Chew on This: Google Chrome OS for Apple MacBooks?
From Android to iOS, Google and Apple have changed the rules of the game in mobile IT. But what if the rules of the game changed again? Specifically, what if Google made Chrome OS available for MacBook notebooks? Here’s the update.
Chrome OS has recently been compiled for the MacBook Air, thanks to a blogger/hacker named Hexxeh. Apparently, his work ensures driver support for all of Apple’s parts so everything apparently works flawlessly (save for Bluetooth). The very same intrepid individual also put Chrome OS on the iPad 1 back in September 2010. That project was/is a lot less stable, so Hexxeh never released it to the general public, but his Chrome OS build apparently works well enough that you can now download the image and install it on your Apple device.
This gave me an idea: Whenever Chrome OS goes mainstream, could Google offered pre-compiled ready-to-go versions of Chrome OS for whatever particular Apple notebook you had? If one individual could create a package for a single Apple MacBook Air, certainly Google could do it for the entire MacBook line.
But would such an effort be worth Google’s time and money? Plus, would Apple channel partners bother deploying Google Chrome OS for their MacBook customers? Hmmm…
Adoption most likely wouldn’t be huge, but the offering would show that Google wants customers to plug into their ecosystem regardless of the underlying hardware. Google could even run a little program like: “Love Apple hardware but hate the operating system? Try Chrome OS. It’s free.” For customers that leverage older MacBooks, Chrome OS could breathe new life into the notebooks. And for owners of the current generation of ultra-slim MacBook Airs, it could create greater productivity and battery life.
Now, let’s look at a potential Chrome OS for MacBooks from an enterprise perspective. As you may recall, Google is targeting Chrome OS for Business — a special netbook and notebook offer — toward enterprises and schools. If a company wanted to deploy Chrome OS across an entire existing line of computers, Google could provide hardware compatibility for both Macs and PCs, creating a truly unified work environment that requires little effort to install or maintain, and zero investment in new hardware. Theoretically, entire enterprises could avoid traditional operating system licenses and desktop software upgrades, and move their capital expenses into the data center.
It’s a unique utopia, and one that won’t likely exist anytime soon. But the alleged smoothness in which the MacBook Air runs Chrome OS is worth watching. In fact, I’ll give it a whirl on my MacBook Air sooner or later, just to get a feel for it. Way back in December of 2010, I installed JoliCloud on my MacBook to get an idea of what it would be like to run Chrome OS, but to be fair, it wasn’t Google’s modern Chrome OS. I’m interested to find out if my complaints and annoyances about JoliCloud would be mitigated by a more mature and stable version of Chrome OS.
Stay tuned. A full Chrome OS review is coming soon…