People often wonder how the blogosphere can sometimes treat rumors as established facts that prove to be so totally off base. Just look at a normal Apple product release cycle and you will see people go through a veritable 12 step process of gadget denial, acceptance, excitement and disappointment over features that Apple never promised or intended to include in the iPhone 9 or whatever. How exactly does that happen?
Well, sometimes it is due to deliberate company misinformation, or because a feature was mentioned in a leaked roadmap then dropped, so to avoid embarrassment the company pretends it had never existed, like a cat acting like it had intended all along to slam full speed into the glass door. However, some times it happens like this…
There is a rumor just now making the rounds concerning Tablets and Google’s ChromeOS. It started, as near as I can tell, in a piece in The Sunday Times in London by David Phelan concerning Samsung’s iPad rival, the Tab. In it, he seems to be quite impressed with the device overall and in the course of the article drops this little gem, saying that Android 2.2 which the device is being shipped with “can be replaced with Chrome, when that arrives, though owners who aren’t tech savvy should have this upgrade carried out by a professional”.
Note that he said CAN. Sure Android on the Tab CAN be replaced with ChromeOS, assuming that OS is ever actually released. Of course, it may not run terribly well, and perhaps not all the hardware will be supported out of the box by ChromeOS, but sure, it should be possible to slap ChromeOS on just about anything with an internet connection. Phelan wisely protects himself over the hardware incompatibility thing by adding the whole “don’t try this at home kids, have a pro do it” disclaimer.
Personally I read this as a reporter showing his tech savvyness (well, he obviously meant that you could replace Android with ChromeOS, not Chrome the browser, so maybe he isn’t all THAT tech savvy) by tossing in a comment about software modding without really knowing exactly what he was talking about. Basically he was talking out of his hat. My own take is that ChromeOS, at least based on the preview versions I have played with, would NOT be well suited to a touchscreen only device like the Tab as it is heavily dependent on Web apps like Google Docs that work best with a physical keyboard. However, that is neither here nor there.
From that “out of a clear blue-sky” statement by Phelan, we then had ElectricPig, a well respected UK tech blog, reporting the statement (making clear he was not saying it was going to happen) and asking the theoretical question if their readers would WANT to run ChromeOS on their Samsung Tab in place of Android.
From there it is just a hop, skip and a jump to a site called androidos.in sourcing ElectricPig and reporting on the “rumors” that Samsung would actually be swapping Android out of the first generation Tab and replacing it with ChromeOS. They also throw in the fact that Google has already said that Android 2.2 is not suited to tablets so perhaps that had been a way to prepare the market for the Android/ChromeOS switch, as well the totally unsupported statement that Google was working on turning ChromeOS into a pure tablet operating system (could be, but I haven’t heard about that yet, and since Google has made clear that Android 3.0 and 3.5 will be heavily Tablet focused, it may be a bit silly).
The next step? Well, of course Samsung denies any intention at this time of putting ChromeOS on the Tab (likely a bit confused about why it came up at all) and states it has no plans to do so in the future…though Samsung does say it could be done based on the hardware specs, theoretically.
That brings us to the big boys, as CrunchGear reports on the denial by Samsung, and then goes off for five paragraphs wondering if Samsung is lying and this was a leak or product announcement that went wrong, and what if Google really intends to replace Android on ALL tablets with ChromeOS and is just spinning that fact after Samsung leaked it. After all, does anyone REALLY believe that Facebook ISN’T working on a phone, no matter what they say? For many of us, nothing proves a rumor quite like it being firmly denied.
So there we have it, we went from a reporter musing about a vague (and unlikely) software possibility to a rumor that Android would be replaced by ChromeOS on the Tab to a conspiracy of silence with Google intending to spike Android as a tablet OS completely…all in one day. I promise you that in a few weeks some people will start complaining that they never got the promised ChromeOS port for the Samsung Tab and they are pissed off at Samsung and Google about it.
Ask me again where internet rumors come from?