Is Mobile Broadband Ready for Chrome OS?

How will Google's internet-oriented OS work with today's mobile broadband?

Chrome OS is grabbing headlines this week, as Google reveals more details about its cloud-based operating system for mobile devices. Netbooks running Chrome OS won't ship until mid-2011, however, which allows us plenty of time to speculate on potential shortcomings.

For instance: How well will Google's Internet-oriented OS work via today's mobile broadband infrastructure, which isn't always rock-solid reliable?

Wireless networks continue to evolve and improve, but questions remain as to whether they're reliable enough for Chrome OS, an operating system dependent on the cloud for basic tasks, such as accessing applications and files.

Google officials point out that many Chrome apps, including those available at the new Chrome Web Store, will run offline. However, a Chrome OS-based netbook shut off from the Internet would be less capable than one running a local OS like Microsoft Windows.

PCWorld's 13-city 3G network performance tests, conducted in early 2010, show that 3G broadband performance in the U.S. is improving. In fact, average reliability of the four major wireless carriers now tops 90 per cent.

Those reliability figures probably won't change much in the coming months, however, as carriers focus on building out their 4G networks.

"We wouldn't expect 3G mobile broadband reliability to change significantly between now and the time that Chrome OS-based devices come to market, and so 3G connectivity will remain an issue for Chrome-based devices." writes IDC mobile analyst Susan Kevorkian in an email.

Kevorkian adds: "4G mobile broadband may improve on 3G's reliability, but most likely won't be broadly available when Chrome-based devices come to market."

Chrome OS users relying on Wi-Fi networks will face hurdles too. Wi-Fi has a limited range, and Wi-Fi hotspots aren't always available when you need them.

Google's cloud-centric operating system sounds intriguing. But is it ahead of its time?

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags applicationsGoogleMicrosoftbrowserssoftware

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

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?