It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there's a good chance of anything that Google announces either never seeing light of day, remaining stuck in beta stage forever or languishing until someone puts it out of its misery and pulls the plug on it. This is what many made of the Chrome OS announcement the other day. But now that Google has announced a string of tech partners, the whole project has acquired that "real" feel. And it now also has a chance of developing into something that could threaten Microsoft's OS dominance, especially at the lower end of the price/performance spectrum.
The list of tech partners is pretty impressive, as announced on the official Chrome blog:
What companies is Google working with to support Google Chrome OS? The Google Chrome OS team is currently working with a number of technology companies to design and build devices that deliver an extraordinary end user experience. Among others, these companies include Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba.
Notice a big name missing from the list? Yes, that's right, Dell.
This announcement is a clear signal that Google is serious about Chrome OS. And why not. After all, since it's build on the Linux kernel, so rolling out a distro shouldn't be that hard for a company like Google.
The other day I called Chrome OS a game changer, and I still stand by that. Not only will it drive innovation, it will put pressure on Windows OS prices on netbooks and possibly notebooks. In Chrome OS succeeds in capturing a decent market share, we're going to see some serious innovation and price restructuring. I'm also guessing that Google will have to wade in and improve hardware and software compatibility.
But it's also a game changer for other reasons. If Chrome OS does catch the imagination of users, then there's a risk that it'll push other Linux distros into obscurity (speaking in a general sense). The flipside is that if Google can't make Linux work in the mass market, then maybe no one can. I'm not suggesting that this is make-or-break for Linux, but it is certainly significant.
As I said, it's a game changer.