The Chrome OS is a bit different than most operating systems. Scheduled to be unveiled late this year, the Chrome OS is entirely cloud-based.

It's still speculative to say if Google is really working on a tablet computer. But let's assume for a minute that Google is developing such a device with a Chrome OS.

I guess that's not too hard to do considering this concept video Google created.

The Chrome OS opens some interesting opportunities for Google. A cloud-based operating system would make a tablet unique compared to the iPad. No data would be stored on the device at all. A lost tablet would not mean lost data. The information would be retrieved simply by going online.

But the absence of actual data on a device is also an inherent weakness. There are some things you always want to have on your device. For instance, client-based software. You can't do that with an operating system that's all in the cloud.

Further, since the Chrome OS is not coming out until late next year, it does face some challenges. First off, Windows Mobile 7 will most likely be unveiled before Google launches the Chrome OS, giving Microsoft a head start in the market. The iPad OS is more mature. Apple has more experience with UX development in this regard.

Speed

In the tech press, we get caught up with issues such as openness. Do customers really care that much? We think they prefer open systems because of the options that come with.

What they really want, though, is speed. A goal for Google with the Chrome OS is to make it very fast. But the iPad is lightning quick. By developing its own processor for the iPad, Apple is realizing a customer desire. Would a Google Tablet with a Chrome OS be as fast as the iPad?

Security

The Chrome OS is a browser-based operating system which inherently raises issues about its security. Browsers are widely acknowledged as prime targets for malware. Remember, Google suffered a cyber attack through an employee's compromised browser (Internet Explorer).

But are the criticisms founded? The Chrome OS is an open environment. It's not an air-tight vault. Google knows it has bugs. So, they have gone out to the community, like good developers do, and challenged people to find the flaws. We like what Threat Expert has to say about the matter:

"By openly discussing the security challenges and suggested approaches to circumvent them the Chrome guys talk to us this way:

'Look, in our bank there is a vault with so much gold in it. The system is secure, but we're not sure about that air con duct - we think it's a weak point and the intruders may potentially crawl through it.'

Given the source code is open, the potential intruders will get access to the internal scheme immediately. But the moment they start studying it, the highly qualified white-hat professionals will start doing that as well. The idea is that any bugs, flaws or weaknesses will be revealed and fixed instantly, without leaving the intruders any chance to plan an attack.

Compare it with an alternative approach: 'Look, in our bank there is a vault with so much gold in it. The system is secure.' After the robbery: 'The system is secure.' After another one: 'Ok, we fixed it, the system is secure', and so on."

It is smart. But that is what we expect from Google. A smart approach. Here's Google's take on how it approaches the security issue with Chrome OS:

Conclusion

A Chrome OS makes sense on a device like a tablet computer. Google's focus is on cloud computing. Perhaps the most valid criticism is Google's broad approach and lack of experience in the hardware market.

Google is learning and they have some clear advantages. The iPad does not support multi-tasking. The Chrome OS makes it easy to manage multiple applications. Lacking features means Apple won't dominate with the iPad. But the Chrome OS is a first-time operating system that is unprecedented in its approach.

That's not always a recipe for market domination.