Google has said that Chrome OS will be commercially launched “mid-year” 2011. That seems to be right around the corner, and now is a great time for the company to update where Chrome is going with Google I/O. Over the past few weeks we have been hearing some things that might be coming at the keynotes and here is a list of them.
It’s possible that Google will provide Chrome OS notebooks without an upfront payment in order to get the hardware into people’s hands. This may reduce the anxiety that may come with buying a new operating system. The concept of simplicity may lend well to this idea of only requiring monthly payments for people who already use one of Google’s services such as Gmail. It’s unknown how the wireless carriers would be involved with this one so stay tuned to see what the details might be regarding this.
A Samsung Device
After the I/O keynotes, Samsung will be holding its own press conference with folks from its PC division. That means we’ll probably be getting a first glimpse at their first Chrome OS device. Acer is said to also be launching with Chrome OS hardware, but we haven’t heard any details more details other than the ZGB codename reports in Chromium. What we do know is that the Samsung machine will have a1280X800 screen and an Intel Atom processor.
A plugin for Netflix has been appearing in the Cr-48 test Chrome OS machines which indicates that the platform will be launched with a way to stream movies and TV shows. This offers a way for users a HTML5-based app that Netflix has been working to let customers circumvent expensive cable plans and just use their ISP to watch what they want whenever. This could be a great way to market Chrome OS as a gadget that can be easily used to view content from wherever it is that you are.
An Improved UI
We’re already starting to see a little bit of this, but the UI in Chrome OS is going to get more user friendly. If you use a Cr-48 or ever check out Chromium OS you might start seeing some updated icons, more rounded corners and a whole new set of images that are based around avatars. It has been found that people don’t like having their pictures taken for their Chrome OS profiles so avatars are a fun way to get around that.
Chrome OS Enterprise
Google is going to go after Microsoft’s business selling software to companies, and it plans to do this by pairing Chrome OS with Google Apps as a simple hardware replacement solution. Companies can save money by switching to Google Apps and the cost savings can continue by not purchasing expensive Windows-based machines that many employees don’t really need. Expect to hear more about this as we’ve already discovered enterprise management tools in Chromium.
There’s probably even more under wraps right now, but it’s hard to speculate at this time. The points above are based on things that we have already seen. It’s rumored that Google’s Music service could be launched with a 20,000 song library, and it could fit in well with the Chrome browser and Chrome OS. More service integration is very likely, just as what we have seen with the Picasa Uploader surfacing.
What do you think we’ll be seeing? Do you expect to be surprised?