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Google hints at Chrome OS tablets

But gives Chrome OS netbooks the thumbs-down...

But gives Chrome OS netbooks the thumbs-down...

While Google has been showing off an early version of Chrome OS running on a laptop, the search giant hasn't ruled out the idea of putting the operating system on a tablet too.

Google's Chrome OS is focused on the cloud, with web browsing and online apps taking centre stage on the device, in contrast to the traditional model where desktop software is stored locally on the device.

Google Chrome OS

Google demoed Chrome OS earlier this week and also announced an app store for it
(Photo credit: Rafe Needleman/CNET)

According to Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of geographic and local services, Google has not ruled out Chrome OS tablets in future.

"We haven't really decided yet," she told the LeWeb internet conference in Paris yesterday, adding: "We see a lot of promise in Chrome OS."

Until now Google's tablet efforts have centred on its Android mobile OS, which has been used to power a variety of tablets, such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab, as well as smartphones. However, Mayer left the door open for the company to use Chrome OS to power tablets in future too.

"Right now there is a distinction where Android is aimed at the tablet and Chrome OS is aimed at notebooks. But, that said, I think that the form factor for either operating system could work for the other," she said.

When Google announced Chrome OS in 2009, it said the OS would initially be aimed at netbooks. However the netbook category is no longer in the forefront of Google's thinking, according to Mayer. "We aren't really thinking of [Chrome OS for] netbooks anymore so much as we are notebooks," she told LeWeb.

Asked whether Google had plans to release a downloadable version of Chrome OS - which could be installed on a user's existing laptop - Mayer said "possibly".

Earlier this week, Google previewed Chrome OS running on a laptop - called CR-48 - and also announced an app store for the forthcoming OS.