We've been waiting on pins and needles for Google to announce some official Android tablet
plans for so long we'd almost forgotten about Mountain View's other
operating system -- but from what we're hearing, Chrome OS
is about to jump to center stage with a tablet debut on Verizon just before the holidays.
Our friends at Download Squad are told by a reliable tipster that HTC is building a Tegra 2-based Chrome OS tablet for Google with a 1280 x 720 multitouch display, 2GB of RAM, at least 32GB of storage with the possibility of expansion, GPS, a webcam, and the usual wireless connectivity, including a 3G radio.
Launch is pegged for Black Friday on November 26, and apparently the plan is to offer the device for extremely cheap or free on subsidy, which makes sense -- it is just a browser, after all, and "free" sounds mighty nice compared to the iPad's $499 entry point. (Of course, you'll undoubtedly be tied to a Verizon contract, but we'll just let that slide for now.) We'll see how much of this comes true in the next few months -- we're certainly intrigued.
The author of the Download Squad
post, Lee Matthews, apparently fabricated all these specs -- in comments, he confirms that they're "pure speculation," and this his source only provided the launch date and Verizon partnership. That part certainly seems plausible, but we wouldn't necessarily believe any of this -- it's pretty suspect to just make things up.
One of our own actually
proven tipsters just hit us to say this whole thing -- including launch date -- sounds suspect, and that ARM-based Chrome OS tablets won't hit until late 2011 at least. It'll be Atom-based netbooks until then, we're told. That lines up with everything else we've ever heard from Google and its partners, so we're calling this entirely bunk until we actually see some hardware.
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.