The GPad: Based on Open Source Chrome OS

The Google Tablet - GPad?
Google's innovations may have bud heads with the likes of Microsoft and Yahoo! with such flagship products like Gmail and Google Docs (GDocs). But it should come as no surprise that Google is challenging many others just the same. For example, with the Google's Android mobile platform & OS and their phone, Nexus One, the company may well be changing the face of mobile communications as we know it. Who and how many companies it's challenging is yet to be sized up. With Google Voice, the company is taking on companies like Skype, Vonage, could easily be taking on Verizon with its FiOS/IP phone, and may even be taking on some Executive Assistants. Google's Chrome browser is challenging ... well ... browsers. Browsers like Internet Explorer (IE), although that's not much of a challenge; Opera, Firefox and many others. As you can imagine, the list goes on to cover several industries and markets.

Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, up until July, 2009, was on Apple's Board of Directors. With Google's advancement into the OS and mobile-phone spaces, both parties, I'm sure, saw the writing on the wall.

This last week, Apple unveiled its much anticipated iPad. Jokes aside, and in my opinion, the iPad was a flop. There are at least 10 things missing in the iPad, which made the device more for the non-computer-savvy, and possibly for the older generation (for mothers, aunts, grandparents, etc.) and not "all that" for the geeks amongst us. Within hours of its launch, Twitter was filled with mixed emotions about it. Not exactly a good sign. And within a couple of days, I saw such tweets as "iPad, no thank you. I'll wait for Google Android tablet" (paraphrasing).

Wouldn't you know it? The open source project behind Google's Chrome browser and the Chrome OS, Chromium, today delivered pictures of what the Chrome OS table might look like. According to TechCrunch "and while Chromium is not actually part of Google, it appears that these mockups were put together by Glen Murphy, Google Chrome’s designer. In other words, they’re the real deal."

There's even a concept video (see below). Albeit, it seems much larger than the Apple iPad, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was for illustration purposes only. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if one was indeed created to be that big. After all, Apple may make a larger iPad.


Here are a few thoughts ...

Since the Nexus One is available, in conjunction with Google Voice, on data-only plans, I would imagine their Google tablet (the GPad?) might also do the same. In which case, the line would seriously (more than ever) blur between computers and phones.

Combine that with GPS, Wifi, a USB port (or two), a camera and the ability to be on a mobile network (EDGE, 3G or 4G) and you no longer need a phone in the traditional sense. Although I don't see that as the dominant option, I do see it as an option nonetheless. A small form factor would be something like the Nexus One, and something more robust but still light-weight would be something like the GPad. Those in construction, out in the field, etc. would benefit a great deal from the latter if equipped with the right features.

This convergence could render such things as e-readers, navigation devices (I already use my phone's Google Maps with GPS) and netbooks a thing of the past. Do it right, with a lot of care and thought, and this could even go farther. For example, I could see me laying in bed, docking my GPad (we need another possible name. This one sounds wrong for some reason) and watching my shows on it. That will likely mean that I'll expect the thing to be my alarm, my radio (perhaps via Wifi), etc. And instead of waking up to music, while in its cradle & docked, it could start with traffic, news, weather, etc.

My imagination is unleashing just imagining this thing around in the house. I see it as a replacement for the failed screens on fridges, as a recipe book (a digital one, of course), as a device that could control the TV, shades, home security, etc. But it must be done right. To be frank, I'm not sure that Apple could pull it off when they're limited by proprietary hardware and software.  ▣