Acer to launch Chrome OS devices at last?

A browser-style OS that relies on the cloud doesn't seem so revolutionary now, but bring it on.

Remember Chrome OS, Google's stripped-to-the-browser operating system? It's reportedly ready for prime time, with Chrome OS devices from Acer leading the way.

Acer will launch some kind of Chrome OS hardware in two weeks, at the Compudex Taipei trade show, according to VentureBeat's unnamed sources. The report doesn't say what kind of devices will be revealed -- Acer previously said it would be first with a Chrome OS netbook -- but netbooks, smartbooks and tablets are all possibilities. It's also not clear when the Chrome OS products will actually ship.

Google demonstrated Chrome OS in November. If you've ever used the Chrome Web browser -- or any Web browser for that matter -- you've got a pretty good idea of what Chrome OS is like. It's a glorified browser, with app icons linking to Web sites, and very little in the way of local storage. The idea is that most people spend most of their computing time on the Web, so why not throw out everything else and concentrate on that? (Click on the image for a closer look at the Chrome interface.)

A June teaser of Chrome OS devices fits nicely within the timetable that Google announced last year, but it still feels like ages since we were debating the merits of such an operating system. So much has happened since Google demoed Chrome OS, in both software and hardware, that it feels like the original vision for a fast, light and secure operating system is no longer such a mind-blowing idea.

For instance, Apple launched the iPad in April, and hardware makers are scrambling to compete with their own tablets. The iPad turns on instantly and flies through the Internet, which is exactly what Chrome OS wants to do, and it does lots of things offline as well.

Then there was the rise of Android, which last quarter beat Apple's iPhone in sales share for the first time. Android seems like an ideal tablet OS, as its app marketplace would scale up nicely and hook the people who already own Android phones.

Meanwhile, debates abound on whether the netbook is dying. I don't think the evidence supports an imminent death of netbooks, and in any case the line between netbooks and small laptops is increasingly blurry. Still, a Chrome OS netbook doesn't seem as cutting-edge as it did last November.

Where does that leave Chrome OS? An instant-on smartbook with killer battery life could be fun, but the important thing is that the Web-based operating system arrives, period. I think of Chrome OS as an experiment, a look ahead to when fast Internet connections are always available, and when Web apps can truly replace native software. We're not there yet, but I'd love to see what it's like.

Join the newsletter!

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

Tags acerhardwareGoogle Chrome OStaipei

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

Jared Newman

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

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

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

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?