Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is getting serious about the Chromebook. The notebook’s original operating system, Chrome OS, may have been just a glorified version of the Chrome web browser, but the latest update looks to have been designed to help the OS go up against Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows and the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) OS X.
The latest Chrome OS developer channel update adds a window manager, a traditional desktop that supports wallpapers, a Windows-like task manager, and an app launcher reminiscent of Apple’s Launchpad. The window manager, called Aura, is hardware accelerated and will bring the Chromebook’s graphics processing unit into play. The original 2010 version of the Chrome OS only gave the user access to a single browser window at a time.
Google’s aim had been to present Chrome OS as an alternative to system that used a lot of power, emphasizing instead “speed, simplicity and security.”
Although the original Cr-48 Chromebook prototype will not receive the update, it is available for the Samsung Series 5 and Acer AC700 Chromebooks, and potentially heralds upcoming partnerships with new equipment manufacturers.