechCrunch, while Google has confirmed that a release of the OS will be available by the year-end, the search giant has refused to elaborate on the kind of release users and OEMs can expect at that time. In other words, the version of Chrome OS Google intends to push out could range from anything like a beta build to a release candidate.
At this point of time though, it seems that Google is far from ready to announce anything more than a beta release of Chrome OS by the specified timeframe. And for good reason too: quick looks at the Chromium OS development pages reveal the presence of a “ReleaseBlock-Beta” field, which is more likely than not an indicator of the current state of the Chrome OS project. Even then, the developers working on the “Beta” version of Chromium OS have highlighted many bugs severe enough to be considered as ‘release-blockers’, of which only a few have been fixed.
Furthermore, if one was to take into account that Google had previously promised the availability of Chrome OS-powered netbooks in time for the festive shopping period, it should be clear that there is no way the search giant is going to be able to honour that promise. That is, unless OEMs are willing to sell their netbooks bundled with a very beta version of the operating system, which is definitely not going to happen: consumers generally to not take very kindly to being treated as guinea pigs.
Still, if there is one positive aspect of Chrome OS to look forward to in the future, we’d say that Google’s plan of Android and Chrome OS converging in time is slowly but surely starting to take place. Apparently, developers over at the Chromium department have already cobbled together plans and ideas on how Chrome OS could be adapted for use in slate-like devices.
And considering that the current slate OS war is still largely fought between Android and iOS, the addition of Chrome OS to the mix will probably give Google one huge advantage over Apple: the advantage of choice.