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Google's Chrome OS is really a copy of several products already on the market and an interesting recreation of the thin client concept that Sun and Oracle came up with over a decade ago. You could argue, however, that most successful products, like the iPod and iPhone, are simply better copies of what came before. Really, nobody cares that much -- consumers only care about whether a new offering will make their lives better. The Google Chrome OS goes directly to a primary need that mainstream PC users have had unmet since the beginning: an appliance experience.
Hi Ron, an interesting article. You're right that, while Google are heading in the right direction here, there is a certain lack of focus with Chrome OS. Our product, the litl webbook, running our cloud-based OS, is already on the market (from litl.com) and is tightly designed to be *the* web appliance for use around the home. We control hardware, software and our servers so we can create an integrated, easy experience.
Chrome OS has also been accused by another commentator of not creating a "new organizing principle for the web" - ie it appears to be basically the Chrome browser and not re-engineered for any particular use case.
By contrast we at litl threw out the conventional browser interface in order to create something new and different that pares things down to just what is needed to use our device. We want to get rid of the unneeded stuff that hinders your enjoyment of the web.
We created our own apps called litl channels that essentially package web streams, webapps or content into interfaces that are logically consistent with our unique UI. We will be releasing our SDK for litl channels in due course so that a community of apps developers can get involved in building channels for litl. Currently we are also working with high profile partners to develop special channels for litl that will bring exciting content to our device.
General purpose OSs and generic computers will be with us for a while perhaps - but for many people these and all the hassle that goes with them just aren't needed any more. Google has got that much right.