Google has released Chrome OS in beta form for developer preview and testing. I have managed to get ahold of a copy in virtual machine disk format to review. Now let's get something right immediately here. The Chrome OS is still in beta (pre beta I would really say), and is in no way intended for everyday use. As a result alot of the things I point out here may change or not even exist in the end product. However one thing I do know for sure is the purpose of the OS itself. Google has made it clear that the Chrome OS is intended for specially designed netbooks, and will be for browsing the internet only. Meaning there will be no high end desktops, or CPU intense applications such as video editors.
In my opinion I find the concept a good one if you only want something to browse the net, however in practice I find it to be useless as people need more than just browsing the internet. If you are'nt old enough to remember, this was tried several times before with "internet appliances", webtv, and other gimmics from the mid to late 90's. All of which failed miserably because people wanted more than just browsing the web for the same cost (or close to that) of a normal computer.
My understanding of the Chrome OS being on netbooks means you would still be looking at around $300 to $400 for the device. You will still have other netbooks running Windows 7 and full versions of Linux for around the same price, that you can do more with.
To further limit the OS, Google does not plan on allowing you to install other applications to it, (only web applications will run). So when you get to being a first computer for some people this fails there as well since some ISP's require special programs for setup, not to mention Chrome still having browser compatibility issues and support. I do not believe Google expects this as someone's only computer, but as a secondary mobile device that they kinda drag along with them. In my opinion this is targeting a very niche market at the moment that I think they could do better at.
My recommendation to Google is to drop this whole Chrome OS thing, and take Android and develop it to run on a wider ranger of devices, from phones, to netbooks. This will let them leverage the power of Android that already exists, improve on the App store, and better focus their resources.
In summary Chrome OS is just the Chrome browser running on Linux. There is nothing special about it, and you are better of getting your own netbook, putting Linux on it and installing Chrome with an autostart feature on it.
Anyway, for the video review please watch the embeded YouTube video below.
Last Updated: 12/22/2009 05:39 AM