Top 5 Chrome OS myths debunked

Google has lifted the veil on its new, Web-based netbook OS, but it might not be what you think it is

Misconceptions and misinformation have surrounded the Chrome OS almost since the day it was announced. This week's press conference at Google's Mountain View, Calif., campus helped to clear the air, but uncertainty about what the search giant's new OS has to offer still remains.

The full picture of the Chrome OS will become clearer as time rolls on. For now, if you want to understand what the Chrome OS is, you first have to understand what it isn't.

[ InfoWorld's Randall C. Kennedy explains why he thinks the Chrome OS is destined for huge failure. | See why InfoWorld's Eric Knorr says, "I want my Chrome OS Web appliance."]

1. It's not Linux True, the Chrome OS is based on the Linux kernel, just as it draws from a number of other open source projects, including Moblin and Ubuntu. All the more reason why the Chrome OS itself should be open source.

But none of that will matter to consumers who buy Chrome OS devices. Booting the Chrome OS takes you directly to the Chrome browser. There's no splash screen, no progress meter, and no tedious initialization process. Right now, the whole boot cycle takes just seven seconds -- and according to Google VP of product management Sundar Pichai, Google is "working really, really hard" to make it even faster.

Users won't have to worry about maintaining a Linux system, either. Updates and patches will be delivered automatically over the Web, and the OS itself will make sure you have the latest ones installed.

In short, a Chrome OS device will no more feel like Linux than your home router, TV set-top box, or smartphone does -- any of which could be running Linux right now. So if it's a Linux desktop you want, get Ubuntu; but if a fast, seamless Web experience appeals to you, the Chrome OS might be right up your alley.

2. It's not Android Google turned a lot of heads when it unveiled its Android smartphone OS platform two years ago. When it announced the Chrome OS in July, it sparked lots of speculation that Google was planning to unify the handheld and desktop experiences in a way that would put Apple and Microsoft to shame.

No such luck. The Chrome OS doesn't try to replicate Android's desktop, widgets, app store, or APIs, and the Android browser still isn't Chrome.

Don't expect to see the Chrome OS running on smartphones any time soon, either. Google is working with manufacturing partners to create reference designs for Chrome OS devices, and their form factor is very specific: netbook-like appliances.

The initial Chrome OS devices won't quite be PCs, but they won't be phones, either. They will be small, clamshell machines equipped with full-sized keyboards and touchpads. Unlike most notebooks, however, they won't have hard drives -- just solid-state storage.

So don't think of Chrome OS as the next generation of Android, or the bridge between smartphones and PCs. Instead, think of Chrome OS devices as "netbooks 2.0," rethought and reworked for Web-centric computing.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GoogleGoogle Chrome OS

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Neil McAllister

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?