Chrome OS on the Move


Chrome

Chrome OS

Google’s Chrome operating system for netbooks has been in the works for a while, but the company finally seems ready for a May launch. The company launched a stable developer channel for Chrome OS last week, fueling speculation that devices with the software would be announced in May at Google I/O conference, possibly shipping by summer, as the company previously promised.

Google Chrome OS debuted almost two years ago and is an open-source operating system geared towards netbooks — the hottest-selling computers until the iPad arrived. After some delays, Google said Chrome OS devices would hit store shelves by mid-2011, a deadline rapidly approaching.

Some had a chance to test Chrome OS for the past few months via Google’s ownCR48 Chrome netbook, a hardware and software developer testbed before the arrival of mass-produced third-party hardware. The CR48 has a has a 12.1-inch screen, a full keyboard, an oversized touchpad, world-mode 3G, 802.11 Wi-Fi, a Web cam and eight hours of active battery life.

Reviewing Chrome OS and the CR48 laptopPCWorld‘s Edward Albro wrote “I don’t expect using the Chrome OS to be a revolutionary experience. Instead, it feels a bit more like working with one hand tied to your side — it’s possible, but awkward.” He notes, however, some advantages of Chrome OS versus netbooks running Windows, such as 15-second boot, longer battery life, and simplicity.

But with the iPad probably the hottest consumer device right now, do Chrome OS netbooks stand a chance? They could, if the price is lower: for example, Asus is rumored to launch a sub-$250 Chrome netbook, targeted for people who want to use basic productivity applications or browse the Web. That’s almost half the starting price of an iPad, and could be a tempting proposition for customers.

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Toshiba, original Google partners for Chrome OS, have yet to announce any products, let alone pricing and availability, for any netbooks running the browser-centric OS.

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App Store Wars (Google Vs. Apple)


iPad

A mere day after Apple met with lukewarm reaction to a subscription model for media apps for the iPhone and iPad, Google announced a rival approach it says will put more money in the pockets of publishers, and will work across the web and on mobile apps — a one-login system to rule them all.

Google’s One Pass system promises to let publishers set up an easy subscription and paywall system so that a user who buys a subscription via their desktop browser can access the same content on a mobile phone browser or in the publication’s apps. Readers will login via their Google account and pay via Google Checkout.

The announcement is clearly Google’s answer to

Apple’s subscription offering — and as usual Google is competing by being more open than Apple.

Google is also setting up a clear choice for publishers — go with something that works for just the popular iPhone and iPad at a steep price (30% of a subscription bought through an app), or go with a system that works for the web and apps, regardless of what device a reader is using, at a much lower price (somewhere in the range of 10%, according to a company spokeswoman).

Many digital publishers see readers new found willingness to pay for mobile phone and tablet apps as a way to actually charge for content in the internet age, counteracting the decline of revenue that many traditional publications have faced in an age where readers expect and get content free on the web.

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