Chrome Netbooks Headed to Market by 2010 Holidays
Direct from Google headquarters and liveblogged by John Pazckowski, the company’s Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, and Matthew Papakipos, engineering director for Google Chrome OS–joined by founder Sergey Brin–discuss how they plan to bring the OS to the market, then answer some questions from the audience. Third of three segments:
How will Google bring Chrome OS to market? The company is working with vendors to specify reference hardware. You cannot download and install Chrome on just any device, you will have to purchase a Chrome device. Google is looking at a launch window of late 2010, before the holidays.
Google sounds very concerned about the end-user Chrome OS experience. Pichai says the company wants to ensure that the displays, keyboard, etc., on the netbooks that run Chrome are robust and easy to use.
Pichai wraps things up, but before the Q&A, we’re shown a short explanatory video. “The first thing I want to do when I fire up my computer is browse the Internet….If there isn’t any Internet, I might not even use my computer….What if when you pressed on, your PC turned on, what if your operating system was more like a Web browser…what if it was a browser?…Chrome OS is a totally rethought computer that lets you focus on the Internet, which is what most of use our computers for these days anyway.”
At this point, Sundar Pichai opens the event to questions:
If you’re specifying hardware components, do you have an idea of what they’ll cost?
A: “We expect Chrome netbooks to be in the price range of what people have come to expect….We are not specifying a price target.” Price will be determined at the OEM level.
Will the APIs support W3C standards?
A: “We’re working very closely with the W3C to standardize as much as we can….In general we want to see everything standardized across multiple browsers.”
Will there be an application store?
A: “The Web offers hundreds of millions of applications. Our job is to make people aware of them.”
What about desktop applications that are not available on the Web?
A: “We expect most of our users to have a second machine at home….Chrome OS is about a delightful experience on the Web….If you’re a lawyer spending your entire day on contracts, etc., this is not the machine for you.”
Will you support Microsoft Silverlight?
A: In the case of certain selection plug-ins, we are working to integrate them. No comment beyond that.
Since Chrome is open source, could people build their own variations?
A: Yes. We expect people will do many interesting things with it.
Do you see Chrome running on laptops or desktops?
A: We’re initially focused on netbook-like form factors–clamshells, etc. That said, the OS is being developed to work on other devices.
Is there any level of offline access? What happens when I’m on a plane and don’t want to pay for Wi-Fi?
A: Chrome devices are primarily intended to be Internet-connected. That said, it will have some caching abilities so, for example, you could play a game offline.
A: Yes. You could run Chrome today on a virtual machine.
Are you working with outfits like Adobe to, say, build a Web-friendly version of Photoshop?
A: We’re very excited by things like Photoshop on the Web and we’re working hard to make that possible.
Will Android apps work on Chrome? Are there plans for third-party apps?
A: Pichai dodges this one. If it’s a Web app, he says, it will work on Chrome. The Web works very, very well for Google’s purposes, he adds.
Will Chrome work on both X86 and ARM?
Is there a direct business model for Chrome OS or is this another variation of the-more-people-who-use-the-Web-the-better-for-Google?
A: We are working with partners. No plans for advertising. That said, Pichai notes again that anything that runs on the Web will run on Chrome. And of course, AdWords does, indeed, run on the Web.
[Sergey Brin joins the Q&A]
Do you want Android Apps to run on Chrome?
A: We are focused on creating the use case in which everything is a Web application, but hopefully we can do more in the future.
How does Chrome handle peripherals? Can it print?
A: Most keyboards, cameras, phones, etc., will work. In terms of printing…yes, Chrome OS will print and we’re working hard to make that possible.
What is Chrome’s strategic position for Google?
A: [Brin]: Call us dumb businessmen, but we really focus on user needs rather than focus on business strategies. We believe that the Web platform is a much simpler way of computing for individuals to use, and that’s a very important need in the market right now. That’s what we’re trying to fulfill.