At the opening keynote of their Google I/O 2010 conference, Google spoke to their developers about a two key things. The first is the Google Chrome web store, this is designed to allow developers of web apps to sell their creations similar to how traditional desktop software is sold.
If you’ve got the latest Google Chrome browser, check it out @ https://chrome.google.com/webstore
There’s a few notable apps already available including Tweetdeck and eBay. The problem I have with the Chrome web store.. is that it requires Chrome. What happened to cross-browser compatibility ? Building for the web is supposed to get you to all platforms, but chrome web apps create a silo similar to Mac or Windows. This significantly limits the potential market for an app, which decreases the incentive for developers to invest the time.
The second item was the Chrome operating system, originally designed to target netbooks, Google’s reference hardware is the Cr-48, which is now a 12.1” notebook. The bad news for Chrome OS fans is that its not done yet. This means we won’t really see devices shipping with Chrome OS until 2011.
Hardware is fairly typical, but has some nice features, solid state storage, oversized trackpad, 8hrs+ of battery life and full sized keyboard, but has no caps lock or function key. One of the key selling points is that Chrome OS stays up to date automatically, in the US, Google have partnered with Verizon to provide 3G data so you can be connected all the time. Not sure how this will work and at what cost in Australia, but expect an AU release to be delayed because of this.
Google invited Citrix up on stage to encourage the enterprise market to take notice by streaming applications from the server and using the Chrome notebook as a thin client, similar to how the iPad client works. Wether businesses will adopt the low-cost Chrome notebook as an end-point with a powerful / expensive citrix backend remains to be seen, apparently hundreds of thousands of businesses already use Citrix.
The final point is that Chrome Notebooks will come with a unlock switch underneath the battery for all you hacker types to have your way with it. This means you’ll be able to load other OS’s or modify till your hearts content, just don’t call Google for support.