More details are emerging about a Chrome OS tablet set to launch for the 2010 holiday season. If the reports are accurate, HTC, Google, and Verizon are working together to launch a Chrome OS tablet on Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season.
The team of HTC, Google, and Verizon makes sense. Google has an intimate relationship with HTC--maker of many of the most cutting edge Android smartphones including the fabled Google Nexus One. Both Google and HTC have a solid relationship with Verizon--the largest wireless provider in the United States, and the leading purveyor of Android smartphones like the HTC Droid Incredible.
The HTC Chrome tablet will offer some much-needed competition for the Apple iPad. The Dell Streak is available now, but its diminutive size and phone functionality make it regarded primarily as a smartphone with a thyroid problem more than a tablet. The Samsung Galaxy Tab--an Android based tablet--is expected to launch this fall, but aside from that Apple stands virtually unopposed in the tablet arena.
You are familiar with the phrase "better late than never". Well, that isn't always the case. Launching on Black Friday is really the very latest that it's practical to launch a tablet right now. After the holidays most people will be out of discretionary income, and the impending release of the iPad 2 will be the focus of attention. If a manufacturer can't get a tablet on the market in time for the holiday shopping season, it may as well delay launching it until after the next-generation iPad--expected sometime in early 2011.
According to the report from Download Squad, the HTC tablet will be built around an NVidia Tegra 2 processor, with a 1280x720 multitouch display, 2Gb of RAM, a 32Gb or more of SSD storage, webcam, GPS, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G networking. Download Squad says "Expect it to be every bit as geek-tastic as the Nexus One," but hopefully the HTC tablet will fare better than the Google branded smartphone.
What sets the rumored HTC tablet apart from these other iPad wannabes is that it will run on Google's Chrome OS rather than Google's Android mobile platform. The Official Google Blog explains the difference "Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems," adding "While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google."
Download Squad also speculates that "You can bet Google's Chrome OS tablet will be heavily subsidized, and I'd go so far as to say it will be substantially cheaper than the iPad--if not totally free--with a Verizon data contract." If that is true, perhaps Google sold its net neutrality soul to Verizon in exchange for the wireless carrier's aid in aggressively pushing its iPad competitor.