updated 12:00 pm EDT, Wed August 18, 2010
Google Chrome OS slate seen in late fall
Google's hinted at strategy for a Chrome OS tablet could have more definite plans if a rumor on Wednesday is accurate. An unidentified source claimed the tablet is real, being made by HTC and would ship on November 26. The Download Squad tip has the slate attached to its close partner Verizon and implied it would be subsidized heavily.
The actual specifications aren't as certain, but it's believed to run on an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core chip and to be relatively aggressive in features despite Chrome OS' light footprint. It would carry a 1280x720 display and tout both 2GB of RAM and a 32GB solid-state drive along with real GPS. Most Windows-based netbooks have 1024x600 screens, 1GB of RAM and 160GB or larger rotating hard disks.
Publicly, Google has talked down the prospects of its own tablet in the same way it downplayed any Android phone, even after the Nexus One. The search leader may be determined to have a device of its own to serve as a reference design for Chrome OS much as the Nexus represented Android. ASUS and other PC builders have committed to Chrome OS hardware by the end of the year but may focus on netbook-class devices rather than tablets. The OS will already have some support for the form factor though, as Chrome supports rotation and will reorient web pages on the fly for portrait or landscape.
In the short term, Chrome OS isn't expected to pose any serious threat to the iPad or necessarily to Android tablets like Verizon's other expected models, the Motorola Stingray and Samsung Galaxy Tab. Chrome OS should have a faster web browser and support Flash but will be almost entirely dependent on web apps rather than native apps and local content.