A Chrome OS-based tablet made by HTC will be offered through Google's new best friend Verizon starting on Nov. 26, according to a new report (or rumor, as the case may be).
Citing an unnamed source, AOL's Download Squad blog says that the new tablet will run on an NVidia Tegra 2 chip, and will feature a 1280x720 screen, 2GB of RAM, at least a 32 GB SSD, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity. There's a lot missing among that handful of details, however. For one, why will the tablet run on Chrome OS and not the Android platform? And if it's running on a cloud-based OS, do you really need 32 GB of memory?
Putting aside the vague source -- and the relative infrequency with which those sources turn out to be accurate in the tech blog world -- there are some other questionable claims here. "You can bet Google's Chrome OS tablet will be heavily subsidized," says Download Squad, "and I'd go so far as to say it will be substantially cheaper than the iPad -- if not totally free -- with a Verizon data contract." The device may be cheaper than the iPad, but free? Not going to happen.
The Nov. 26 release date should also raise an eyebrow or two. Black Friday may be the busiest shopping day of the year, but if Google and its partners really want the tablet to become a holiday must-have for consumers, they'd be well advised to get it in stores in advance of Thanksgiving.
Neither Verizon nor Google have commented on the rumored tablet. But the AOL report doesn't come as a complete surprise. In May, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam told the Wall Street Journal that his company was collaborating with Google on tablets. "We're looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience," he said. McAdam declined to name the manufacturer or timing -- or the OS, for that matter.
The threats to Apple's iPad have been few and far between thus far, with many potential rivals either shelving their plans or at least rethinking them. The Dell Streak, which runs on an old version of Android, has been the highest-profile competitor, though it isn't exactly. Dell may call it a tablet, but the 5-inch Streak, which has gotten lukewarm reviews, is really more of a mega-smartphone.
While many of the tablets -- whose dates continue to slip -- have been slated to run on Android, it's interesting that the project Google would throw its weight behind (if the report is true), would be a Chrome-based device. Chrome is scheduled to officially launch this fall, with the Chrome OS app store going live in October.Google has been a little vague about what kind of mobile devices should run Android and which should run Chrome. If a Chrome-based HTC tablet launches in November, that may give us their answer.